Your Disabled Students' Community Leader Susan Hirst gives her top 10 tips for autistic students at university.
It's Autism Acceptance Week and to help celebrate your Disabled Students' Community Leader has compiled her top tips for making the most out of all the support available for autistic students here at Leeds Beckett!
10 Top Tips for autistic students at Leeds Beckett University
1. Make contact with LBU Disability Services
Do this as early as possible to discuss any particular needs and find out what help is available. You can contact LBU’s Disability Service via their Disability Advice Line: 0113 812 5831. They also have a disability advice web page that offers advice and support for students.
You can also take advantage of their drop-in sessions at both campuses, from 12.30 to 1.30pm Monday to Thursday. In addition, they offer student study drop-in sessions from 10am to 1pm Monday to Thursday where students can book a 30-minute session with them.
2. To disclose or not to disclose? That is the question!
Disclosure of your autism condition to LBU disability services is always a personal decision, but only by disclosing can you obtain the additional help and academic support.
3. Seek out academic support
Extra academic support is available for autistic students. This includes extra time for exams and assessments as well as assistance technology. Funding for this support may be available as part of the Disabled Students Allowance scheme.
If you’re not sure where would be best to go to for support, you can contact the University’s Student Advice Team who will point you in the right direction. You can find more information on their webpage.
4. Make use of the LBU Disabled Library Services
The Library Disability Support Team can help with printing on coloured paper and other issues such as disability resources, assistive software, library services and equipment, finding your way around the library and obtaining items in accessible format. In addition, one-to-one appointments are available via phone, Microsoft Teams or face-to-face. You can find out more about the support available in the library on their website or by scanning the QR code below.
5. Use the Autism Services Directory
Use this directory to access local and national services available at www.autism.org.uk.
6. Set your sensory environment
Take time to create your own sensory study space where you feel comfortable. Pay close attention to sounds, smells and lighting to provide the best stimuli to help you study. You can find more tips on www.livingautism.com
7. Widen your social environment
University life should be fully inclusive with the University having a wide range of clubs and societies covering diverse interest. Students with autism can join any that appeal to them and enjoy full social opportunities. So, whatever your interest is, there is likely an organised group for it, or you can always create a new one!
8. Talk to LBU Staff
Whether it is the disability services, wellbeing, pastoral or library staff, be vocal and seek help from as many staff members as possible.
9. Check out the LBU Austism & University Toolkit
Take a look at this specialist toolkit for autistic students which provides information on study needs and support at LBU available at www.leeds.beckett.autism-uni.org.
10. Finally, celebrate World Autism Awareness Day!
World Autism Awareness Day takes place on Sunday 2 April. You can join in with the activities by taking part in the Spectrum Colour Challenge, a virtual fundraising challenge with more details at autism.org.uk.
- Susan Hirst, Disabled Students' Community Leader