Any advice for starting University when you have Asperger ? Any tips/problems or University’s that have been helpful

(30 Posts)
Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 10:47:45

Just wondering if anyone has any experience to offer?
DS is high functioning ASD moving from home is going to be a pretty big deal, I’m trying not to worry, but obviously I do.

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scrunchSE18 Mon 28-Jan-19 16:44:09

Same situation as you - DS with high functioning ASD. He has interviews for the courses he is applying for and managed to get through a group interview today. Not sure how successfully! He’ll be applying for DSA when going through student finance and this should bring him to the notice of Well-being/disability/student services. He may need a mentor/one to one contact at least to start with. Not sure what extra support he may need really. He has an EHCP at the moment and that is very clear in comparison

Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 17:05:26

Scrunch - that’s interesting. My DS did have a very good statement from age 7 but we moved him to a very child centred private school in the middle of year 8 and he’s had no formal support since.
I would like him to have some type of mentor if possible but not sure if he will be eligible for help?
One of my concerns will be freshers week as he doesn’t drink, doesn’t party and I think he’s going to find it hard!
One of his preferred choices is Birmingham but I’m not seeing anything ASD specific on their website, UEA his other preference seems much more clued up.

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mum2eim Mon 28-Jan-19 17:41:19

I'm the same. My daughter is year 13 and was only diagnosed 3 months ago so no formal support at school and tbh I have no idea what to look for, for help for when she goes to Uni. She has been given an offer from Durham and they did have a specific ASD page and what they did to support students with ASD, which included starting a week earlier so they could orientate themselves before the crowds arrived. Apart from that I've not looked any further so would be interested to hear from other parents in the same situation

Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 19:02:54

Mum2 - yes it would be great to hear from others who have already been through this. If we don’t get many replies I may ask this in SEN as well.
How are you getting on with the recent DX have you found it helpful?

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mum2eim Mon 28-Jan-19 20:29:12

Itscold - TBH the diagnosis was almost a relief. A very astute private psychologist suggested she was tested after 4 years of suffering from pretty much every mental health problem in the book, and bullying, which I now realise is often the presentation for HFA girls. However I now feel there is little support out there for her to learn how to live in a NT world, and I'm anxious about Uni for her. A mentor for when she starts would be amazing.

Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 21:06:42

Mum2 it sounds like you’ve been having a very difficult time, I’m so sorry to hear this.
I’m sure that having a DX will be helpful in the long run.
Have you spoken to the National Autistic Society, they were really helpful when we had my DS DX, I went on a really good course with other parents which was so helpful. I’m sure they would be able to advise.
I’m worried about my DS being out of his safety net of home, he’s a real home boy, and has in many ways lived a sheltered life since he was about 12, I think he’s going to find it quite hard being out there with other teenagers all of the time.
He’s also not very good at communicating his feeling or asking for help, so I don’t know if he’d let me know if he was having a bad time.
Hoping that whichever university he chooses has appropriate support.

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runoutofnamechanges Mon 28-Jan-19 21:22:27

The National Autistic Society offers student support and mentors, paid for by the DSA funding:

scrunchSE18 Mon 28-Jan-19 21:47:50

The unis seem to fund additional support via the Disabled Student Allowance. That seems to require official diagnosis and a ‘recent’ EP report. However a couple of unis said that they operate a buddy system for freshers if you ask student services. That’s offered whether or not there has been any official support before. I hope there are societies he can join where he can find like minded geeks into retro gaming, weird films and weirder comedy. Not too much to ask?

wigglybeezer Mon 28-Jan-19 21:50:54

My son has HFASD. He is currently in first year at St Andrews. Carefully selected by him with a lot of input from me!
Small uni in small safe town.
Approachable and sensible disabilities officer.
Lots of clubs and societies based on his interests.
Not a party university.
Good rep for teaching, smallish tutorial groups.
Small catered halls in walking distance of classes with good pastoral support ( really helpful being able to nip back to his room for a break between classes)
Four year course so extra time to get into his stride.
So far he is managing really well, only one or two niggles. He's even coping with a roommate, the accomodation office matched him with someone really sensible and nice.
I do check up on him quite a lot and prompt him to ask for help/ clarification but his mental health has been remarkably good for quite a few years ( better than mine!), His years of struggle were in primary school really, so that has helped.
I accompanied him to all the open days, I knew he wouldn't ask questions.
I think he has modest expectations of everything really, he's not expecting to suddenly become a social butterfly and is happy getting decent but not exceptional marks so that has protected him. I would love him to take the odd risk socially but he has only just turned 18 so I am being patient.

Somewhereovertheroad Mon 28-Jan-19 21:55:11

I went to this with Dd

She didn't go to Bath in the end but it was a worthwhile experience.

wigglybeezer Mon 28-Jan-19 22:02:05

My DS dodged Freshers by being only 17! His halls had gentler Freshers events like pizza nights and beach barbecues and many of the societies had afternoon and early evening events, he was happy to stick to those. He gets DSA but not actually for his ASD, for a physical issue that affects his writing ability, mentors were mentioned but DS didn't feel he would need one.

mum2eim Mon 28-Jan-19 22:02:41

wiggly that's really interesting about your son's experience at St Andrews. My daughter is waiting to hear if she gets an offer from them. Durham and St Andrews are her top two because they are smaller universities. She would get swallowed up in a city. I'm glad you have found St Andrews has worked for your son.

So many useful suggestions on here - I need to do some work!

wigglybeezer Mon 28-Jan-19 22:03:32

Scrunch, I think your DS would get on with mine!

wigglybeezer Mon 28-Jan-19 22:06:38

Waiting for st Andrews is nerve wracking, they are notoriously slow, we didn't hear until March 21st!

Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 22:12:39

Scrunch - that made me laugh, if you added in obsessed by tanks, then I think my DS would be a good match for your Ds 😂
I’ve been slightly thrown as we added Birmingham into his choices as an aspirational, it is the only one we hadn’t visited. He got an offer (which has since been lowered) and he went to offers day and is really keen, I’m slightly concerned as it’s really quite big and although being a campus it is in a big city we don’t know at all and is 2.5/3 hours away by car ( more by public transport). I’m also not seeing anything relating to ASD on their website.
His other choices are UEA Reading and Bath but we are waiting to hear from Bath, (he loved Bath and I have family near by so feel safer).
Wiggles - our situations sound similar, primary years were difficult, after a school move in yr 8 he’s been fine, he even choose to move schools for 6th form and made some friends.
But he doesn’t go out much, we live ina tiny village now and he doesn’t have local friends, Birmingham feels a bit full on to me 😳

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Itscoldouthere Mon 28-Jan-19 22:18:45

Somewhereovertheroad - that Bath link looks great I’ll send it to DS and see what he thinks (I just hope he gets an offer from them) !

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Somewhereovertheroad Mon 28-Jan-19 22:31:31

You can go to the Bath Summer school even if you don't have an offer from Bath or have applied to Bath.

Somewhereovertheroad Mon 28-Jan-19 22:34:00

If there are any readers/ lurkers from NI The University of Ulster also do a summer scheme type thing in conjunction with Middletown Autism centre. If you follow the Middletown centre on Facebook you will see the posts closer to the time.

CrackedHeels2 Mon 28-Jan-19 22:45:12

My ASD son is currently in his first year at B'ham. It is fairly close to home for us. We have been impressed with the support offered; he has a weekly meeting with academic support and another with pastoral support, both linked to his DSA. He has benefitted from both.

Was able to choose a quiet flat - he is comfortable with his flat mates, all appear to get on and support each other.

He found freshers hard but now had a routine and the right activities for him. Campus works well, rarely needs to leave it and student housing for subsequent years is very close.

Overall move to uni has been a challenge but the right decision and right location for him.

TheFirstOHN Mon 28-Jan-19 23:11:10

DS2 (currently Y12) is on the autistic spectrum and would to go to university (to study Physics).

He visited some places this year (a year early) and really liked Southampton and Birmingham. He would ideally like to go somewhere where he can walk to lectures from his accommodation.

wigglybeezer Mon 28-Jan-19 23:25:21

It'scoldoutthere, we live in a village too, DS stays in a lot, limited friend pool was one of the problems at primary, everytime he moves up a stage it's to somewhere with more geeky types so that helps, it would be even better if he wasn't doing an arts subject with a preponderance of girls ( although that may eventually be a good thing!).

Flaminco Tue 29-Jan-19 04:58:15

Mentors gained by DSA really help. But unis usually offer buddy systems which we found good in yr 1 for academic support.
I kept a close eye on making sure my son wasn't excluded from group projects thru being shy and scared to speak up for himself. Had to call student services a couple of times for them to intervene. Now he speaks up for himself!!! Socially took off properly early year 3. 4 yr course has helped. Made small group of friends in freshers flat he still lives with which is nice. Quiet people. Partying happened early year 3.

GnomeDePlume Tue 29-Jan-19 05:25:09

DD is now in her first year at university. Her ASD DX was fairly late (she was 15). She has found the study fine if hard (as it should be). Just had her first set of exams and has realised that she needs more support in terms of being able to take a break and refocus. Disability Services are arranging this for next set of exams.

She is in the 'party flat' which she finds hard work. Too much late night disruption. She is accessing help as she needs it and is very conscious of managing her mood. She deliberately chose a university city which would be easy to get home from for breaks and to catch up with sleep.

When choosing her 'firm' she looked at the academic 'feel' of the university not just the prestige. She knew her study style means she needs time, a very intensive course would overwhelm her so she didn't even look at Oxbridge.

Iwantedthatname19 Tue 29-Jan-19 07:41:12

scrunch - "managed to get through a group interview today."

I hadn't heard of group interviews for univ until recently - it sounds very nerve wracking! What happens - do the interviewers go round ensuring everyone is asked at least a couple of questions? It does sound as though they would be difficult for students who are shy or prone to nervousness. Well done to your ds for getting through it, and hope it went well!

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