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Bath vs Birmingham for chemistry for autistic applicant
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PacificFish · 10/07/2022 06:36

They can’t decide..
bath seems small and manageable but reviews say it’s expensive and accommodation is rubbish. They also quite like a night out and are into rap music. Autism means they find it hard to make friends.
Birmingham seems bigger and the campus is so lovely. City is more diverse too.
it might be that Bath is too small, Birmingham too big!!?!?

(They have already spent part of first year at another university that was a campus midway between the two size wise. Didn’t declare the autism and didn’t get the support they needed and when things got rocky, they panicked and came home. So this is a new uni, dsa applied for and being very helpful, both have given them unconditional offers)

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olympicsrock · 10/07/2022 06:46

A friend of mine chose Bath for their autistic child after Warwick didn’t work out.
Bath have good pastoral case on paper which is why they chose it but things didn’t work out with covid as the halls were bed sits with no shared living space to socialise and students were not allowed to leave their study bedrooms for weeks at a time apart from using the kitchen.
I would find out about the pastoral care offered by each place and special arrangement for halls places to help them make friends in the first year

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sashh · 10/07/2022 07:46

I know nothing about the universities or Chemistry.

My instinct is to say Birmingham because it is so diverse but also has travel links to the rest of the UK, train, coach, airport even a tram line that means it is easier to get to somewhere for an evening or an afternoon.

So if the student has a hobby and there is a club in another town it's easy to join.

There is always something going on in Birmingham and around, sport, cinemas, places to eat, NEC, theatres etc.

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Holymole · 10/07/2022 07:49

The accommodation isn't rubbish at all in Bath. However, it's not that good for a night out and my DS used to travel to Bristol. Also, the campus is out of the town so it's always a bus trip (I'm not sure where the accommodation is in Birmingham)

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Holymole · 10/07/2022 07:51

Has your DS considered Manchester? (Apologies if it's too late to apply) the chemistry dept is great as is the nightlife.

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MarchingFrogs · 10/07/2022 08:59

the halls were bed sits with no shared living space to socialise and students were not allowed to leave their study bedrooms for weeks at a time apart from using the kitchen.

Many / most halls at most universities consist of flats which have a number of individual rooms (en suite or not) plus just the kitchen area as the individual flat's social space and often no bigger social space within the building where those from all the flats can congregate. That being said, at Birmingham, DD's building (Battery Park, run by Unite) did have general social spaces (not sure how much use was made of them after the Freshers events, though, and she started in 2019, so was only there for 6 months anyway), also one of the halls up.on the Vale contains a bar etc. A lot of the socialising goes on at the Guild (SU), though, as far as I can make out from DD snd DS1 before her.

But if the university was banning households (flats) in its residences from getting together in a room within their own household - which didnt contravene even the《insert own expletive here》 'guidance', let alone any actual law, then surely they would not have countenanced the mixing of households in a common room, which did, either?

At Birmingham, for first years there is a mix of 'sort of on campus' (the Vale 'Village') and 'close around the periphery' (Selly Oak 'Village' / Pritchatts Park) accommodation, plus one hall about a 40 minute walk away, assuming that that one is still used. Second and subsequent year accommodation is mainly around Selly Oak / Bournbrook, up to about 15-20 minutes' walk in, but some houses available much closer than that (and obviously, there are other areas they can move out to if for some reason they don't fancy the main 'student' area).

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PacificFish · 11/07/2022 05:48

thanks everyone
Dies anyone have experience of the support for autistic students?

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PacificFish · 11/07/2022 05:48

Does!!!

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MatildaJayne · 12/07/2022 21:18

I don’t have experience of their support, but Bath certainly used to offer a week’s taster during the summer for autistic students to try a bit of uni life. Not exclusively for those going to Bath uni. So I would say it probably has some good knowledge of autism at least. I checked this out a few years ago at DS2 with ASD is now 22, but sadly he wasn’t ready for living away from home.

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Ouchlikeholly · 12/07/2022 21:43

Following because my autistic son is planning on studying Chemistry. He's still in year 12 and we're currently doing open days. We've talked to the disability teams at each one and asked what support they can offer which has been really helpful. I'd suggest emailing the disability people at both universities and asking them directly. Also a lady at Leeds told us that the sooner they have all the information the better so that they can make sure that support is in place in time.

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Stormer · 12/07/2022 23:39

I'm following with interest too because although my Yr12 autistic DD won't be studying chemistry, she is potentially interested in going to Bath or Birmingham, so it would be good to know what the autism support is like there. Also good to connect with other parents who also have autistic DC considering university.

Like Ouchlikeholly we also have talked to the disability teams at the open days we've been too. Months ago I attended a webinar by an autism adviser on supporting your autistic child going to university. Two main takeaways: firstly, apply for DLA and liaise with the university and set up support in good time before starting, and to ask for all the various types of help because you don't have to actually use it, but best to have it available. I can see you're doing this but the point of the talk was that many autistic students don't declare their autism and just want to be 'normal' and cope, but that university triggers autism symptoms in many different ways.

Secondly, the environment for the young person is key. Which environment is best varies according to the individual, so visiting universities and looking at the buildings and accommodation is crucial for us. It sounds like your DS has visited both Bath and Birmingham?

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