Posted on 27th February 2019
University of Birmingham adopts the Autism&Uni toolkit
Dr Andrea MacLeod from the Autism Centre for Education and Research at the University of Birmingham talks about how the Autism&Uni toolkit fits in with their AuVision project – a peer-to-peer consultation to improve the experience of autistic students at the University of Birmingham.
The AuVision project used a participatory framework to consult with students and alumni across the university about their experiences of study and life at the University of Birmingham. The project team also developed an online resource to support staff who teach or work with autistic students and we made this freely available so that other institutions could access this. The resource offers first-hand video accounts and practical tips on how to offer a more inclusive curriculum which can benefit all students.
As part of our work with the project, we were excited to make contact with Marc Fabri, who was leading the Autism & Uni project at Leeds Beckett. We welcomed the offer for us to adapt their Autism & Uni resource for students who were thinking of coming to our university so they could be better prepared.
We know from our AuVision project that preparation for, and transition into, university is key to a successful experience. Every university is different, and the more that students can be prepared, the better. The Autism & Uni template was useful in prompting us about what to include, enabling us to use existing information from our own website and also fill in the gaps of missing information that our autistic students needed.
As a large Russell Group university, we have a well-developed website with a lot of information on it. However, the sheer volume of information can make it difficult for students to navigate and the Autism & Uni site has allowed us to ‘distil’ what is most important for this group of students. We launched this in the summer of 2018 and continue to develop and improve it.
Dr Andrea MacLeod
ACER (Autism Centre for Education and Research)
University of Birmingham