Posted on 09th November 2020

University of Sheffield: Looking back after launching the Autism&Uni toolkit more than a year ago

Alison Jones, Disability Transition Officer, of the University of Sheffield’s Disability and Dyslexia Support Service on the Autism&Uni toolkit which was launched in summer 2019.

The Disability and Dyslexia Support Service at the University of Sheffield provides specialist advice and support for disabled applicants and students. As well as having a team of specialist Disability Advisers, the service organises a one-day transition event for all autistic applicants and we have a well-attended weekly social group for autistic students which is facilitated by autism specialists.

As soon as we became aware of the Autism&Uni toolkit, we knew we wanted this resource to be available to our applicants and students.

Our disability service website is an up-to-date and extensive resource for all applicants and current students. Knowing that the transition to university might pose particular challenges for autistic students, the toolkit enables us to expand on the information we can provide. This means we can further support transition to university by having these additional autism-specific pages.

The breadth of the Autism&Uni toolkit enables individuals to go to areas that are of specific interest to them. They can access it at their own pace and in their own time, without needing to register or log on, and the information available is relevant to different stages of the student lifecycle.

After taking the time to tailor the toolkit to ensure more of the information was specific to the University of Sheffield, we were pleased to be able to launch it in summer 2019.  We also recruited a current student to work on our Toolkit, to provide content feedback and to write new sections.

It has become a valuable resource – available to all prospective applicants and current students – and was accessed by almost 500 visitors in its first year.

The Autism&Uni toolkit is an ongoing project – as we further enhance and develop the information it provides, we hope it will become even more valuable and useful to people who want to find out more about life as an autistic student at the University of Sheffield.

“I used the Autism and Uni toolkit before starting Uni… and found it really helpful. Looking through the available resources helped me feel a lot more confident about accessing disability support and relieved some of the anxiety about starting classes.”

“I appreciated how the articles laid everything out very clearly and highlighted a lot of small details around structure and expectations. These are things that would usually stress me out, but I would also feel silly asking people about them. I found this resource incredibly reassuring as I transitioned into university.” 

(Feedback from a current student at the University of Sheffield)

 

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