The University of Portsmouth offers a wide range of support for autistic students. This page summarises what support is available and how to access it.

Background

Getting used to life as a university student can be a challenge for anyone, and it may be even more challenging because of your autism. It is important before you make any decisions to know that there is support, information and resources available if you need them. Talking to us about the support available, any questions or concerns you have, and then visiting campus, might help you make a decision whether you want to study with us, and ensure you have the best possible university experience if you do.

Below is a summary of the services available at the University of Portsmouth.

Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC)

ASDAC offers advice and guidance on any disability-related matters within our University. Additional academic support is available to disabled students where they experience difficulties that impact on their ability to access the campus, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment or any other university service

Academic support is assessed on an individual basis to ensure it is appropriate and enables the student to meet the required learning outcomes. Some examples of academic support other students have found useful are:

  • Exam adjustments (e.g. extra time)
  • Assistive technology (e.g. recording software)
  • Specialist 1:1 support (e.g. mentor)

Student Wellbeing Service

The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential advice and support. The service provides wellbeing advice, mental health advice and counselling in the following ways:

  • Individual face-to-face consultations
  • Daily short advice sessions
  • Online counselling
  • Wellbeing courses and workshops
  • Online self-help and resources
  • Wellbeing Café
  • What’s Up app

Autism Centre for Research on Employment (ACRE)

ACRE, located at the Department of Psychology, offers a profiling assessment service for autistic students, free of charge. These profiles contain information about your strengths but also the challenges you may face while at university. The report includes a series of recommendations, tailored to you, about how to ensure any challenges do not impact on your studies.

If you are interested in requesting a profiling assessment please complete this form.

How could this affect me?

Ensuring the university offers the right support for you is an important factor contributing to a positive experience and your academic performance. Some students report that they underestimated the impact that the transition to university would have on their studies and mental health. Some also report that they wished they had sought support earlier on. It's normal to feel anxious when starting something new, like a university course, especially during difficult times of the year like exam periods. Sometimes these difficulties can have a significant impact in your wellbeing and your studies.

What to do next?

Contact ASDAC and the Student Wellbeing Service to find out more about the services they offer and how they can help you.

Practical tips

Before you start university, or during your study, it is important that you reflect on any support needs you may have (see below) and that you find out how to access the support you need.

Questions to think about

  • What type of support works best for me e.g. face-to-face individual meetings, online support, connecting with other students who have had similar experiences?
  • Does the university offer support for my needs? If not, can they offer advice on how I may be able to access that support?
  • What are the things that have helped me in the past to stay well? Are they likely to work at university or may I need to learn new coping strategies?
  • Do I need support for any of the following? Stress and anxiety, coping with study pressures, planning and organising my time, sensory sensitivities.

Additional information and links

You may want to read


This toolkit is an adaptation of the Autism&Uni project led by Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University, under license CC BY 4.0. The original Autism&Uni project was funded with support from the European Commission with partners in the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. For more information about this project please visit the Autism&Uni website.

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