Photo: Student smiling acorss the top of his laptop 

We offer support to students on the autism spectrum who are in Further or Higher Education in England.

Our Student Support Service is tailored to a students’ individual needs and provides assistance for students in a variety of ways so that they can undertake their studies, personally develop and successfully complete their course.

We provide three types of support for students:

AS Specialist Mentoring Support (Band 4):

Specialist Mentoring support is used by students to assist them with both their academic studies and social development while undertaking their course. Students usually work with a mentor on a 1:1 basis for a short period of time each week outside of class time. This is in order to both develop key skills that they will need for university or college life and also to overcome any difficulties that they have. Support generally given in Specialist Mentoring sessions includes (but is not limited to) organisation and time management work, breaking down assignments, overcoming anxiety, developing communication skills, managing change, structuring workload, understanding the expectations of the course and being present for students to have a weekly overview in order to discuss how their studies and life is going.

AS 1:1 Study Skills Support (Band 4):

Similar to Specialist Mentoring, 1:1 Study Skills Support takes place in sessions outside of class time and usually lasts for a few hours each week. However, 1:1 Study Skills focuses more closely on university work and the academic demands of courses rather than being broader support which Specialist Mentoring offers. Working one on one with a tutor, students can develop the academic skills that they will need for their course while also overcoming the barriers that having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (and sometimes other Specific Learning Difficulties e.g. Dyslexia) can cause to learning. The sessions generally focus on areas of academic study such as work structure, referencing, sentence and paragraph formation, grammar, spelling, breaking down assignment questions and instructions, keeping within the word count and proof-reading. 

Study Assistant/Note Taker Support (Band 2):

This support is no longer funded through DSA. You can fund it yourself directly, or universities and colleges can provide us with funding to provide the support.

In contrast to the above support provisions, Study Assistance focuses more on practical help for supporting students so that they can access their courses on a day to day basis. Delivered during class time, Study Assistance focuses on support areas such as note-taking in class, being a presence/support during lectures/seminars, help with navigating the campus, assistance in the library, accompanying support on trips and assistance during the first weeks of term.

We offer this support as either note taking or study assistance separately; however both of these roles can also be combined to be provided by one support worker.

I was about to give up my course, but the support that the National Autistic Society gave me enabled me to continue my studies.

PhD student, University of London

The National Autistic Society has been a tremendous help to me during my final year to complete my degree at the University of East London.

Undergraduate Student, UEL

Our student support service aims to:

  • ensure that all our staff are fully trained in all aspects of autism
  • identify areas where you may have social and communication difficulties and discuss ways of addressing these
  • support you with understanding the demands of your course and the associated work
  • help to mitigate any difficulties that you may face in studying and/or to overcome these difficulties
  • increase your ability to cope independently at college or university.

The support is run on an appointment basis negotiated between you and our Support Team. Our Specialist Mentors and 1:1 Study Skills Tutors will usually meet you at your college or university in order to deliver the support. Study assistance and note taking support is provided in class and arranged around your timetable.

How to pay for this support

Our student support service is usually funded by Disability Student Allowance (DSA). However, universities or colleges can also directly fund and pay for your support should DSA not be in place or available to you. Similarly, you can also self-fund us to provide support to you. This funding must be in place before we can offer our service(s).

How to access our support

Contact us directly on 07483 009 653 or email to discuss our support provisions further or speak to a disability advisor at your college or university.

Visit the Association of NMH providers to find out if the National Autistic Society provide support in your university.

Find out about support