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Case Study: Autism & Uni

Young autistic people want to still lead full and independent lives like everyone else. Although autism is not an indicator of academic ability, many find it difficult to enter university and those who do start a degree course often drop out early.

Autism&Uni is a European-funded research project that works with young people on the autism spectrum to support them during the critical transition period from applying to university, through to arriving and settling in. Dr Marc Fabri, of Leeds Beckett University, leads this project, which also involves partners from Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

Autistic people are at the centre of our research and involved at every stage. By applying a human-centred 'design thinking' approach, we ensure our project outcomes are directly influenced by, and designed specifically for, the students we aim to assist. We are creating an interactive toolkit that provides students with strategies for overcoming key challenges at university, and we will also publish a best practice guide for universities.

Informed by this research, the project team are now in the process of creating and prototyping an online toolkit that will help students on the autism spectrum find out about the challenges they may encounter in higher education by immersing them in typical scenarios. These tools can be used independently or with the help of parents or professionals in higher education institutions.

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