Early Years (FD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Brief Description of Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a geography degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Learning Support (FD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning. 


Learning Support and Students with Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way an individual communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism experience difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited due to their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a geography degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Education Studies and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning. 


Education Studies and Students with Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way an individual communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism experience difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited due to their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a geography degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Psychology and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Psychology and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a psychology degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Sociology and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Sociology and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a sociology degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

History and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


History and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

General Business and Management and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


General Business and Management and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

 Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Manufacturing Management (FD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Manufacturing Management and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

 Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

International Foundation Diploma and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


International Foundation Diploma and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a geography degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Biosciences and Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Biosciences and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a biosciences degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Geography and Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Geography and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these aspects of a geography degree.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

For further details concerning geography and students with Asperger’s Syndrome see The Geography Disciplines Network (GDN) Inclusive Curriculum Project (ICP), Developing an inclusive curriculum for a) students with mental health issues; b) students with Asperger Syndrome http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/imental.pdf (accessed March 2008).

 

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

For further information on Autistic Spectrum Disorders, please see the following external links and references:

If you would like to recommend any links to be added to this page please email s.smith@worc.ac.uk


A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome

Autism Awarenesshttps://www.autism.org.uk/

Autism Research Centre

The Autism Research Unit at the University of Sunderland

Autistic Spectrum Disorders https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

Blamires, M. and Gee, S. (2002) Raising Aspirations: Increasing the Participation of Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Social Communication Difficulties) in Higher Education. Report of the HEFCE Strand Two Disability ASPIHE Project. Canterbury Christ Church University College

Inclusive Teaching Strategies: Asperger’s Syndrome

The National Autistic Society

Robinson, S. (2001) Using Tutorial Time Effectively with Students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Further and Higher Education. Good Autism Practice, 2(1) 2-6

The Scottish Society for Autism

University Students With Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges and Subjects – this link takes you to challenges and subjects associated with autistic spectrum disorders.


Brief description of Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way an individual communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism experience difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited due to their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

Detailed description of Autistic Spectrum Disorders

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Asperger Syndrome

Individuals with Asperger syndrome find it difficult to read communication signals that most of us take for granted and, as a result, find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, and a number of traits of autism are common to Asperger syndrom, including:

  • difficulty communicating – individuals may speak fluently but they may not take much notice of the reaction of the people listening to them; they may talk on an on regardless of the listener’s interest or they may appear insensitive to their feelings. Despite having good language skills, people with Asperger syndrome may sound over-precise or over-literal jokes can cause problems as can exaggerated language, turns of phrase and metaphors.
  • difficulty forming social relationships – unlike the individual with classic autism, who often appears withdrawn and uninterested in the world around them, many people with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable and enjoy human contact. Although they do still find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, including facial expressions, which makes it more difficult for them to form and maintain social relationships with people unaware of their needs.
  • lack of imagination and creativity – while they often excel at learning facts and figures, individuals with Asperger syndrome often find it hard to think in abstract ways.

However, people with Asperger syndrom usually have fewer problems with language than those with autism, often speaking fluently, though their words can sometimes sound formal or stilted. People with Asperger syndrome do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities that can be associated with autism.

Because of this, many individuals who have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as children, have often been through mainstream schooling and, with the right support and encouragement, have made good educational progress.

Individuals with Asperger syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collecting. Usually their interest involves arranging or memorising facts about a special subject, such as train timetables, Derby winners or the dimensions of cathedrals, for example. With the right encouragement, interests can be developed so that people with Asperger syndrome can go on to work or to study their area of interest.

Individuals can also find change unsettling and upsetting and often prefer to order their day according to a set pattern. If they work set hours then any unexpected delay, such as a traffic hold-up, or a late train, can make them anxious or upset.

These are the main characteristics of the condition, but it is important to remember that all individuals are different and these characteristics will vary greatly and some may be demonstrated more strongly than others.

Characteristics Impacting on Learning and Teaching

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with computers – both of these can give a student a head start.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Dance, Drama and Performance and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Dance, Drama and Performance and Students with Autism

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their study of dance, drama and performance programmes. Possible difficulties and inclusive strategies for overcoming them might include the following:

Communication

While individuals with autistic spectrum disorders may have an excellent vocabulary and sound syntactic knowledge, the performance or communicative aspect of their language may be poor. They may have difficulty knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, what to talk about and with whom, when, where and in what manner. They may have difficulty inferring ideas from what is said, or they may take what is said very literally.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may be unable to alter register or language style in different language situations – resulting in a very pompous or stilted language style. Their language can appear odd and inappropriate. Sometimes particular phrases will be repeated many times in a stereotyped fashion. In addition, non-verbal communication, both receptive and expressive, is often not well developed. Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Social Interaction

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can be loners who never seem to quite fit in. This may be as a result of eccentric behaviour, peculiar ways of speaking and a lack of social skills. However, students with autistic spectrum disorders are generally very keen to develop social relationships but lack the ability to understand and use the rules governing social behaviour.

He or she may attempt to initiate contact inappropriately or react unnecessarily aggressively to a rebuff.

Students may feel rejected but not understand how their own behavioural responses have contributed to their isolation. Over time, some students may withdraw from uncomfortable interactions and become quite isolated (concomitant psychiatric difficulties can occur, e.g. depression, obsessive compulsive disorders).

Some of the more specific difficulties associated with social interaction include:

  • Students may interpret quite literally what is said to them.
  • Difficulties in reading the emotions of others.
  • Problems with social distance.
  • Difficulty understanding unwritten rules and when they do learn them, may then apply them rigidly.
Coping with the Learning Environment

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are often resistant to change and cope best in a structured environment in which any change is predictable. The vastness of universities and the adult learning environment in which students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning is likely to be difficult for such students.

Because these students often have difficulty inferring information, they may find it difficult to take on board the significance of important dates and timetables.

Students may appear rigid and non-compliant and have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. They may also find it hard to concentrate on a subject matter if it is not one that interests them on a personal level. It is important to remember that many students perceive the world almost exclusively from their own viewpoint and will use language in the literal sense, which can cause difficulties when interpreting language for drama productions.

 

English and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


English and Students with Autism

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their study of English programmes. Possible difficulties and inclusive strategies for overcoming them might include the following:

Communication

While individuals with autistic spectrum disorders may have an excellent vocabulary and sound syntactic knowledge, the performance or communicative aspect of their language may be poor. They may have difficulty knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, what to talk about and with whom, when, where and in what manner. They may have difficulty inferring ideas from what is said, and they can take what is said very literally.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may be unable to alter register or language style in different language situations – resulting in a very pompous or stilted language style. Their language can appear odd and inappropriate. Sometimes particular phrases will be repeated many times in a stereotyped fashion. In addition, non-verbal communication, both receptive and expressive, is often not well developed. Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Social Interaction

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can be loners who never seem to quite fit in. This may be as a result of eccentric behaviour, peculiar ways of speaking and a lack of social skills. However, students with autistic spectrum disorders are generally very keen to develop social relationships but lack the ability to understand and use the rules governing social behaviour.

He or she may attempt to initiate contact inappropriately or react unnecessarily aggressively to a rebuff.

Students may feel rejected but not understand how their own behavioural responses have contributed to their isolation. Over time, some students may withdraw from uncomfortable interactions and become quite isolated (concomitant psychiatric difficulties can occur, e.g. depression, obsessive compulsive disorders).

Some of the more specific difficulties associated with social interaction include:

  • Students may interpret quite literally what is said to them.
  • Difficulties in reading the emotions of others.
  • Problems with social distance.
  • Difficulty understanding unwritten rules and when they do learn them, may then apply them rigidly.
Coping with the Learning Environment

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are often resistant to change and cope best in a structured environment in which any change is predictable. The vastness of universities and the adult learning environment in which students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning is likely to be difficult for such students.

Because these students often have difficulty inferring information, they may find it difficult to take on board the significance of important dates and timetables.

Students may appear rigid and non-compliant and have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. They may also find it hard to concentrate on a subject matter if it is not one that interests them on a personal level. It is important to remember that many students perceive the world almost exclusively from their own viewpoint and will use language in the literal sense, which can cause difficulties when interpreting language on English programmes.

 

Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism and Students with Autism

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their study of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism programmes. Possible difficulties and inclusive strategies for overcoming them might include the following:

Communication

While individuals with autistic spectrum disorders may have an excellent vocabulary and sound syntactic knowledge, the performance or communicative aspect of their language may be poor. They may have difficulty knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, what to talk about and with whom, when, where and in what manner. They may have difficulty inferring ideas from what is said, and they can take what is said very literally.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may be unable to alter register or language style in different language situations – resulting in a very pompous or stilted language style. Their language can appear odd and inappropriate. Sometimes particular phrases will be repeated many times in a stereotyped fashion. In addition, non-verbal communication, both receptive and expressive, is often not well developed. Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Social Interaction

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can be loners who never seem to quite fit in. This may be as a result of eccentric behaviour, peculiar ways of speaking and a lack of social skills. However, students with autistic spectrum disorders are generally very keen to develop social relationships but lack the ability to understand and use the rules governing social behaviour.

He or she may attempt to initiate contact inappropriately or react unnecessarily aggressively to a rebuff.

Students may feel rejected but not understand how their own behavioural responses have contributed to their isolation. Over time, some students may withdraw from uncomfortable interactions and become quite isolated (concomitant psychiatric difficulties can occur, e.g. depression, obsessive compulsive disorders).

Some of the more specific difficulties associated with social interaction include:

  • Students may interpret quite literally what is said to them.
  • Difficulties in reading the emotions of others.
  • Problems with social distance.
  • Difficulty understanding unwritten rules and when they do learn them, may then apply them rigidly.
Coping with the Learning Environment

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are often resistant to change and cope best in a structured environment in which any change is predictable. The vastness of universities and the adult learning environment in which students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning is likely to be difficult for such students.

Because these students often have difficulty inferring information, they may find it difficult to take on board the significance of important dates and timetables.

Students may appear rigid and non-compliant and have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. They may also find it hard to concentrate on a subject matter if it is not one that interests them on a personal level. It is important to remember that many students perceive the world almost exclusively from their own viewpoint and will use language in the literal sense. All of these factors can cause students with autistic spectrum disorders to experience difficulties during their course of study.

Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


MSOR and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories and/or a natural affinity with mathematics and/or computers – both of these can give a student a head start in these disciplines.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and work through problems.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Music and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Music and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

 Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories which can be beneficial for students learning and memorising music for performance.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals and achieve aims.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction, specific group work difficulties might include: missing unspoken messages given through body language, facial expression, or tone of voice, making remarks that appear to be inappropriate to the context of the conversation, and difficulty accommodating to different audiences.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Nursing and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Nursing and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories which can give a student a head start.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

All of these difficulties can be problematic for the nursing student, especially as students with autistic spectrum disorders commonly find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are also more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Physiotherapy and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Physiotherapy and Students with Autism

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories which can give a student a head start.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

All of these difficulties can be problematic for the physiotherapy student, especially as students with autistic spectrum disorders commonly find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are also more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

Social Work and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Social Work and Students with Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way an individual communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism experience difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited as is their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

Detailed description of Autistic Spectrum Disorders

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories which can give a student a head start.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

All of these difficulties can be problematic for the social work student, especially as students with autistic spectrum disorders commonly find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction. Students may also experience difficulties reading body language, which can be problematic when dealing with clients and such student may need a personal assistant to help them with this.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are also more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Veterinary Science and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Veterinary Science and Students with Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way an individual communicates and relates to people around them. Children and adults with autism experience difficulties with everyday social interaction. Their ability to develop friendships is generally limited as is their capacity to understand other people’s emotional expression.

Detailed description of Autistic Spectrum Disorders

People with autism often have accompanying learning difficulties but all individuals share the same common difficulty in making sense of the world around them.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders can experience a number of difficulties which may affect their studies.

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Possible difficulties and inclusive strategies for overcoming them might include the following:Students with autistic spectrum disorders may have certain advantages over other students in relation to some areas of their university experience, for example:

  • Most students find that a busy social life interferes with their studies. This is one problem that students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders generally don’t have.
  • Some individuals with autistic spectrum disorders have unusual memories which can give a student a head start.
  • The formal style required for academic essay writing is usually a lot easier to master than casual conversation.
  • They generally have the ability to study an area in great depth.
  • They can be very motivated and independent in their study.
  • They can be very single minded in working to set goals.
  • Students are often original and creative in their thought patterns and have good attention to detail and precision.

However, students with autistic spectrum disorders may also have a number of characteristics that have a negative impact on the way they learn; these can include any or all of the following:

  • Difficulty interacting with other students and tutors.
  • Misunderstanding or naivety within social interactions.
  • Anxiety within social interactions.
  • Reliance on routines and a dislike of sudden changes.
  • Poor organisational skills.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Confusion of relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focusing on inappropriate details.

All of these difficulties can be problematic for the veterinary science student, especially as students with autistic spectrum disorders commonly find group work situations problematic due to their difficulties with social interaction.

Students with autistic spectrum disorders are also more likely to use language literally, finding it difficult to understand metaphors, jokes or abstract concepts. Their difficulty with the abstract and their inflexibility in thinking can extend to other areas, for example reliance on fixed routines or demonstrating repetitive behaviour, such as wishing to sit in the same seat, they may experience distress when these routines are disrupted.

 

Computing and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Computing and Students with Autism

People with autism generally experience three main areas of difficulty; these are known as the triad of impairments:

  • Social interaction – difficulty with social relationships, e.g. appearing aloof and indifferent to others.
  • Social communication – difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, e.g. not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Imagination – difficulty in the development of interpersonal skills and imagination, e.g. having a limited range of imaginative abilities, possibly copied and pursued rigidly and repetitively.

In addition to this triad, repetitive behaviour patterns and resistance to change in routine are often also characteristic.

Individuals may often interupt inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome. They may also appear non-compliant at times, as they often have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback. Students with autistic spectrum disorders may often be perceived as being rude or arrogant – and it is important that academic staff are aware that the student has impaired communication and that any rudeness is unintentional. Tutorial participation may present problems for some students and allowances for these communication difficulties may be necessary.

Commentators and practitioners have noted the value of computers, both therapeutically and educationally, to people with autistic spectrum disorders. Murray (1999) has noted that people with autistic spectrum disorders seem to have monotropic interest systems: their attention tends to be fixed on isolated objects which are viewed as though through a tunnel, apart from the surrounding context. Computers are an ideal resource to break into this world because they start where the individual is, allowing cotropical interaction, by joining the individual’s attention tunnel. External events can be more easily ignored when focusing on a computer screen as the area of concentration is limited to the bounds of the screen. The small area of focus might explain why some people with autism can tolerate higher sensory input via a computer than they can apparently tolerate elsewhere.

Because computers offer a context-free environment in which many people with autism feel comfortable, therapists and tutors are increasingly using virtual reality tools to teach life skills, such as crossing the road, and social skills, such as recognising emotions in other people.

Some other advantages of computers for individuals with autism are that they:

  • are predictable and, therefore, controllable.
  • enable errors to be made safely.
  • offer a highly perfectible medium.
  • give possibilities of non-verbal or verbal expression.

Murray suggests that it is important to allow students with autism the freedom to explore the computer before trying out programs with a more didactic purpose. Since computers are led by the user’s choices, and offer a highly simplified and positively reinforcing environment they can be of great benefit to this population. They can be an aid to effective communication, especially between the person with autism and the carer. They may motivate individuals with autism to speak (either to the computer or to another person), to read, or to show and share their achievements.

Computers can create an awareness of self as, by touching a key, the student causes visible changes on the screen. Use of a computer is an interactive process, which can be enhanced by using two-person games. Not only do these foster an awareness of both self and other, but playing a computer game allows the person with autism to communicate with another person in a non-verbal environment. It offers an entity through which two people can engage, an inanimate, asocial, reflecting response mechanism.

Murray makes a strong case for ensuring that all individuals with autism have access to a computer, whether at home or at the institution. To gain the most benefit it will be best to ensure that carers and staff are equipped to provide the necessary support. It will be helpful for them to have some prior familiarity with the software available, not so as to take over or demonstrate but to make suggestions as the individual makes use of the programs. Many students with autism will find the experience confidence boosting and this is likely to reduce challenging behaviour. Once an individual is comfortable in his/her relationship with computers, his/her educational potential can be realised, through individual learning programs.

Choosing Computer Equipment for People with Autism

Many people with autism will be comfortable using standard computer hardware. Some, however, may find it easier to use specially adapted equipment. People who have difficulty with fine motor skills can use touch screens, joysticks and switches instead of the standard mouse and/or keyboard to interact with the computer. Students who find the standard keyboard too complex may prefer a keyboard with large keys or a graphic overlay (a flat board with a simple layout of letter, words or pictures which can be used instead of or alongside a standard keyboard).

Virtual Reality and Autism

Research has found that virtual reality (VR) can be a useful learning tool for people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The use of VR in the treatment of people with phobias is already well established – the virtual reality environment is a ‘safe’ medium in which people can be exposed gradually to their fears, so that their next encounter with the situation in the real world is less traumatic. Strickland (1998) has shown that individuals with autism can not only accept virtual reality, but also use it to rehearse problematic real-life situations. There are several advantages of VR for the individual with autism:

  • VR uses sight and sound more than touch: auditory and visual stimuli have been found to be most effective in teaching abstract concepts to people with autism.
  • In the virtual environment, input stimuli can be modified to a tolerable level.
  • The environment can be altered gradually to teach generalisation and cross-recognition.
  • Above all, VR offers a safe learning environment in which the individual may make mistakes which might be physically or socially hazardous in the real world.

Strickland admits, however, that further work is needed to discover whether individuals with autism are able to translate the skills learned in the virtual environment to real world situations.