Supporting students with autism or Asperger syndrome

About autism and Asperger syndrome

Possible effects on a student’s learning

Some students find it difficult to work well in groups and have difficulty organising their time. Also, note taking may take them longer or they may struggle to know which are the pertinent points to note.

They may experience higher levels of stress and anxiety than other students. Moreover, the thing which cause them stress and anxiety may be different than for the average student population, ie a student with Asperger syndrome may seem unconcerned about a particular assignment but may experience high levels of anxiety if changes are made to the timetable.

Adjustments you can make

  • Provide written material and slides in advance
  • Visual strategies and multi-sensory learning can be useful for some students
  • Use clear and unambiguous language. Avoid figurative language such as metaphor or irony
  • Make links between topics and themes explicit
  • Give very clear instructions for any activity with short and direct commands
  • Make clear the purpose of a task
  • Identify which skills will be needed for an activity
  • Make clear what volume of work is expected and by when
  • Tell the student when something is good enough
  • Use the student’s name if you are addressing them specifically
  • Give the student time to respond to a question (10 seconds can feel like a long time to you), maybe saying you will come back to them for their response
  • Switch off the projector/air conditioning when these are not necessary
  • If group work is required some planning or help may be necessary in finding partners – if the student prefers to work alone and is still able to achieve learning outcomes this is a reasonable adjustment
  • Consider sensitive marking if requested
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Help and support

Our Student Services Hub provides advice, information and guidance on a range of health and wellbeing issues to help you support students.