Learning difficulties/Autism spectrum support at university:

how Kent can help you further

An image of university of kent student studyingGoing to university is a challenge for all of freshers. However, some of us require even more support and guidance when it comes to academic life. It is just great to know that university can help you settle with your workload, understand your needs and much more. We are lucky here at Kent, as our university is one of the three in the UK that have an academic Autism research centre and can provide the necessary environment for anyone, who is experiencing any learning difficulties during studies.

University can issue ILP (Individual Leaning Plan) for every student, who can provide sufficient evidence of experienced difficulties. If you already have your diagnosis, which you received being 16 or older, you can use this diagnosis as your evidence. If you were diagnosed earlier and have not been diagnosed yet, you will need to take an additional test. For all the additional information contact our Student Support & Wellbeing Service.

Here is what’s available for those on ILP:

1). Avoiding Queues

During registration in Freshers’ Week you may find yourself standing in a number of long queues, confused with noise and crowds all around you. If you’ve already informed the university about your condition, keep an eye on your email! Several days before Welcome Week you may receive an email with information on how to avoid queues, while registering with the university.

2). Coursework Extensions

These are useful ones! To get an extension, you just need to contact you school’s support Oofice and they will guide you through the process of applying for extension. Bear in mind, most schools do not allow more then seven days extension.

3). Extended Library Borrowing

You can borrow books for longer then a week. Under the new system that is used in the library, borrowings are renewed automatically every week, if nobody placed a request for the book. However, students with ILP can hold a book for longer. This gives you a bit more extra time to manage your reading lists.

4). Mentoring

University can provide a mentor, with whom you may discuss your concerns in approaching your studies. Normally, students are allocated with mentors after week six.

5). Reading lists are available four weeks in advance

And what’s more, reading lists have different stages of priority: core (must read), recommended (should read) and background (could read).

6). Lecture and seminar slides are available at least 24 hours before the timetabled event

However, some schools make slides available long before you even start the module. So have a look at them before you start!

7). You can record your lectures

Even though, most of the lectures and modules are recorded, some may not be. With ILP you can record your lectures on your own device and listen to them later. Especially useful for students with ADHD, who may get distracted easily.

8). Counselling

Another useful feature to help yourself settle with a new life.

9). Exam Adjustments

You can have an extra time (up to 33%) and a separate room during your exams. It is particularly useful for students with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and high levels of anxiety.

In addition to all, the Autism Research Centre on campus often runs research projects, where all students on the Autism spectrum can participate. It is a good opportunity to talk about your experiences and receive Amazon vouchers for your input!

This post is by Kate Slobodian