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Date published: March 28, 2019

Supporting autistic students

We know that the university environment can sometimes be a challenging place for autistic students. Whether you have a formal diagnosis or not, we may be able to provide some support to you.

Help with applying for support funding

- Disability & Learner Support can provide advice on how you may be able to apply for funding to access extra support to help with your studies.

Depending on your needs, there are different types of support that may be put in place. To have a chat with an adviser on what this might mean for you, contact Disability & Learner Support on:

T: 0161 295 0023 (option 1, then option 2)

E: disability@salford.ac.uk

Calm Rooms

- Sometimes, you might need to find a quiet space that you can go to for a chance to manage some of the stress and anxiety you might experience because of the environment around you.

There is a dedicated space in Allerton building for students on the autistic spectrum to access, when you need a quiet space. Another room is being planned for the Peel Park campus.

If you think the Calm Room is a space that might be beneficial to you, contact Disability & Learner Support to find out how access is given:

T: 0161 295 0023 (option 1, then option 2)

E: disability@salford.ac.uk

Evening Groups

- The Evening Group has been set up so that students on the autistic spectrum have a safe space to make connections with other students. The first groups will be in April 2019, on Monday evenings between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

Those who attend the group will decide what the activities are that happen each week, the group will be supported by a member of Disability & Learner Support.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Evening Group:

What to expect at the evening group for students who are autistic or looking for a safe space to make connections at university.

Why should I come to the group?

The purpose of the group is to provide a safe space for University of Salford students, who may be on the autistic spectrum, to make connections with other students from the university.

You might want to come to the group to:

- Meet new people and make friends

- Talk about your interests with other people

- Find out about how you can access more support at university

- Tell us about the support you might find useful at university

- Hear from other people about interesting topics

Or you may have another reason to attend.

Do I have to talk to anyone?

No! We understand that not everyone is comfortable talking to new people or making small talk. If you would like to come to the group but not speak, only speak to certain people or at certain times, that is ok.

Everyone will be given the opportunity to contribute in a way that is comfortable for them.

When does the group meet?

The group will meet between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on Monday evenings, in the Rosa Parks room at University House. It is ok for anyone who wishes to attend the group to arrive later than 5.30pm.

Where does the group meet?

To find Rosa Parks, enter University House by the sliding doors at the front.

Turn right and go down the stairs.

Continue along the corridor and Rosa Parks is the room at the end.

There will be some signs directing you from the main entrance and a sign on the door.

If you need any help finding the room, contact us in advance so that we can arrange to meet you at the main entrance.

If you would like to see the room before the group, contact us so that we can arrange to show you the room in advance.

What will happen during the group?

The format of the session might change each week, depending on the focus of that session. The group will not follow a formal structure and no agenda will be set but this is an outline of how the time may be structured:

5.15pm – Group Facilitator Arrives to set up

5.30 – 6.00pm - Arrivals & Introductions

6.00 – 7.00pm – Main activity or discussion (this may be a guest speaker, a games night, sharing food or another activity decided by the group)

7.00 – 7.30pm – Rounding up & group finish

7.45pm – Group Facilitator leaves.

What are the rules for the group?

At the first & second group, we will decide on the rules and boundaries for the evening group – these will be displayed at each session and all attendees will be asked to act in accordance with them.

All students attending the group will be expected to behave according to the standards set out in the Student Code of Conduct; this includes the following:

i. Treat other people with respect, and make sure you have consent for any actions you perform towards them.

ii. Treat other people with respect, appreciating difference and including people of all backgrounds.

iii. Treat other people with consideration and empathy and avoid actions which are likely to cause them distress or harm.

iv. Respect other people’s physical and personal space, physical and intellectual property and private information.

v. Respect the University’s campus, physical / intellectual property and confidential information

vi. Act in such a way as to keep yourself and others safe.

vii. Comply with all applicable rules, regulations, policies, procedures and codes, both of the University and of local/national government, and act honestly, ethically, and in good faith.

viii. Act in such a way as to support the work of the University and uphold its reputation.

Although the group has been set up for students who are on the autistic spectrum, there is no requirement for attendees to have a diagnosis of autism/Asperger syndrome. Any student who is seeking a safe space to make connections with other students will be welcomed to the group.

Who will be at the group?

The facilitator of the group is Julia Lumb. Julia works with the Disability & Learner Support team at the University of Salford, her role is to provide support to students on the autistic spectrum.

Peter Baimbridge, from SalfordAutism, will be attending some of the groups to provide information and support to those who need it.

Other members of the Disability & Learner Support Team, Wellbeing Team and ASKus team may occasionally attend to support the group or to answer questions that have been raised by the group.

Do I have to book?

No, you can just turn up.

Do I have to come every week?

No, you can come as often as you like or feel comfortable with.

Who can I contact to find out more?

If you would like more information or to make contact before the group, you can contact Julia on j.lumb1@salford.ac.uk.

Advice Sessions

- Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone to talk through challenges with, to signpost you to other services or to provide advice on topics related to your study or to your life at university.

Sessions will be available to book on Wednesday afternoons

Supporting Autistic Students Working Group

- A working group is being formed consisting of students on the spectrum and staff who are working with autistic students at the university. The group will meet on a monthly basis to review provision and be involved in the development of new provision or strategies.

If you would be interested in being part of this group, please contact Julia Lumb, j.lumb1@salford.ac.uk for more information.

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