Student Disability Service

Autism Mentor Support

Guidance on working with an Autism Mentor.

What are Autism Mentor sessions?

These one to one sessions are for individual students with a diagnosis of Autism to meet with a Mentor, usually fortnightly, for as long as is needed.  Sessions can last for up to one hour each time.  Sessions will take place during semester time only, and must be arranged through an Advisor at the Student Disability Service. 

The purpose of the sessions is to provide an opportunity for students to discuss social and communication issues relating to their university experience and to develop study skills.  The  Mentor can also work with the individual to promote an understanding of their diagnosis of Autism and discuss any impact on university life. This service is confidential. Anything discussed in these sessions will be restricted to the student, the Mentor, the Student Disability Service and relevant people from the support team at ‘Scottish Autism’.  The Mentor will produce a short report of what is covered in the sessions which is kept in your student file.

Initial Recommendations/Autism Mentor Matching

You may have a number of hours of ‘Specialist Mentor – Autsim’ support recommended by an Advisor, or Needs Assessor, during your Needs Assessment for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).  (This specialist support is NOT subject-specific support – please check with your Advisor for clarification of this).

Due to demand, most students are offered fortnightly appointments, although some weekly sessions are possible. It is recognised that all students are different and some will need fewer hours, while others will continue to meet with a Mentor for longer, due to the ever-changing challenges faced in each consecutive academic year. Funding is usually provided by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Student Finance England (SFE). You do not need to get involved in the payment of mentors unless you opt to use an external mentor.

When you have your funding in place and have received notification from your funding body, you can be matched with an Asperger Mentor.  You should contact your Advisor and request this support, as this will not be arranged otherwise.  Your name will be added to a list, with details of which of the days and times are suitable to you

Initial Meeting with the Autism Mentor

Arrangements for mentoring and the choice of what is covered in sessions will be jointly negotiated between you and the Mentor.  You are expected to:

  • take responsibility for your own learning
  • help the Mentor to identify areas that are causing you difficulty at university and/or  situations you are finding challenging so that you can work on developing coping strategies

These sessions are not about course-specific work but will focus on the development of study skills and communication strategies.

Support may include:
  • Support with ways to settle into your new life at university
  • Strategies for independent living arrangements
  • Monitoring stress and anxiety
  • Developing strategies for interacting with fellow students and, if desired, strategies for developing and maintaining friendships
  • Advice on general health and wellbeing
  • Discussion of questions relating to disclosure and confidentiality
  • Developing strategies to cope with changes to routines and new situations
  • Developing strategies to manage academic workload, setting realistic and achievable goals
  • Developing independent study techniques
  • Reviewing academic feedback, developing understanding and implementing changes in future work
  • Preparation for exams, including revision planning and managing stress
  • Developing strategies to plan and organise your time