Supporting Autistic Tertiary Learners
Altogether Autism was approached by the Tertiary Education Commission / Te Amorangi Mātauaranga Matua (TEC) who had identified a gap in information for tertiary educators and staff around best practice to support their autistic learners. They contracted Altogether Autism to consult, research and design a set of guides to assist staff at tertiary education organisations to understand what autistic learners need from them to support them in their educational journey.
These guides are organised around six main topics, based on common themes that emerged from the consultation process. The guides are informed by lived experience, published research and educational best practices.
Altogether Autism consulted with three key groups:
- Autistic learners with experience of tertiary education
- The family/whānau of autistic learners with experience of tertiary education
- Tertiary educators and support staff
Overall, autistic learners and the family/whānau of autistic learners felt the most important areas that required more support and understanding were around communication needs, executive functioning needs and self-advocacy. Family/whānau also commented strongly on the difficulties in finding and accessing support, and the lack of understanding and knowledge for anxiety and mental health issues.
The guides offer information and strategies under six themes:
- Executive Function
- Sensory Experiences
- Mental Health
- Social Interactions
Ten top tips are provided for quick reference, and autistic learners talk about their learning experiences.
I whakapā atu te Tertiary Education Commission / Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua (TEC) ki Altogether Autism, nā te mea kua kite rātou i tētahi āputa i ngā mōhiohio mō ngā kaiako mātauranga matua e pā ana ki ngā tikanga pai rawa hei tautoko i ngā ākonga whaitakiwātanga. Ka tuku kirimana rātou ki Altogether Autism mō ngā kōrero tohutohu, te rangahau me te whakahoahoa i tētahi huinga puka tohutohu (Aratohu) hei āwhina i ngā kaimahi whakaako kei ngā rōpū mātauranga matua ki te mārama me pēhea te tautoko i ngā ākonga whaitakiwātanga i ō rātou whai i te mātauranga.
We have identified ten top tips to help lecturers and tutors better support their autistic learners. These tips cut across the themes: for example, access to lecture recordings helps learners who cannot attend class on campus due to anxiety or sensory difficulties, and also makes the material more accessible for learners who struggle with note taking due to executive function difficulties. Read Top Tips.
Kua tautohu mātou i ētahi tino whakamōhio tekau hei āwhina i ngā kaikauhau me ngā kaiwhakaako ki te tautoko i ā rātou ākonga whaitakiwātanga. Ka whiti ēnei whakamōhio i te whānuitanga o ngā kaupapa: hei tauira, te āheinga o ngā hopunga kauhau ki te āwhina i ngā ākonga kāore e taea te tae ā-tinana ki te akomanga nā te manawapā, ngā taumahatanga tairongo rānei, kia māmā ake ai hoki ngā kauhau mō ngā ākonga he uaua ki a rātou te tuhi kupu tīpoka nā te taumaha o te whakahaere whaiaro. Ngā Tino Whakamōhio.
All images in these guides are stock images with actors, unless otherwise noted.
Autistic Tertiary Learner Experiences
As adults, tertiary students should be trusted to make decisions for themselves about how they learn best. Rachael Wiltshire, Autistic Advisor.