GCU recognises that making the transition from school or college to university can be stressful and worrying for all applicants. We also recognise the additional challenges and anxieties that may be experienced by applicants on the autism spectrum who are coming to university for the first time.
The Disability Team, in partnership with the National Autistic Society (Scotland), delivers a Summer Transition Programme for applicants with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum (or Aspergers syndrome).
This programme aims to:
- provide a smoother transition to incoming students from school or FE;
- to improve take up of offers of places on courses;
- to assist with assessment of needs prior to the start of the academic session, and to improve retention among students on the autism spectrum.
An invitation to the Summer Transition Programme is extended to all applicants who have disclosed a diagnosis (or who have identified with a diagnosis) on the autism spectrum. The programme is also promoted by NAS to existing clients with an offer of a place to study at GCU.
The programme is delivered in three sessions (two half days and one full day) in the lead up to the start of the academic year. Each of the sessions is delivered as an informal ‘seminar’, in a small group setting. Topics covered include:
- Changes/Differences moving between school or college and university
- Time management
- Identifying key contacts and sources of support at university
- Self advocacy/being assertive
- Disclosing your disability
- Stress and Relaxation
The programme also incorporates orientation and critically – a series of opportunities for applicants to meet and share concerns with other applicants on the programme. Throughout the programme there are opportunities to raise additional questions or concerns and, as the programme establishes ongoing communication between the applicant and the Disability Team from the start of the summer break, it also enables the participants to seek advice on managing all the paperwork and procedures associated with applying to University/SAAS/moving away from home etc.
All queries regarding the Summer Transition Programme for students on the autism spectrum should be directed to the Disability Team.