Study with autistic spectrum disorder

The University of South Australia (UniSA) has many successful students with Asperger Syndrome studying across a range of subject areas. For many students negotiating an Access Plan with the Access and Inclusion Service can make an important contribution to their success.

Students are encouraged to contact an Access and Inclusion Adviser on their campus to discuss services and negotiate an Access Plan where required.

Access and Inclusion Services

Access and Inclusion Advisers can develop an Access Plan with you and arrange any agreed services.

Getting Started

Students who have Asperger's syndrome often find the first few weeks settling into University life a challenging time. There are new people to meet, new routines to establish and a lot of new things happening at once. Having some extra support through this period can be really important. A family member or friend may help by checking out the campus and class rooms with you before you start, and helping draft a personal study and class timetable in your student diary. Alternatively, some students have a student support worker arranged through the Access and Inclusion Service to help during this period. Check out New Students website for more useful strategies for new students.

Talking with academic staff

Sometimes it is important to meet with your lecturers to discuss your individual needs. The ADCET - Disclosure website has information about whether, when and how to discuss your disability with staff. An Access and Inclusion Adviser can develop an Access Plan for you, which will provide information to assist you with your discussion and negotiation with academic staff.

Plan your meeting with academic staff by:

  • Deciding if you want to bring someone to the meeting to support you
  • Making a time to meet with them
  • Thinking about what you want to achieve
  • Taking your Access Plan with you.

It is a good idea to make a time to meet with the lecturer away from the classroom. Think about what you need them to understand before you meet. Issues commonly discussed in a meeting with staff include:

  • Recording lectures: Most lecturers agree to students tape-recording lectures, but students need to seek permission first
  • Due dates for assessment tasks: You may need to negotiate alternative due dates for some tasks
  • Access to teaching material before the beginning of study period.

Check out the Negotiating Extension web page for more tips on talking with academic staff about study adjustments.

Services Available

Some services that may support students with Asperger syndrome are listed below. A full summary of services available for students with disabilities is available on the Services for Current Students web page.


You may be able to borrow a recorder for lectures and tutorials. You should discuss your equipment requirements with an Access and Inclusion Adviser at the Student Engagement Unit on your campus.

Multi Access Suite

Multi access suites (MAS) have been established in all metropolitan libraries and can provide a quiet place on campus.


The university can make alternative exam arrangements for students with Asperger syndrome. Alternatives may include sitting exams in an alternative, less crowded venue and provision of extra time. Alternative exam arrangements can be negotiated with the Access and Inclusion Service and agreed adjustments will be indicated in your Access Plan and will be based on information provided in an Educational Psychologist's report.

Study Strategies

Finding out strategies which work for you is an important part of being a successful student. Some useful study strategies include:


  • It is a good idea to look carefully at the Course Outline and take note of the Assessment Details within the course booklet. The Assessment Details can help you to identify:
    • What percentage of your grade will come from each assessment
    • The due date for the assignment
    • The length/expectation of the assessment
  • It is also a good idea to take note of any Assessment Feedback information that is provided in your Course Information booklet This assessment details and assessment feedback information can help you to identify:
    • How many marks each section of the assessment is worth
    • The graduate qualities being assessed in the assessment
  • Remember to use the percentage of the grade each assessment is worth to determine how long it should take. You would not usually need to spend as much time on an assessment that is worth 15% as an assessment that is worth 40%
  • You may wish to use mind mapping strategies to help you to organise your thoughts and information for an assignment. You can find useful mind mapping software at: My Study Bar


  • As soon as you have your Course Outline it is a good idea to start putting the important dates for your assessments onto a study planner
    • Dates for assignments
    • Any commitments or social activities outside of uni. Remember it is important to maintain a good uni/life balance
  • Use a diary or study planner. Set realistic goals and structure your time so that you begin work on assignments well before the due dates. Make sure to plan breaks in your study time and during your week. Study planners are a great way to keep organised
  • Try to complete your required reading before lectures. At least familiarise yourself with the content of the readings
  • Set dates on your year planner for sections of your assessment tasks.

Stress Management

  • Be aware of your stress factors and early warning signs and find out where you can go to take a break e.g. Multi Access Suite
  • Make an appointment with a Counsellor if you are finding it difficult to manage your stress
  • Practise relaxation techniques
  • Develop and practise social skills and ways to manage personal interactions.

Useful links