Beyond the books: case study of a collaborative and holistic support model for university students with Asperger syndrome

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article reflects on the experience of one UK higher education institution in its efforts to develop more effective support mechanisms for the growing numbers of students with Asperger syndrome and autism, in collaboration with a specialist support organisation. Case studies are used to illustrate the complex needs of this group of students. The authors found that this collaborative model was useful in enabling a very stretched student support service to offer an individualised and holistic model of support, in keeping with the needs associated with Asperger syndrome and autism. It is proposed that the model described here, although not without its own limitations, follows the best practice guidance laid down by the UK Disability Discrimination Act, and could be beneficial to students with other disabilities. Of particular note is the need for student support services to view pastoral, non-academic support as being central to the support that they offer.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Early online date1 Jan 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009