Overcoming the challenges of studying with autism

At the end of national autism week, it is clear that studying with autism can be a hassle. That’s why Erasmus University offers students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) extra facilities to help them complete their education successfully. In addition, the student support department at the Education and Student Affairs unit may refer them to external facilities, such as specialized Stumass houses, which provide guidance to manage daily life.

Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates – recent history tells us they were revolutionary geniuses. And yet all struggled with features many would diagnose as autism spectrum disorders. These days, many companies recognize that ‘autism’ is not always just a handicap, but also allows some people to flourish at a specific talent - given the right circumstances. Late 2013, the German software company SAP set out a vacancy for 500 high level technological positions. To qualify, applicants were required to have some form of autism.

Get the facilities you need

Living with ASD is not always easy. Many students with autism struggle with planning, or with the many social events that are part and parcel of university life. Help, however, is available. If you are a student with ASD, inform your study advisor early on. That way he or she can help you get the facilities you need. Study advisers may, for example, offer extra guidance with your study path, or refer you to external professionals who can help you get the right type of assistance. Some of these extra facilities have to be approved by your exam committee beforehand, so make sure you let them know before you seek assistance.

More information

To get more data on how to facilitate life for students with a functional impairment, the university invites those involved to join a student panel. Care to participate, for instance during a Slack Chat? Send an email to smf@eur.nl. You’re welcome to use the same email address if you have any questions.