Develop strategies that work for you

Develop strategies that work for you

Everyone takes time to settle into college or university. Keep calm, and find out what works best for you!

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Starting college or university is meant to be exciting – everything’s new, different, a lot more adult.

And if you have Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD or Tourette’s, everything can be a lot more challenging.

It’s important to develop your own strategies for working, socialising and managing everyday life – ones that work for you. Here are things other people have found helpful in planning for the first few weeks at college or university, but remember everyone is different. If you don’t get it right first time, don’t worry! Just try a different approach. And don’t be afraid to ask your course supervisor for help, or the student welfare staff – or other students, if you think they might have some good suggestions.

Students with Asperger’s Syndrome or autism

  • Use planners, prompts and reminders to help prioritise and organise tasks
  • Try to develop a helpful routine that includes time for work, relaxation and tasks like cooking or cleaning
  • Try to maintain healthy patterns of eating and sleeping
  • Tell someone if you’re finding it hard to do something because you’re feeling anxious or sad – this could be your mentor, or your course supervisor
  • If there’s a group in college for people with Asperger’s, try it – it can be a good way to find out information about college life, or get new ideas for making life a bit easier

Students with ADHD

  • Try and identify your own strengths and weaknesses and decide if you need to make changes in the way you approach your work
  • Maintain a strict balance between work and social life
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially sleeping/eating/responsible alcohol or drug use
  • Allow extra time to consider options before making decisions
  • Identify others with the same challenges and support each other
  • Record lectures and tutorials to listen again if necessary

Students with Tourette’s Syndrome

  • Consider whether to disclose your TS to lecturers/tutors
  • Think about accommodation: for example, your response to noise or sharing with housemates
  • If you’ll need extra time for assignments or exams, let your supervisor know
  • Record lectures and tutorials if it’s difficult to concentrate while suppressing tics
  • Consider joining a peer support group – or start one!

Useful information

  • Tourettes Action has a factsheet Guidance for people with TS going to university, available to download here.
  • AADD-UK has information about university and college issues for people with ADHD here.
  • The National Autistic Society has a wealth of information on starting college or university here while Scottish Autism has information on supporting the transition from school to university here.