Overview of autism

Around one in 100 people have autism. It is often found alongside SpLDs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. Autism typically involves challenges with:  

  • social interaction and communication 
  • restricted and repetitive interests 
  • sensory overload 
  • anxiety. 

There are also many positives associated with autism, including: 

  • deep focus and attention to detail 
  • good analytical skills and ability to spot patterns 
  • creative, innovative thinking 
  • integrity, determination and tolerance. 

Common challenges faced by students with autism

  • Learning information which is not explicitly taught.  
  • Transferring skills and knowledge from one situation to another.  
  • Picking up unwritten social rules when interacting with tutors and peers. 
  • Difficulty interpreting ambiguous and open assignment briefs correctly. 
  • Uncertainty about how to plan studies or how long to spend on a given task. 
  • The social skills necessary for group work, such as turn taking and negotiation.  
  • Last minute changes to schedules or plans.  
  • Difficulty tolerating background noise, lighting, crowding and other sensory elements.  

Find out more

Support group

'The Social Connection' is a student-led Instagram community for neuro-diverse, shy or just socially-anxious Falmouth and Exeter students who want to connect with others.

Diagnostic information and online screener

Autism can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.

See the NHS page on ‘Signs of autism in adults’ and the National Autistic Society’s ‘Diagnostic assessment – a guide for adults who think they might be autistic.’

Clinical Partners offer a free quick 30-question online screening test with automatic scoring.

National Autistic Society logo.