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LAST REVIEWED 26 September 2023

My experience as an autistic student at university

In this guest blog, recent London South Bank University (LSBU) graduate Michael draws on his own experience to provide advice for other students with autism.

Headshot of Michael Arhin-Acquaah, LSBU third year student

Michael Arhin Acquaah

London South Bank University Graduate

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While completing my final piece of coursework for a BSc in Psychology, I began to reflect on my experience as an autistic university student.  

Locating advice, support and reliable signposting services was sporadic and difficult. I also struggled for many years without an autism diagnosis, which made accessing certain support services impossible. There wasn’t really a cohesive master list or centralised area of information and this made it hard for me to know what to do or where to go for help. 

Luckily, I have a marvellous sister who’d already completed an undergraduate degree and who provided some guidance. But many of my neurodivergent classmates and peers weren’t so fortunate. If you don’t know the right people, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

So, I asked the Good Thinking team if I could write a blog about my experience at London South Bank University that includes all the useful information and tips I have gathered over the past three years. I also spoke to my autistic peers to get a better idea of what I should include.

Advice and tips from my own experiences

For the autistic students starting or continuing their higher education in 2023/24, I hope the advice in this blog helps you to be the best you can be: 

Message of encouragement

I will never regret pursuing an undergraduate degree as an autistic person. Learning how to live independently, studying in a structured educational environment and developing my understanding of the topics I have been interested in throughout my life was an enriching experience. 

I loved my time at university and have made friends and developed in ways I will never forget. I benefitted most from being as open as I could be to the services that could support me. The support I managed to set up before I even started at LSBU ensured that I hit the ground running.

To all autistic readers of this blog, I am so proud of you for considering the pursuit of higher education. Very few of us are enrolled in university – and even lower numbers of us complete our degrees – but I think that knowing what support is there can help us make sure our universities understand what we need. I believe in all of us and in our ability to achieve in an environment that is prepared to support us.

Useful Good Thinking resources:

Student Mental Health Hub

Check out Good Thinking's full range of mental wellbeing resources, tips and tools to help you to stay mentally healthy and make the most of your student experience.

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Student studying with laptop and books.png

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