Why university is the time to embrace your autism diagnosis
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Students with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome who begin university this autumn should reveal their diagnosis in order to be better supported by professional services and their peers, according to new research conducted at the University of Bath. For many young people with these conditions, university is a brand new setting, an enclosed place to start afresh; to make new friends, to focus on a new area of study, and to impress expecting tutors. Indeed, the latest research from psychologists at Bath, published in the journal Autism, supports the presupposition that universities are more open and accepting than other environments. Yet academics and institutions focused on this issue have worried that the chance to reinvent one’s self in a new environment may actually lead students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), encompassing both Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, to not disclose their conditions, perhaps as a result of negative experiences at a younger age and within wider society. The new research reveals that in situations where a student demonstrated an unusual behaviour to participants, both when they were aware of their diagnosis and not, their peers are much more likely to respond in a positive, constructive fashion when they were made aware of the student’s condition.
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