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Young people and neurodiversity today

As the world continues to evolve and change, Neurodivergent students at university are increasing. Neurodiversity is the concept that neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are the result of natural variations in the human genome. With the growing awareness and acceptance of Neurodiversity, more autistic students are being accepted and graduating from university with degrees. In this article, we’ll explore why this is happening and the importance of Neurodiversity at university.

Increase in Diagnoses

The number of diagnoses of autism in Scotland is on the rise. According to figures released by the National Autistic Society in 2019, there has been a 76% increase since 2011. That to say, around 1 in every 65 children having been diagnosed with autism in Scotland.

In order to understand why this increase has taken place, it is important to look at the changing diagnostic criteria over the years. In 2013, Scotland implemented the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), which is an updated version of the previous ADOS. This change led to a more inclusive and accurate diagnosis process, as well as better recognition of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

As well as improved diagnostic criteria, it is also likely that increased awareness and understanding of autism has led to more people being willing to seek help and receive a diagnosis. The National Autistic Society’s campaign ‘Too Much Information’ has worked hard to raise awareness of autism, reduce stigma and create a more supportive society for those living with autism.

The increase in diagnoses of autism has many implications for individuals, families and wider society. It is clear that there needs to be more understanding, acceptance and support for neurodivergent people, as well as more resources available to help them lead fulfilling lives. This post will explore the challenges faced by autistic students, the potential benefits of neurodiversity programs, and the need for more support.

Differences of chances between Scotland and England

As the number of autistic people enrolled in higher education has increased, so too have the challenges they face. In the UK, England and Scotland differ greatly in terms of support available to autistic students.

In England, autistic students often struggle to access the same level of support as their non-autistic peers. There is often a lack of understanding from university staff and students about the nature of autism and its implications on learning. As a result, students may be excluded from social activities or have their attendance requirements relaxed due to their condition.

In Scotland, the situation is different. The Scottish Government’s Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) provides additional financial support for disabled students, including those with autism. This support can be used for things such as specialist tuition, assistive technology and mentors to help autistic students adjust to university life. Additionally, universities have been encouraged to provide specialist support staff and improved study areas specifically designed to meet the needs of autistic students.

Despite this extra support, there are still challenges that many autistic students face, such as difficulty with communication and social interaction. Additionally, some autistic students may struggle to adjust to changes in routine and environments that are unfamiliar or overcrowded. As a result, many autistic students struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues, which can further impede their ability to succeed academically.

While there has been progress in providing support for autistic students in England and Scotland, there is still more that can be done to ensure that these students have the best chance of success at university. It is important that universities continue to work to understand and accommodate the needs of autistic students so that they can make the most of their time at university and achieve their educational goals.


In recent years, universities have started to recognize the importance of embracing and supporting the neurodiverse community. Neurodiversity programs are becoming more popular as they recognize and accommodate the unique needs of students on the autism spectrum.

The primary benefit of these programs is that it provides an environment where autistic students feel safe and welcome. This can help reduce feelings of isolation and give them an opportunity to thrive. Neurodiversity programs also provide accommodations that allow autistic students to work at their own pace. Universities can adjust assignments to fit each individual learning style. This can be especially beneficial for those who have difficulty with executive functioning or have challenges with time management.

Neurodiversity programs also provide opportunities for self-advocacy and mentorship. Autistic students can learn how to navigate the college system. They can ask for help when needed, and build relationships with faculty members and peers. Furthermore, these programs create a sense of community for autistic students, helping them find their place in a university setting.

Finally, neurodiversity programs create an inclusive culture on campus. These programs create awareness around autism and help foster acceptance among students and faculty members alike. This increased understanding can lead to positive attitudes about autism. This can ultimately result in greater career opportunities for those on the spectrum.

All in all, neurodiversity programs provide an invaluable service to autistic students. These programs create an environment of support and inclusion. They also providing educational opportunities that can help individuals reach their goals.

Potential for success

Autistic students may face unique challenges in the university setting, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed. In fact, many autistic students are proving that success is possible and are achieving their degrees.

Autism can bring specific gifts, such as strong problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, and creative thinking. When these gifts are combined with the right support and resources, the potential for success is immense.

At universities like the University of South Florida in the USA, there is an increasing emphasis on programs that foster success for autistic students. They are creating supportive learning environments, providing accommodations, and offering assistance with transitioning into college life. This kind of assistance allows autistic students to take full advantage of their gifts and develop the skills they need to succeed.

In the UK, several universities, such as the University of Oxford, have taken steps to become even more accommodating for neurodiverse students. They have implemented mentorship and counselling programs, as well as specialized learning spaces designed for those with autism. These initiatives have made it easier for autistic students to access higher education, and to successfully complete their studies.

More and more employers are becoming aware of the benefits of hiring neurodiverse people. Autistic individuals often possess unique skills and perspectives that can be beneficial to a team. As employers become more open-minded and understanding, more opportunities will become available to autistic people who have earned their university degrees.

These programs and resources provide autistic students with the tools they need to not just survive at university, but thrive. With the right support and resources, autistic students have the potential to realize their academic dreams and succeed in their chosen fields.

It is only when a society is fully inclusive that it can truly thrive. Neurodiversity is an asset to any society that flourish on modernity and progress.

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