Dublin City University (DCU) has become the world’s first autism friendly university through a collaboration between DCU, AsIAm and Specialisterne Ireland (a specialist consultancy that recruits and supports people with Autism).
DCU’s designation as Autism Friendly marks the conclusion of an 18-month research project, led by Dr Mary Rose along with AsIAm and Specialisterne Ireland.
Following the research study, AsIAm worked closely with DCU to develop a series of eight principles that underpin the university’s purpose for its autistic students (which you can read below).
A full-time Autism Friendly University Co-ordinator was appointed in DCU to drive the project over the next three years. The autism friendly coordinator will implement and drive the principles, through 43 actions that are applicable to DCU, their students, staff and the campus as a whole.
Is your University interested in becoming an AsIAm Accredited Autism Friendly university?
Universities which attain AsIAm Autism-Friendly Status are understanding of the needs of Autistic students, open to making adaptations to be more accessible and have a positive, celebratory culture towards Autism. These Universities will not only ensure autistic students can thrive while studying but also serve as a springboard to employment opportunities after study.
Principles of an Autism-Friendly University
- Encourage and enable autistic students to transition and participate in university programmes.
- Support and build capacity to equip autistic students to meet the academic challenges of everyday university life.
- Support and build capacity to equip autistic students to meet the social challenges of everyday university life.
- Seek to establish an autism-friendly operational environment.
- Seek to combat the stigma around autism and recognise the diverse experiences of those with the condition.
- Develop understanding and relevant knowledge and skills within the university community.
- Establish channels so that autistic students can have a voice in various aspects of university life.
- Increase the employability of autistic graduates through a range of initiatives that will develop their soft-skills to support their transition beyond university.
This project was approved by the Government of Ireland with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund.