Durham University holds an Early Arrival Programme for autistic students. This is an established programme aimed at providing an opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with the university ahead of the main induction week. The start of university can be daunting for young people at the best of times and can be even more challenging for individuals with autism. The Early Arrival Programme provides an opportunity to settle into university life ahead of the main body of students returning. It is by no means compulsory and whether you attend is your choice. However, feedback has highlighted that many students have found it helpful, so it may be something you wish to consider.
The programme includes:
- Arriving early ahead of the wider Induction Week
- Having the opportunity to stay in college accommodation and settle in when the environment is quieter
- The opportunity to meet with key college support staff and other students in your college that are on the programme
- An opportunity to find out more about other key support services
- An opportunity to get to know Durham as a city and a talk from the Student Union
- An opportunity to meet with a Disability Adviser from Disability Support and complete your Disability Support Plan (DSP)
As highlighted above, the programme offers the opportunity to arrive early to Durham ahead of the main Induction Week. Typically this involves arriving on the Thursday directly before term starts and you get the opportunity to move into college and settle into your room. As part of this you will also have the opportunity to meet your college support team. Each college has a staff led student support team with whom you can confidentially discuss any concerns or questions you may have. It’s also an opportunity to meet with other students in your college on the Early Arrival Programme. Many students find getting to know some familiar faces in this period really useful, as you will know some people ahead of college getting busy.
Within the Early Arrival Programme you will have the opportunity to find out more information about other support services, such as the counselling services, the careers service and student financial support. At Disability Support we often work closely with these teams and having an opportunity to find out what they can offer, from an early stage, can be useful in the longrun. This may be either through an information session from each service or a private appointment if you prefer to talk about your personal circumstances.
The Early Arrival Programme also provides you with an opportunity to explore Durham when the campus is much quieter. Students often find it useful to explore the usual route you would take from college to department and other key buildings such as the student union or library. Or, perhaps just as importantly, a chance to find out where the shops, restaurants and coffee shops are! Having the chance to explore when things are much quieter might just make the transition into Durham a little easier.
Additional information and links
It was refreshing to meet other people with autism, because as diverse of a condition it is, there were many with whom I could relate with, and it certainly put me at ease before freshers properly began. In terms of the departmental help on the programme, there was lots of very helpful information that I was told about. Whether it was how to access help or who to contact in a particular situation, no stone was left unturned. When the program finished, I came out feeling comfortable with everything and confident about starting.” Current undergraduate student
If you are due to start your academic studies in the next academic year and haven’t received information about the Early Arrival Programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (please note booking forms are usually sent out in June/July)