Types of support from The Disability & Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS)

This section provides examples of the kinds of support that autistic students might access through DDSS.


DDSS puts in place specifically tailored academic support, following a discussion with you about your individual requirements.


How could this affect me?

Once you’ve had contact with DDSS we can start to discuss your individual support needs, including any educational support you’ve previously had in place.  Your Disability Adviser will identify types of academic support and you will be able to make a decision about the support that you will access.  Decisions about support that would work for you will be made between you and your adviser.


These are some examples of the types of support that are available at university.

Support before you start your course

  • Before you begin your course it might be recommended that you have some support to help you with the transition to university.  Orientation support is put in place by DDSS and is aimed at helping students to get used to the University environment and finding their way around it.  Orientation support is usually provided by a Postgraduate student (not necessarily from your department) and they will show you around the key places in university at a time when the university should be less crowded, before all the other students have arrived.  If you acess this support, the number of sessions will be agreed between you and your Disability Adviser.


  • Orientation Week is organised and run by Student Support Services. It occurs the week before Intro Week in September and provides the opportunity to start settling into University life and becoming more familiar with Sheffield and the University before the rest of the students arrive.  It offers a range of events and activities and opportunities to find out about some of the University’s key services.  You choose what events and activities you go to – nothing is compulsory.

It aims to offer

  • Help with finding your way around
  • Information sessions
  • Activities to help you meet people
  • Advice and support drop-in sessions
  • Sports Activities
  • Social events
  • Quieter events

You decide how many days you attend.  Registration is free but there is a fee for staying in University accommodation.  You can stay for 2, 3, 4 or 5 nights.  If you stay in University accommodation during Orientation week, you can then move into your permanent University accommodation on the Friday (a day earlier than most new students).

For any further questions, please email orientation@sheffield.ac.uk


Support to register with the University

All new students have to officially register with the University.  Registration happens during Intro week. The registration process can take a few hours and generally involves large crowds and a considerable amount of both moving around and queuing.  If this kind of situation is likely to cause you difficulties, please contact DDSS so that we can arrange an alternative way for you to register.  In your email, please provide a brief outline of why attending the standard registration event is likely to be problematic for you.  You will then be contacted by the Registration Team before Intro week with an appointment time for you to register at an alternative location.


Support with accessing taught sessions

  • Copies of lecture notes and handouts in advance and/or in alternative formats.
  • Support workers (such as note-takers) to ensure that students have an accurate record of what is covered in lectures.  Study skills support to develop note taking skills.
  • The loan of digital recorders to record sessions, although most departments now record lectures and you can access these recordings on MOLE.
  • Support worker assistance in practical sessions (e.g. in labs) to ensure that students can work effectively and safely.


Support with managing your workload

  • 1:1 support aimed at developing students’ study skills.
  • 1:1 mentor support sessions aimed at helping students to develop their organisational skills, manage their workload (through timetable planning) and the demands of University generally and maintain their focus on academic progress.  Support to communicate with your academic department, such as support to draft emails to your tutors.  Signposting to other support services within University.
  • The provision of computing equipment/specialist assistive equipment and software to enable independent learning. You might be recommended your own equipment through DSA but some of it is also available within university.
  • Ensuring that relevant information about students’ disabilities and support requirements are shared with staff via the Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) in their academic departments to help tutors to provide appropriate support.  The information is usually shared in the form of a Learning Support Plan which will be written by your Disability Adviser with your input.
  • Stickers for disabled students to put onto pieces of assessed written work to inform markers that they have difficulties with written communication.
  • Arranging alternative methods of assessment for students where the standard method of assessment used may disadvantage them.


Support with exams

Examples of types of exam support includes extra time, the use of a computer, rest breaks, permission for students to sit their exams in a venue with fewer other candidates, or on their own. Modification of the language used in exam questions might also be considered if this is relevant to your needs.


Support with accessing the campus


Social group for autistic students

Any student who identifies as being on the autistic spectrum is welcome to attend the University’s Social Group for autistic students.


Fieldwork, placements and years abroad

Ensuring that departments take into account students’ specific support requirements when allocating placements, arranging field trips and organising years abroad.