The event was designed by SWAI to complement existing Visit Days and Open Days, providing a more bespoke experience with information on academic life, daily living and social aspects of the University.
SWAI welcomed any first-year student with an autistic spectrum condition, including those in the process of diagnostic assessment. The team worked in partnership with various colleagues and services across campus to facilitate the event, including:
The Student Success Academy
The Student Accommodation Centre
Current students who engage with SWAI
A recent UCAS report revealed that autistic students are more likely to defer than their peers because they need support earlier on in their university journey. Events like HeadStart hope to provide this.
Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive with 100% saying they found the event beneficial and that it made them feel more prepared for starting their studies.
A parent of one of the attendees also explained that although their child was initially ‘terrified and feeling overwhelmed about university’, they left the event ‘buzzing with excitement’. They continued to say that as a result of the event they had made new friends who they attended Freshers’ Week events and felt secure knowing that the people they met on the day ‘would totally get it when they needed some time out or to do things a little differently.’
Disability Advisor, Hannah Iley said: “We were really pleased to welcome new students to campus and help them learn more about what to expect when they start at Loughborough. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to making the event such a success.”
Helen Shaw, Disability Access and Learning Manager added: “This type of transition event has long been on the service’s wish list, and so to see it finally come to fruition with such great feedback is fantastic.”