Further education / tertiary education options after school
Young autistic people considering post-school tertiary education, have equal opportunities to undertake further study as everyone else.
These can be:
- University courses leading to a degree
- TAFE courses for vocational subjects
- Diplomas and degrees at private colleges
- Short courses at TAFE, community colleges and other institutions
TAFE, universities and private colleges all provide some disability support services, however these can vary widely in what support they provide. Once you have decided what course you would like to study, consider your options and what supports you require with your study, then make an appointment to talk to the disability support units.
If you are an NDIS participant, there may be options for funding support whilst studying. This is something to discuss with your LAC (local area coordinator) when working on your goals.
Everyone has different support needs while studying. Some people may need adjustments to their academic workloads or accommodations with assessments and exams. Others may need support to achieve their study goals. Some people may need support with planning their social or everyday life tasks to assist them on their education journey and to create a healthy life/study balance. Developing good self-awareness and understanding of your own individual strengths and challenges is a good place to start, and will help you self-advocate your support needs.
Finding A Course
If you are not sure where to start when it comes to considering further education options, then the My Skills website and My Future website is a good place to start. Funded by the Australian government, these are comprehensive websites that can show you a variety of courses and extensive career advice.
TAFE courses are flexible, allowing full-time or part-time study, many with online options offered. Many of the subjects at TAFE can relate directly to a job.
TAFEs have teacher/consultants for students with disabilities and are available to help students right from the time they start enquiring about courses.
Each state and territory manage TAFE separately from each other. Here is one example of Disability Support Services offered by TAFE NSW.
There are many TAFE courses that can be studied online. As an example here is the TAFE NSW option: Open Training and Education Network (OTEN).
If you are going to university, you might decide that you do not wish to disclose your disability. This is entirely your choice. You can choose to study with no support, then ask for assistance if you need it. Likewise, you might start your university life with supports in place and then require them less as time passes.
If you wish to disclose, then it is wise to get in touch with each university’s disability service. Getting to know the staff and asking their advice is a crucial part of your decision-making.
The Getting Ready For Uni website, created by the National Disability Coordination Officer program is an excellent resource. On it you will find information about applying to university, preparing for your first term and ongoing support options.