Students with ASD may experience communication difficulties such as:

  • not wanting to communicate concerns to staff
  • being unable to demonstrate knowledge in the particular form of assessment required by teaching staff
  • preferring not to participate in group discussions and not to undertake group assignments due to communication challenges and high levels of anxiety.

Here are some situations that parents and tertiary students have faced.

Parent: Last year, he was doing an assignment and I said 'How's it going?'  He said 'Oh, I've done question one, two and six'. I said 'Can you ask about this' and he said 'Oh well, you actually do it in a group but I'm doing it all on my own'. I said 'Well, no wonder you're finding it hard'. I said 'Have you explained to the lecturer that you find it hard to get into group?' He said 'No, I didn't think I needed to say that.'

Parent: My daughter often come [sic] to me recently and said that in particular with group activities or work requirements that have to be done, she gets extremely angry and upset and stressed when other students don’t contact her with work that has to be done, promptly.

Student: I don’t ask for help because it's embarrassing and I don’t want look like an idiot in front of everyone.

Student 1: I mean, I can write but when it comes to putting a sentence down, I find it difficult to be able to put words onto paper and an answer that they would probably find acceptable. Student 2: I have a similar problem, I can’t articulate my thoughts very well. I mean I can’t write them down, I can speak it and talk about it in very very knowledgeable [way]. I just can’t write about it.

Student: I've been known to send several emails to the same person or group of people in the one day. Even [when] someone in the group was sick initially I kept them in contact because I thought it was polite to keep them in the loop. I soon realised that the other members said 'best to keep us in the loop and just send the minutes to the sick student at this stage'.