People with ASD have a tendency to interpret literally what another person says, affecting the way students interpret instructions given out by staff. This may lead to misunderstandings which have a negative impact on the student-staff relationships, peer relationships and student learning outcomes.

Here are some examples of situations which staff have encountered when teaching tertiary students with an ASD.

Staff: The student was always anxious, always very literal. I asked him to dictate the work to me and he was horrified and said 'I would never presume to dictate to you'.

Staff: One time we were teaching how to plant seedlings. I told the student what to do but I hadn’t told him then to move on, so all he was doing was planting it, pulling it out, making a hole, planting again.

Staff: What is probably now a celebrated case of a student having completed assignment work but not handing it in and failing the course merely because the question was 'Have you done your assignment?' not 'Can you hand your assignment to me?'