SYA? attendee feedback & creative work

Here you can find out what our present and past attendees think of our So, You’re Autistic? support programme, as well as a gallery of their appliques – positive words or phrases students came up with about them being autistic, sewn on to fabric.

The group has given me so much more confidence to be myself and understand how things like stimming can decrease my anxiety. I have had the best few weeks that I’ve had in years at uni. My mood has improved and my motivation for life has been renewed. I realised how isolated and masked I was before, now that I am less lonely and more free to be me. – undiagnosed, on waiting list, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

Autumn term 2018

What do you enjoy and get out of SYA?/why do you continue to go?

I was able to be myself without people judging me and trying to change my behaviour and attitude. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

I enjoy being able to be [weird]. Hearing other people’s opinions and experiences on being autistic and also being able to talk about anything that bothers me and [accepted]. I enjoy it so I continue to go. – undiagnosed, on waiting list, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

Quite a relaxing time. Gives me a routine for my week. Gets me out the house – positive knowing getting out the house. Helping me discover more about what autism means to me. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2018

Do you feel SYA? has helped you in any way? Can you describe in what way at all?

I was really anxious about attending university. Following the confirmation that I was autistic I had become isolated, by coming to SYA? I have regained my confidence. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

Given me a forum to properly discuss what’s affecting me, in addition to mentoring – more a round-table discussion. The space is available for me to talk, which is something I find difficult. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2018

What was your understanding of autism prior to attending SYA? Has this changed, and in what way if so?

I was delighted when I got my diagnosis but society’s view of autistic people caused me a huge amount of distress. SYA[?] gave me the language and skills to challenge people’s prejudices. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

How did you feel about the idea of being autistic prior to attending SYA? How do you currently feel about being autistic?

Undecided before. Knew it was there, could use it to understand how I was. Now, more forward in my mind – in the process of becoming more positive about myself. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2018

Do you have any additional comments for SYA?

This is what I feel about it now – [a lot] more positive, I feel awesome about being autistic now. – undiagnosed, on waiting list, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

The SYA[?] programme has been the most significant factor to me being able to attend university. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

1) I finally don’t feel alone. 2) I’ve finally felt like I could be myself somewhere. – undiagnosed, on waiting list, female autistic – Autumn term 2018

Spring term 2019

What do you enjoy and get out of SYA?/why do you continue to go?

Lovely social group which allows for discussions + exploration of autism in a safe + caring space. Annette + Chloe seem to really care which reassures me + helps me feel positive about my weeks with SYA? – diagnosed, female autistic – Spring term 2019

Do you feel SYA? has helped you in any way? Can you describe in what way at all?

Yes. Made me feel more comfortable with myself + showed me that i’m not alone in my “quirks”. – diagnosed, female autistic – Spring term 2019

What was your understanding of autism prior to attending SYA? Has this changed, and in what way if so?

I had a very narrow view of Autism (people I know + school education). I [now] can appreciate the many facets of Autism + am much more aware of the variety of “faces” who are Autistic. Very informative. – diagnosed, female autistic – Spring term 2019

How did you feel about the idea of being autistic prior to attending SYA? How do you currently feel about being autistic?

Then: Scared. Daunted. Disheartened
Now: Fine, Content, Happier with myself
diagnosed, female autistic – Spring term 2019

Do you have any additional comments for SYA?

Thank you very much. These sessions helped more than I can convey. I’ll take what I’ve learned with me (hopefully) for the rest of my life. – diagnosed, female autistic – Spring term 2019


The majority of our attendees of our SYA? programme also state that the programme is “The most significant factor” or “An important factor” that:

  • helped them stay in university
  • helped them do better at their academic work
  • helped improve their overall experience of university
  • helped them develop skills (such as managing difficult feelings or increased confidence) that would be useful for (e.g.) getting a job in future
  • helped improve their self-esteem
  • helped them to feel more positive about the future

The following slide show exhibits student appliques – positive words or phrases students came up with about them being autistic, sewn on to fabric.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Autumn term 2019

What do you enjoy and get out of SYA?/why do you continue to go?

Every week of SYA has been absolutely fantastic. I enjoy learning more about autism and how it affects me (and others) it helped explain a lot of previous life experiences from before my diagnosis and how my autism shaped the way that I experience the world. The sessions were made about autism, by autistic people and it was so refreshing to get material from people who know the subject matter but also truly live it and so really understand what they are talking about from their own experiences. I have previously had difficulties socialising with others but being able to socialise with other like-minded people has been a dream. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2019

Only place I’ve ever been able to go and have someone understand behaviours/feelings I have without a negative or dismissive response. – awaiting diagnosis, female autistic – Autumn term 2019

Do you feel SYA? has helped you in any way? Can you describe in what way at all?

Definitely. SYA has assisted me personally and academically. Learning from NTs [neurotypical’s] can only ever be theoretical so there is always that distance and doubt. I feel I have been largely misinformed by mainstream, autistic theory and, as a result of SYA I am better informed on the subject. Autism is not only an academic study for me; the information and guidance from SYA actually means I can live better and help my children to live better. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2019

SYA has provided me with something I enjoy and actively look forward to every single week. Some weeks I would have very little to enjoy or look forward to. It’s helped significantly in other areas as well included stress management through stimming has lead to me being generally calmer and able to cope much better. Before the session I had problems with picking my fingernails for the last 15 years. Haven’t picked my fingernails since that session. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2019

What was your understanding of autism prior to attending SYA? Has this changed, and in what way if so?

Retrospectively, I think I expected that there would be an element of teaching masking skills. Primarily because that is what so much autistic therapeutic practice is based on. And I think I even wanted, or thought I wanted, more performative social skills. But as a result of the course, I actually don’t want to improve on or even express my imitation of a NT [neurotypical].  – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn 2019

That we’re not as defective as people treat us! – awaiting diagnosis, female autistic – Autumn term 2019

How did you feel about the idea of being autistic prior to attending SYA? How do you currently feel about being autistic?

I have been diagnosed autistic since 2017, and whilst I haven’t felt particularly negatively about it, (I suspected for years) one issue was that when you look into autism the language is all very medical and often very negative, and it’s often talked about like a diagnosis of a disease, which doesn’t prompt much positive self-thought.
Being at the meetings and seeing other autistic people from an outside has shown me the amazing side of autism that I don’t really see anywhere else, not as some savant rain man / Sheldon Cooper characters but as the funny, unique wonderful individuals that we really are.  – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2019

Do you have any additional comments for SYA?

Thank you for running these sessions, I don’t know what exactly I expected them to be, but they have blown any possible expectations out of the water and have been a joy to attend. – diagnosed, male autistic – Autumn term 2019

Chloe and Annette are amazing.  – undiagnosed, female autistic – Autumn 2019

I would have liked the questionnaire to ask a couple more questions to rate the following;
1. to rate SYA compared to other kinds of support received by/offered to the individual,
2. response to specific future plans – roles/rooms/support SYA might expand to offer on campus

This is not a criticism of the questionnaire but an attempt to further reflect the excellent job that SYA does. I think it would collate simple positive feedback, because I didn’t get the chance to express support for these areas of SYA in the fixed questions. – diagnosed, female autistic – Autumn term 2019

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