Supports for Students

Pre-Entry Supports to Students with Aspergers Syndrome

Get Ready for the UCC Experience

This two day workshop was organised by the Disability Support Service in conjunction with Aspect, Cork Association for Autism. The event was  attended by current second level students who had a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Most of the students were attending second level schools in either Cork City or County. The workshop was attended by two female students and twelve male students, all of whom were participating in the leaving certificate cycle.

The Programme covered a range of themes such as study skills, organisational skills, Assistive technologies and visits to University sports complex, lecture theatres and other campus facilities. An input was also given by a current final year student who has himself a diagnosis of AS.  Many parents also attended the final workshop session which included a presentation on the DARE application process. 

For more information on the programme plesae see Get Ready for the UCC Experience

Supports for UCC Students with Asperger Syndrome


The DSS currently supports over 60 students who have a primary diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. These students depending on the outcome of an assessment of needs may avail of a range of educational, technological or personal supports o better manage their studies in UCC. The students that also register with Aspect can avail of the support of a key worker who assists students on an individual basis to better manage the social dynamic of making a good transition to University and ultimately to work and employment.

The Disability Support Service offers the following supports to students with Asperger Syndrome:


Specialist Orientation Programme:

This introduction to University life takes place the last week of August. Students and their parents can attend this one day programme where the staff of the DSS give an overview of the support available on campus to support incoming students with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Key workers from Aspect also input into the programme outlining the social and personal supports available in UCC for students who register with DSS. A current student with AS also speaks about their college experience and gives an account of the clubs and activities that may be of interest to entrants. This orientation gives students a first-hand experience of what the transition to University may entail and the programme provides each student with contact details of support staff who will be there to assist their transition to higher education.


Educational and Technological Supports:


Each student gets an opportunity to meet a Disability Advisor for a needs assessment to identify what supports can help their participation and integration into university life.


Educational Supports can include some or all of the following:

  • Liaison with lecturers in academic departments regarding the individual needs of AS students
  • Lecture capturing using Panopto or another recording devise
  • Subject-specific tuition
  • Alternative examination arrangements
  • Study Skills from a specialist AS tutor


Technological Supports

  • A loan of IT equipment
  • Training in specialist software or identification of apps that can assist AS students


Occupational Therapy Support Programme

  • All AS students can avail of one to one, group or workshops to enhance their executive functioning skills. These programmes may include the following:
  • Training in organisational and self-management skills
  • Time management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Stress management skills


Employability Skills Programme for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome

The Employability Skills Programme for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome is a collaboration between the UCC Disability Support Service and Aspect, which is a support organisation for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome based in Cork. One of the greatest challenges for any student with a disability is the transition to employment and to do this successfully is a particular challenge for the AS student. The programme was prompted by the growing number of AS students who are now attending college. In UCC there were only 7 AS students registered with the DSS in 2012/13. This figure has grown to 55 students who are now attending UCC and it is projected that this number will continue to grow in the coming years. The successful transition of these students to employment, therefore, is a hugely important issue to address going forward.

Previous graduate recruitment surveys, including a survey undertaken by the DSS in 2013, have identified the key criteria that graduate employers look for in their candidates. These criteria consistently include skills such as teamwork, communication, and time management. While it is important for any student to have these skills, students with Asperger’s Syndrome can have a particular challenge in developing employability skills to allow them to access and maintain employment. With this in mind the Employability Skills Programme of interactive workshops for AS students were developed with a significant focus on the AS student. The first group of 12 students completed the first run of the programme in May 2016 and thus far the experience and feedback from participants have been very positive. In addition, the programme workbook allows the participants to record their learning and maintain a valuable reference guide for ongoing use.



For further information on any aspect of the support programme for students with Asperger Syndrome please contact DSS at or by phone at 021—4902985


Applying for Funding


The Fund for Students with Disabilities

The Fund for Students with Disabilities allocates funding to further and higher education colleges for the provision of services and supports to full-time students with disabilities. The Fund aims to ensure that students can participate fully in their academic programmes and are not disadvantaged by reason of a disability.

Eligible students can receive assistance from the Fund from PLC level right up to doctoral level. You do not have to be in first year of a course to be eligible to apply for the Fund. Application for the first time can be made during any year of study on an approved course at further or higher education level.

Applications to the Fund are made on behalf of an eligible student by their college following an assessment of need. Applications cannot be made directly to the Fund by students. Colleges are also responsible for the management of the funding approved for eligible students.Applicants to the Fund for Students with Disabilities are not means-tested. A minimum age for application applies, however. Students with disabilities enrolled in part-time courses, access or foundation courses in higher education institutions or short courses are not eligible for consideration under the Fund.

For more information please click here 

Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for full-time higher education students who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college. The Student Assistance Fund provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the Student Grant. Please note that due to the high demand expected for the fund, the amounts awarded may vary downwards from previous years.

Further information and advice is available at the following website:

If you are encountering financial difficulty, please contact the Budgetary Advisor, Evan Healy

Disability Support Service

Seirbhís Tacaíochta do Dhaoine faoi Mhíchumas

South Lodge, UCC, College Road, Cork