Supporting PhD students with autism, dyspraxia, and other learning differences

I'm dyspraxic and autistic. (Amusingly, when the occupational health department rang up before I started my current research job, they said, "It says here that you have dyspraxia and Asperger's Syndrome, is that right?" And when I agreed, they went, "You'll be another academic, then. What do you need me to do?") Lately I've been thinking about the specific challenges I faced during my PhD and how I could use my experience to help PhD candidates with similar learning differences to get past their own hurdles.

Once a month I offer up to five hours' practical support in areas where I'm strong (proofreading, structuring written work, designing ethnographic and arts-based fieldwork, developing interviewing skills, etc.) to a PhD student who has a particular issue they need help with and who is struggling to get suitable support. I only do this on a monthly basis as otherwise I'd be snowed under. This is primarily for PhD candidates, but I may also be able to help Master's students, especially those who are hoping to progress to PhD.

In brief, this support is available to people who:

  • are on the autistic spectrum or have a specific learning difference such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, or ADHD (it's OK if you haven't been formally assessed);
  • are enrolled on a PhD programme, or are planning to apply for one;
  • have engaged with the support services available through their universities, but are struggling to get appropriate help;
  • have a particular set of difficulties they want to focus on, which I feel that I am well-placed to respond to through five hours of support (if your PhD involves calculating trajectories for incoming spacecraft or something of the sort, I am probably not the right person).

It's free. However, if you want to make a charitable donation in exchange, I'd be grateful for any support for NARA, the breathing charity - a close friend recently died from brittle asthma and I'm a big fan of their work.

You can contact me through the form below.

Name *
What learning differences do you experience?
Have you sought help from your university's disability services?