City College Norwich
A radical new approach in support of learners with Asperger Syndrome
The transition from school to college can be a daunting experience, but this is especially true for young people with Asperger Syndrome (AS). AS is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which affects how a person interprets the world about them and around 1% of the UK population is thought to be affected. Many colleges struggle to meet the specific needs of young people with AS.
City College Norwich came up with an innovative solution to tackle this challenge. The college asked students with AS to be involved in designing a learning environment tailored to them. The group of students called themselves the ‘Really Useful Group’ and played a key role in designing a physical environment that was eventually named the RUGroom. As well as acting as a safe haven for students with AS, it is run by specialist staff and houses resources for students such as Phoenix Purple, a course designed specifically for AS students to help minimise anxiety and develop independence.
In the first decade since the development of the RUGroom, the number of students with AS attending the college has grown from eight to 56. Through its innovative approach, the college has made connections within the local community and beyond, helping to raise the profile of its programme and improve understanding of how students with AS can be supported within the educational system.