An Evaluation of Specialist Mentoring for University Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Mental Health Conditions

Rebecca Lucas, Alana James

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Mentoring is often recommended to universities as a way of supporting students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or mental health conditions (MHC), but there is little literature on optimising this support. We used mixed-methods to evaluate mentees’ and mentors’ experiences of a specialist mentoring programme.
Mentees experienced academic, social and emotional support, although subtle group differences emerged between students with ASD and MHC. The quality of the mentee-mentor relationship was especially important. Mentors also reported benefits. Thematic analysis identified that effective mentoring requires a tailored partnership, which involves a personal relationship, empowerment, and building bridges into the university experience.
Mentoring can effectively support students with ASD and/or MHC, but this is highly dependent on the development of tailored mentee-mentor partnerships.

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017. The attached document is an author produced version of a paper published in J Autism Dev Disord, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-707
Early online date16 Sept 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sept 2017


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Mental health conditions
  • Mentoring
  • Universiry
  • Higher Education
  • Programme evaluation

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