First-class help from university
Suffering from Asperger's syndrome means university life can sometimes be tough for student Tom Synnott.
However, he is still on track to gain a first-class honours degree in history.
Tom, who is in the second year of his studies at De Montfort University, says the support he has received from staff, as well as disability charity Abilitynet and the National Autistic Society, has enabled him to excel at his studies and transform his life.
His story appeared on BBC1's Saints and Scroungers programme this week.
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Tom said: "I've grown so much more confident at university. I never thought I'd be capable of achieving what I have.
"School was very difficult for me. I was quite alone and the teachers didn't understand why I struggled.
"I never thought I could go to university and assumed I wouldn't be able to handle it."
Tom's condition, a form of autism, remained undiagnosed until he applied to university and staff encouraged him to go to his GP.
The condition affects how he makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people socially.
He needs practical help, such as equipment to record his lectures to assist with note-taking.
University staff also encouraged him to apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance, and he was granted £2,000 worth of computer equipment and training for use on his course.
Tom also meets with mentors daily to help him keep on track with his studies and enable him to be independent, living away from home.
He said: "I was told that the university worked closely with the National Autistic Society, which provides mentoring support, so I took the next step and came to university. I was nervous when I arrived, but from the beginning De Montfort has helped me cope.
"My mentors have been the best friends I never had at school and coming here has changed my life."
Tom is predicted to graduate with a first-class degree in 2014.
Tina Sharpe, head of disability advice and support, and Lynda Smith, transition and retention officer at the university, said they had seen Tom go from strength to strength.
Lynda said: "It's so rewarding to see how the support funded has transformed Tom's self-esteem and his ambition."
Disability Advice and Support at the university works with students who have a range of physical and sensory disabilities, enabling them to access support needed to study.