This course is suitable if you are an individual with autism or Asperger Syndrome or a parent, teacher, clinician or professional associated with people with autism and Asperger Syndrome.
It gives you an in-depth understanding of what autism is and delves into many of the associated issues across the age ranges. It gives you an insight into some of the ways of developing appropriate support for individuals, as described by autistic individuals themselves, as well as investigating how to develop appropriate professional practice across all disciplines.
You explore some of the specific cognitive differences as well as sensory perceptual profiles and experiences in autism and Asperger Syndrome. Forensic issues are examined as well as reasons behind why individuals may be vulnerable in a variety of ways, and how risk of vulnerability might be reduced.
You are provided with an in depth exploration of the main autism theories, with alternative perspectives identified with supporting rationale. The course is deeply embedded in an inclusive model, and embraces the social model of disability; as such, the notions of inclusion, models of disability, and what it means to be autistic in the modern age are all explored within the course. You are given the opportunity to discuss these perspectives in your own writing.
You are given the opportunity to explore and critique current autism practice as related to your circumstances - personal, professional, or both.
The course is designed to be applicable to a wide range of students from all professional and personal backgrounds.
Part-time – typically one year
The course is delivered on rotation at different locations around the UK. Call us to find out the location of the next course.
Your studies are part taught and part online learning with online tutor support.
Two cohorts per year - see National Autistic Society website for details
Included on the course are individuals on the spectrum who present on their lived experiences, and on their academic research in the autism field.
Autism and Asperger syndrome module one – 6,000 word assignment
Autism in practice module two – 6,000 word assignment(alternative forms of assessment may be available to suit differing learning needs)
This course can help you gain a better understanding of autism and Asperger Syndrome within a working context such as teaching or a clinical environment, representing continuing professional development in these specialties.
As an individual with autism or Asperger Syndrome this course can help you better understand yourself, offering you potential opportunities to develop in your career and other areas of your life.
The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and to critique models of autism and modes of practice that may be deemed as disabling and exclusionary. Many students report that as a result their perspective of autism has changed considerably.
The overall aim of this programme is to create academic, professional, and personal development opportunities for those concerned with both the practice and experience of living and/ or working with autistic individuals across all ages and settings.
You engage in informed critical reflection and enquiry to develop and influence practice and policy in your current and/or future contexts. You are supported to identify a relevant knowledge base drawing on theoretical and research literatures, policy and policy critiques, practice guidance and practitioner networks. Through the programme, you identify your own and others' values and assumptions in contributing to socially just policy, inclusive and ethical practice for people with autism.
If you are from a professional background the course supports you in developing a range of academic skills, a professional knowledge base and employability skills that link closely to your specialism and career goals. If you are interested in this course from a personal perspective as an autistic individual, a parent or carer, we support your developing understanding of the autism spectrum.
This course is ideal if you are
The MA Autism Spectrum is designed to provide a supportive, challenging and inclusive learning experience. You experience and engage in a variety of learning activities as they progress through the course. We have designed a balanced range of activities to recognise the diverse range of experience and expertise of our students. Teaching and learning involves tutor-led seminars, workshops, participant-led activities, group and peer discussion, self-directed study, and independent reading. You take part in both face-to-face and online learning throughout your studies.
The structure of the course recognises the developing skills of a postgraduate student becoming an independent, critical learner. As such, the course begins by developing skills of critical reflection and evaluating evidence, progressing towards the knowledge and skills to develop your own ethical and inclusive research enquiry in the final year.
Typically you study
Part-time – typically one year to certificate, two years to diploma, three years to masters, maximum six years
Modules are delivered in a variety of ways, including taught sessions and online. Typically, this includes some modules taught in the evenings once a week over eight weeks and others taught in a series of day schools and online. Please note, there are taught sessions in Sheffield throughout the course, though not always on a regular basis.
For groups of 15 students or more, it may be possible to deliver the course at your organisation if it is in the local region.
The modules you take depend on whether you are pursuing a PgCert, PgDip or MA.
Assessment varies between modules but includes a mixture of professional work-based tasks and academic and critical reflection. There are no examinations.
The course provides a relevant qualification for anyone holding or intending to hold a position related to autism. As this is a part-time course, students are often studying alongside their own career progression. Graduates often go on to progress in their organisation or take on further responsibility as the result of their studies and acquired skills.
The Autism (Adults) programme is a distance learning programme which is studied part-time. It is appropriate for practitioners working with adults across the autism spectrum in a range of services and in both specialist and mainstream environments. The course draws upon your own experience as a practitioner, and through the set assessments, you will consider how your learning informs your practice.
The University of Birmingham is a leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK - offering Professional Development courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by senior practitioners and researchers in the field who work within the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER). You will have access to an extensive library, research materials and a large online community of students in the field of autism. Academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study and we accept both vocational and academic qualifications as entry criteria.
The Autism (Adults) distance learning programme aims to provide you with knowledge of the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome, based on theory, research and practice. You will be taught to consider how autism theory applies to the individuals that you support in their adult lives, and what this should mean for your own practice. Autistic authors and researchers contribute to our study materials, so that you will gain insights into the diversity of the autistic experience, and learn about the range of individual and social barriers that can be experienced. The course will also encourage you think for yourself and use your professional skills to select and research topics of relevance to your own situation.
You will have a personal tutor in a small online or regional tutor group, with study supported through study packs, tutorial groups, telephone, email and the online virtual learning environment network, encouraging you to develop through shared experience (Internet access is required for the programme). There are two compulsory university-based study weekends in the first year - find out more about this in the Learning and Teaching section.
The following awards are offered for this programme.
The entry level will depend on your academic qualifications as well as professional experience. Learn more about admission requirements in the School of Education. If you don't already hold a recognised degree, the appropriate level for entry will be the undergraduate level. However, you will have the opportunity to progress through to postgraduate level.
We also run two more autism programmes which may interest you:
There are also other programmes which incorporate modules on autism such as:
You can study this distance learning programme on a part-time basis from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if you have access to the Internet). By studying at a distance, you remain in your work setting and can therefore tailor the programme to meet your professional needs or your particular interests and experiences.Learning and teaching take place through:
Self-study materials in the form of booklets are sent to you and other online resources are available within the virtual learning environment (VLE) and the e-library which has an extensive collection of online journals and ebooks. The VLE is designed to enhance your studies, giving you immediate access to resources and documents including interview footage with prominent autistic authors and researchers. It is designed to be viewed alongside your reading to help you translate theoretical ideas into actual practice. The VLE also offers you an important opportunity to make contact with other students, not only in your own tutor group but across the Autism programmes, through bulletin boards and online chats.
The programme is structured as Modules and divided into Units. Each Module has overall aims and outcomes and the specific aims and outcomes of the Units contribute to achieving these. By keeping the aims and outcomes in mind as you study, you will be able to check your own development and make sure that you are 'on target'. The core reading materials are designed to provide a comprehensive overview of theory and practice in relation to adults on the autism spectrum. Depending on your work setting, previous experience, and your personal goals in pursuing this study, you may choose to either work methodically through all of the materials, or to select parts that are relevant to your particular area of interest. Some students wish to develop a broad spectrum of knowledge and have never studied autism before; others join the course with an existing knowledge base and wish to use the course to develop one particular area of interest through their study. You will know best how best to utilise the study materials to suit your own personal study needs. In addition to the programme booklets, you are expected to read a range of other books and journal articles, especially at Masters level.
Online or regional tutorials
Online tutorials or regional tutorials (with a tutor and small group of other students) will support you in your learning. At the tutorials you will discuss course materials, plan assignments and share your experiences of practice in the field of autism. The tutorials are a compulsory part of the course and must be attended.
These Autism (Children) programmes, approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Continuing Professional Development scheme, are designed for professionals working with children and young people on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. They are appropriate for those working in early years provision, schools, residential care, advisory, support or therapeutic services. They draw on the student’s own experience as part of the content and assessment. The courses are offered as either campus taught courses on a full- or part-time basis, or as a part-time course via distance learning.
The University of Birmingham is a leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK - offering professional development courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field who work in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and will have access to an extensive library and research materials. Academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study. Our courses contribute towards LDAF and NVQ.
Student Amelia Devi from Indonesia talks about her MEd in Autism (Children)
Campus based Programme
This programme is offered on a full or part-time basis on campus.
Learning and teaching takes place through:
Distance Learning Programme
Students can study this distance learning programme on a part-time basis from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if they have access to the Internet). By studying at a distance, you remain in your work setting and can therefore tailor the programme to meet your professional needs or your particular interests and experiences. All activities and assignments in the programme have a practical as well as a theoretical perspective. We hope you will find that your own experiences with children and young people on the autism spectrum will link with the ideas and activities in the programme. However, as well as being a practitioner, you are also very much a student and will have the resources of a large university to help you on and off campus. Learning and teaching take place through:
Self-study materials are in the form of booklets, and resources on a memory stick and on-line using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).The programme materials are written as Units which make up a Module. Each Module has overall aims and outcomes and there are activities (which are not assessed) which you can do to relate the text to your own situation. In addition to the Units, students are expected to read a range of other books and journal articles.
Each student has a regional or online tutor group and attends face to face or online tutorials twice a term. The tutorials with a tutor and other students are to support students in their learning. At the tutorials students discuss course materials, plan assignments and share their experiences of practice in the field. Attendance at tutorials is essential so that you learn from each other by listening and contributing.
The aims of the Autism (Children) programme are to give students knowledge of the autism spectrum, based on theory, research and practice. It aims to develop skills in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people and to improve the student’s awareness of different approaches and models of service delivery (particularly in the area of education). Taking the perspective of the individual child or young person on the autism spectrum is paramount, and listening to parents, carers and families on what they need and value is also stressed.
There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education both within schools and in other settings, including progression to a PhD or EdD. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles working with children with autism. These include: specialist teachers, education advisors, special educational needs coordinators, teaching assistants and youth workers.
Read the Alumni Profile of Trudi Rainsbury, BPhil 2010 followed by the MEd in special education: Autism (Children)
This course will help you to develop your knowledge and skills in the field of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, specialising in the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. This specialist pathway is ideal for professionals working in early years, primary or secondary schools, further and higher education, voluntary sector, advisory roles, and residential settings. You can also study this course if you have a personal interest, subject to entry requirements.
This course will give you in-depth knowledge and understanding of various aspects related to autism. Our modules will help you to understand autism from the perspective of the individual and the family, focusing on theories that explore the strengths and needs of individuals. In order to help you evaluate best practice, including your own, we will take you through a thorough analysis of evidence-based approaches. Overall, we aim to help you to reduce the barriers that individuals with autism face in education and wider society.
The modules undertaken will vary depending upon the selected exit award (PG certificate, diploma, MA). Each module is equivalent to 30 Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points at level 7, except the dissertation which is 60 CATS points. If you want to complete the full MA, you will complete three compulsory modules, an optional module and a dissertation.