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.
If you work with children with developmental disorders in education, health, psychology or social services or even if you’re a parent with appropriate qualifications, this programme will give you an insight into these complex disorders and how to support the children who have them.
You’ll focus on four major development disorders in children: Dyslexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder (often known as Dyspraxia), Attention Deficit Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. You’ll consider the evidence regarding the nature, diagnosis, assessment and intervention of each disorder – including the controversies that surround them – guided by leading researchers in the field.
We don’t promote any particular method of assessment or management. Instead, we look at the available evidence in education, health or the home, and allow you to focus on the models that relate to your own context.
You’ll be taught by members of the Childhood and Youth Academic Group, which has a long-established, international reputation for research in developmental disorders. The course distils the expertise within the team and draws on research that we have conducted, funded by agencies such as the ESRC, Action Medical Research, and private and charitable UK organisations that work with children with these disorders.
We offer students a vibrant intellectual and academic experience. Not only will you benefit from weekly research-led teaching, but you’ll have the chance to attend seminars with leading academics, hosted by the School of Education or other departments.
You can use the credits gained from this programme towards MA Special Educational Needs, meaning you’ll need to take fewer modules to achieve that qualification.
You’ll take a single module in each semester, allowing you to focus on individual developmental disorders in depth.
You’ll consider the concept, nature and characteristics of Dyslexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
In addition, you’ll take a critical approach to understanding how each disorder is assessed and identified. In addition, you’ll consider how they’re managed in different contexts, allowing you to focus on the environments that are most relevant to your professional or personal interests.
Your study two compulsory modules:
This programme is taught in evening sessions. Each module will include twelve lectures lasting two hours each. Weekly taught sessions will include lectures, discussions and group tasks so you can share knowledge and experiences with your fellow students and tutor. If you need to discuss aspects of your studies individually, the course tutor is available for one-to-one tutorials.
There are no exams on this programme, and modules are assessed by coursework only. You’ll complete a 6,000 word essay for each module to demonstrate your understanding of the topics under study.
This PGCert progamme enables people within a range of professions such as health, education and social services to progress within their chosen professional field. This programme could improve your career prospects if you intend to work with children with Special Educational Needs in any context.
Many of our students choose to build on the knowledge and skills gained through the PGCert by progressing to the MA Special Educational Needs, which may be even more beneficial to your career. You can carry the credits you’ve gained on the PGCert forward to the MA programme.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
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.