University of South Wales' MA SEN/ALN (Autism) course is unique in Wales, and is for professionals working in the field of education, health, social care and the third sector who have contact with children or adults on the autism spectrum. The course is designed for those who wish to become an advanced practitioner in autism by acquiring a relevant qualification. As the only practice-based study of autism in the region, our course draws a wide range of students from south Wales and the west of England, as well as many international students.
The MA SEN/ALN (Autism) course is also of relevance to newly qualified practitioners who are interested in gaining a specialism in autism, and to those coming from a personal perspective on autism who would like to deepen their knowledge and find out more about current research and relevant theoretical ideas.
The autism course explores theory, policy and practice in relation to all aspects of autism as it is currently understood within different contexts. Modular content is designed to provide the opportunity to tailor your postgraduate degree to meet your individual professional or personal needs.
There are two specified modules focused on autism:
Autism: Contexts and Concepts
This module examines the development of current theories of autism and explores the implications of these for autistic individuals, families and practitioners. It is designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the sensory perceptual differences of autism and consider the ways in which these may give rise to a different way of being in the world.
Managing and Supporting Autism
This module critically examines national and international developments in policy and practice in relation to autism education and support within a variety of settings and contexts. It will enable you to evaluate the continuum of provision for people with autism in the light of theories of learning and with reference to important models of disability.
In addition to these two modules, you are able to select two or three additional modules from the Professional Learning Programme, for example:
Child and Adolescent Mental Health
This module focuses on the causation, presentation and implications of mental health difficulties in children and young people.
SEN: Contexts and Concepts
This module examines practice in SEN/ALN, learning disabilities and inclusive education and critically reflects on the tension between identification of need and the philosophy of inclusion
Leading and Managing SEN/ALN
This module is designed to provide students with a better understanding of theory and practice in relation to the role of SENCo/ALNCo and so respond to the changing landscape of SEN/ALN.
In common with all of the Professional Learning programmes, you must take the core module Research Methodology if you are studying the full Masters course.
A full range of the modules is available from the course leader, Dr Carmel Conn.
Awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level (after completion of two taught modules); Postgraduate Diploma level (after completion of four taught modules) and the full MA (on completion of a dissertation).
Each module is taught during weekly on campus sessions over 10 week terms. Learning takes place in teacher and student-led seminars, group discussions, individual tutorials and through active learning tasks. Content is delivered in engaging and interactive ways, with clear direction and support provided for critical reading and academic-level writing. Teaching usually takes place in the evenings and sessions are delivered by the course leader together with guest speakers. For the autism modules, guest speakers include people with autism, as well as senior practitioners in health and education.
Each module is assessed by an assignment, which may take the form of a 5,000 word written assignment or an alternative practical assessment task. To complete the full Masters award, you will need to complete a 15000 word dissertation which is based on a topic of your choice. You will be supported by a tutor during the assignment writing process via individual tutorials. If you are not in professional practice, but would like to gain experience of working professionally in relation to autism education and support, help with setting up an internship can be provided.
If you are not in professional practice, but would like to gain experience of working professionally in relation to autism education and support, help with setting up an internship can be provided.
We are able to arrange to consult and use some of the resources available at the Dyscovery Centre such as standardised assessment tools.
Most students who study part-time, work in this specific field of work. Our full-time students quickly find work locally within education or the care sector, which offers them opportunities to apply theory to practice. A Masters degree in Autism is a major boost to a career. Whatever your profession, experience has shown us that success on the course leads to enhanced employment prospects. Parents of children diagnosed with an ASD feel empowered both from their success and the increased insight gained.
A number of students have gone on to present at national and international conferences on an aspect of the autism spectrum. Other students have secured promotion and or employment in organisations that specifically support or educate individuals on the spectrum.