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.
The MA SEN/ALN (Additional Learning Needs) will appeal to those who are working in the field of SEN/ALN and Learning Disabilities, in particular those who are working in education (SENCos/ALNCOs, specialist teachers, one-to-one tutors within FE/HE together with learning support staff across a range of settings). This Special Educational Needs qualification is also of interest to professionals working in health, such as speech and language therapists and occupational therapists and other non-statutory organisations.
The SEN/ALN course has been designed to enable experienced practitioners in education and related professions to critically engage in the social, political and global debates relating to the living and learning experiences of children, young people and adults who have special educational needs and learning disabilities. It will encourage greater understanding and a critical appreciation of the trends and developments in SEN/ALN and disability provision across schools and relevant settings. Our SEN/ALN course also offers an in-depth focus on contemporary perspectives of SEN/ALN, learning disabilities and inclusive practice together with the opportunity to widen students’ theoretical understanding through research and evaluation within their respective professional roles. Awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level; Postgraduate Diploma level and the full Masters degree.
There is a wide range of modules to choose from, providing the opportunity to have a postgraduate course specifically tailored to meet your individual professional needs. You will study the specified module of the MA SEN/ALN (Additional Learning Needs) course – SEN/ALN: Contexts and Concepts – and in common with all of the professional learning programmes, you will study the Research Methodology module.
You will also select two or three additional modules from the Professional Learning Programme. Examples of modules include:
This explores theory, policy and practice in relation to all aspects of autism
Dyslexia Theory and Assessment and Working with Dyslexia: Linking Theory, Assessment and Practice
Both modules are externally accredited by the British Dyslexia Association at either an approved teacher/practitioner (ATS/APS) level or the associated membership (AMBDA) level. They are ideal for those who are working with children, young people or adults with specific learning difficulties and want a recognised qualification in this field.
Leading and Managing SEN/ALN
Designed for educational practitioners who have or aspire to the role of SENCo./ALNCo. The module is designed to equip students with a better understanding of the theory and practice relating to the varied and challenging skills required of the SENCo/ALNCo. in order to respond to the changing landscape of SEN / ALN.
A full list of modules is available from Amanda Kelland, award leader.
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 (after completion of a dissertation).
Modules are normally assessed by a written assignment of 5,000 words.
Those who undertake the SpLD modules, with a view to gaining accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association, will undertake a specialist teaching practice. For other students, there may be opportunities to link with specialist settings on a voluntary basis.
An Additional Learning Needs qualification demonstrates that you have developed advanced level skills in analysis, evaluation and research.
If you are interested in the possibility of gaining a higher degree by research, your tutors will be pleased to discuss the opportunities at the University of South Wales.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Servicethroughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.