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Understanding Autism

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Designed to provide you with a thorough understanding of the autism spectrum, current research, and best practice approaches, this comprehensive programme equips teachers, parents and other practitioners with evidence-based strategies to meet the needs of children and young people with autism, from preschool to further education. The content of this course has been revised and updated in 2021.

  • Course Overview
  • Course Content
  • Assessment & Award
  • Tutors and Support

About the course

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is an umbrella term used to describe individuals who have very specific difficulties in social skills and with communication and who engage in restrictive or repetitive activities. ASD describes a spectrum of disorders, including Asperger syndrome and spanning the full range of ability.

International statistics demonstrate a steep rise in the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) since the 1990s. It is now estimated to run to as much as 1% of the population worldwide. This dramatic increase is currently being experienced in our schools, communities and families and demands specialised knowledge, understanding and skills. This course is designed to respond to this need and provides flexible and accessible training and rapid upskilling for those working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

Who is this course aimed at?

This course is primarily designed to give teachers, parents, and other allied professionals the confidence and skills to support children and young people with autism, including those with Asperger syndrome. It will also prove beneficial for inclusion managers, Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs), educational psychologists, teaching assistants, special needs assistants, social care workers and local authority support-team members, among others.

Approved by the Department of Education

This course is approved by the Department of Education.

Three EPV days are allowed for primary school teachers who take the course during the summer term. Please note this provision applies only to the summer term as per Department guidelines.

This course has four terms each year, Spring, May/June, Summer & Autumn.

From the search for an explanation, to diagnosis, assessment, proven interventions and teaching approaches, this course provides a clear route to unravelling the complexity of ASD. Drawing on the most up-to-date neuroscience and research and including the diagnostic implications of the DSM V , it will guide you through constructive, evidence-based and contextually relevant ways to help children and young people with ASD realise their full potential.

You will become familiar with current theories and perspectives on ASD and the implications for practice. Early identification, assessment and diagnostic procedures, individual educational planning and early intervention approaches, such as EarlyBird and LEAP, are examined. Models of intervention, such as TEACCH, Pivotal Response Training and FloorTime, are detailed and explained. We review effective teaching approaches and adaptations for students with ASD and provide you with practical strategies and techniques for optimising learning and behaviour. You will learn how to prevent and intervene with challenging behaviour and also how to support the emotional development and wellbeing of children and young people with ASD, including those with Asperger syndrome. Crucially, the voices of individuals and families with ASD are included through videos and interviews to give you the benefit of their experiences and insights.


  • Gain practical skills for identification, assessment and support of children and young people with ASD in a range of settings
  • Learn how to develop Individualised Education Plans (IEPs) for your students with ASD
  • Review best practice teaching approaches for working with students with ASD and addressing their learning differences and specific learning needs
  • Learn effective strategies for increasing positive behaviour and for decreasing undesirable behaviour
  • Learn proven practical techniques and exercises for building social/communication skills in children with ASD
  • Gain a wealth of strategies for supporting children with sensory issues, anxiety and emotional and relationship difficulties related to ASD.
  • Enjoy rich opportunities for collaboration with our online network of learners and tutors.
  • Save printable course materials and resources for future reference.

Interactive Learning Assignments accompany each module. Each student is also required to complete a Reflective Assignment as well as a CPD record.

On completion, you will receive a Certificate of Continuing Professional Development and a Learning Log of your work, which can be included in your CPD portfolio.

All of our tutors are experienced practitioners who specialise in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders and will provide you with one-to-one expert guidance as you complete your studies online.

Technical support is provided by our dedicated team of qualified learning technologists, who are available to assist you by telephone or email.


May/June Term

9 May - 19 June 2022


13th June 2022

Summer Term
4th July to 26th August 2022

20 hours of self paced study any time during the term

Certificate of CPD ** Summer term fully approved for EPV days for Primary Teachers**



Interventions for Developmental Disabilities


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