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Autism Spectrum Conditions30 creditsMaster of EducationOnlineValidated by Middlesex University


Autism Spectrum Conditions

This Autism Spectrum Conditions module will enable you to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the history of autism and the emergence of a spectrum of autism conditions. You’ll then use this knowledge to analyse how this context impacts on educational policy and practice both currently and in the future and its applications and limitations.

This module is a core module on our Autism pathway, but when combined with other modules can also be completed as part of a different pathway on our SEND and Inclusion Programme or our Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme.


Why take this module?

Choose this module and:

  • Building understanding of how theory, research and knowledge impact educational policy and practice for those with autism.
  • Grasp the concepts and history of autism and the autism spectrum.
  • Become familiar with the approaches and interventions that really support learners with autism.
  • Evaluate autism in light of the latest literature and research.
  • Identify links between autism concepts and individual needs in your setting.
  • Isolate and analyse the factors that shape educational practice and policy for your students with autism.

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 May 2024. Book and enrol before 15 May 2024 to join our next cohort.

How will you benefit?

This module will benefit you and your setting in a wide variety of ways. Over the duration of the course, you will:

  • Gain the ability to critically evaluate the concept of autism with reference to literature and research
  • Develop in depth knowledge of the range of approaches and interventions advocated for supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in schools so that you can put these into practice in your setting
  • Have confidence in identifying links between the concept of the Autism Spectrum and individual needs in the school setting
  • Be able to close the autism support and teaching gaps in your setting
  • Make a real difference to children and young people with autism, and allow you to provide each individual within your care with the best possible outcome through practice-led learning
  • Attain 30 Masters level (Level 7) credits which you can put towards a PGCert, PGDip or Master of Education on our SEND and Inclusion or Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme

Choose a start date that suits you

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 May 2024. Book and enrol before 15 May 2024 to join our next cohort.

The module content

  • The history of autism.
  • Diagnostic issues and the emergence of the autism spectrum.
  • Psychological theories relating to the autism spectrum.
  • Assessment of individuals with autism spectrum conditions.
  • Meeting the needs of students with autism spectrum conditions: approaches and interventions.
  • The influence of SEND frameworks and statutory and non-statutory guidance on policy and practice for students with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Broader contextual factors including impact of social context, family context, and the individual’s own views, strengths and motivations.

The module is split into three strands. Each strand consists of a series of learning experiences (LEs). These LEs will frame your study through a broad range of practical activities.

Strand one: Personal perspectives and profiling the individual

  • Explore your setting by considering the personal perspectives on the management and support of learners diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum – including carers and other professionals involved in supporting them.
  • Consider the personal accounts of individuals affected by autism and investigate the experience of colleagues in your setting who work with learners with autism. You will also reflect on the history and development of the concept of autism and the autism spectrum.
  • Choose a learner in your setting to become the focus of this strand’s profiling activities. You will bring your colleagues on board and liaise closely with them during the process.
  • Develop a profiling framework to put together a rich picture of the case history and the current interventions that are in place for the focus learner.
  • You will then analyse the information that you have gathered in relation to the dominant psychological models of autism spectrum conditions. By summarising the distinct areas of need that you have identified, you will create future intervention strategies for your focus learner.

Strand two: Exploring practice and policy in your setting

  • Using the information that you have gathered from looking at a particular individual in the first strand, you will use the Autism Education Trust (AET) National Autism Standards for Schools and Educational Setting framework to consider the impact of systemic organisation and approaches within a setting.
  • You will then visit an ASC specialist provision and consider that setting through selected aspects of the AET framework. You will then carry out an audit using aspects of the AET framework to support your analysis. Following this, you will draft appropriate strategies that you believe will improve the rating of your setting against the specified standards that you have chosen.
  • Finally, you will combine the information gathered, the audit and the proposed next steps action plan into a report that you will discuss with your manager/headteacher.

Strand three: Developing an action plan for change

  • At this point, you will bring together all of your work so far. The essential question being: What will you have learned about your setting in light of the current research evidence on the effectiveness of Autism Spectrum Conditions provision and the range of interventions available?
  • You will then create a research and provision map relating interventions in your setting to the research base. You will bring this together with the data that you gathered during your audit and draft the next steps for your setting and on a personal, professional level.
  • Discuss the resulting report with your manager/headteacher and create a personal and systemic action plan for change for those with autism spectrum disorders in your setting.

How will you be assessed?

Your assessments will consist of the following:

Self evaluation questionnaires for you to check your knowledge and understanding throughout the module

Two assessed tasks:

  • Critical analysis one (3,000 words or equivalent): Write an essay entitled: The history of autism and the emergence of the autism spectrum – with a primary focus on children and young people.
  • Critical analysis two (3,000 words or equivalent): Write an essay entitled: The features of good/effective educational policy and practice in supporting the needs of children and young people in schools with reference to theory and research.

How is the module delivered?

  • Our courses are delivered through Campus Online, our unique provision for online learning.
  • Campus Online allows you to study at your own pace, without the need to travel, or commit to particular dates or times. Log in to access your study materials, contact your personal tutor for support, connect and network with other delegates and make use of the extensive resource library.
  • You can easily track your progress throughout the course and submit your work and evidence of assignments for feedback.

Are you eligible?

You must hold an undergraduate degree.

You will need to be working in an educational setting for this module. If you aren’t currently working in an educational setting you will need written permission from a senior member of staff to regularly access a setting.

A note from module leader, Dr Sue Sheppard:

Our autism module does place some specific demands on our delegates. To successfully complete this module, and to get the best learning from it, you need to be:

  • Able to work with a student for a short period of time in a fairly intensive way.
  • Able to devise a profiling tool based on samples given, and use it with a student which will involve collating relevant information from stakeholders and access to files.
  • Ideally able to work with parents and/or any other professionals involved in a student’s programme
  • Able to audit a setting to evaluate their progress to meet the needs of students with ASD and draw up action plans.
  • If working in FE and HE, able to engage with students to give consent for previous information to be shared and agree on collaboration with stakeholders.

Are you based in an international setting?

The Autism Spectrum Conditions course is available online and can, therefore, be completed anywhere in the world. Please click here for advice on payment options and other information relevant to those studying outside of the UK.

How much does it cost?

We offer a flexible range of fees to suit you:

  • A one-off payment of £1,495 + VAT
  • Three instalments of £523 + VAT
  • Ten instalments of £162 + VAT

For further information please visit the payment FAQ page found here, speak to us on 01273 358080, or make a booking.

When does the course start?

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 May 2024. Book and enrol before 15 May 2024 to join our next cohort.

Please note: as it takes time to process your application and payment, we strongly recommend you register as soon as possible, so that you don’t miss the next intake.

How long does it take to complete the course?

The duration of the Autism Spectrum Conditions module is up to one year.

We do understand, however, that circumstances can arise that could prevent the course from being completed at this time. If this is the case, an extension can be arranged in conjunction with the admin team and your tutor.


‘I am the Lead Professional for ASC in the school and this course has given me a solid knowledge base in order to carry out this role. The result is that I have been confident to have conversations with parents about how to help their children. I have also just begun work with my HoF about defining a protocol for working with students on the spectrum, providing a more flexible curriculum, setting up multi-disciplinary teams to work with them, ensuring buy-in from parents and students and building social and life skills into the curriculum.’ Kate Grieff

‘I think the course is extremely easy to follow. If I had more time, I would become involved with more forums and discussions, but it was otherwise, perfect for my situation. Clear and easy to complete.’ Tracy Young

‘Excellent support from my tutor. He was always responsive and provided excellent feedback.’ Taneisha Pascoe-Matthews

Module Leader

Dr Sue Sheppard

Autism Spectrum Conditions

Dr Sue Sheppard is a senior specialist educational psychologist in autism. She has worked closely with Lorna Wing, is a specialist speaker in autism for an educational psychologist in training at University College London and has extensive experience of lecturing, training, consultancy, diagnosis and assessment.

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Module overview

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Meet the module leader
Dr Sue Sheppard

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