This module will explore what it means to have an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). It will reflect upon how the world might be perceived by the person with ASD. Students will be encouraged to examine their own practice and look at ways in which they can meet the specific needs of the person with ASD with whom they work. The module will identify and explore the specific restriction in communication, socialisation and rigidity of thought of a person with ASD and will discuss implications for meeting those needs. It will encourage students to reflect on how the person with ASD best learns within the framework of using the strengths of the individual to manage weaknesses.
It will comprise three units with eight sections each. Unit 1 will concern itself with descriptions and explanations of ASD from the perspective of the person with ASD. It will present explanations from leading researchers based upon current understanding. Unit 2 will focus specifically on issues relating to communication. The key issue will be to look at how the student can play a role in developing communicative strategies to help the individual with ASD understand what is happening and why, and to enable communication. Unit 3 will look at difficulties in social understanding and will examine how the student can contribute to making social interactions less fraught with problems for the person with ASD. It will then focus on rigidity of thought. It will encourage students to reflect on how it may be possible to modify the environment to the stage where adherence to fixed routines and patterns of behaviour can be managed in such a way as to make life less threatening and disturbing for the person with ASD.