On the Special Education: Autism (Children) course, you can study it from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if you have access to the Internet). By studying at a distance, you remain in your work setting and can therefore tailor the programme to meet your professional needs or your particular interests and experiences. All activities and assignments on the course have a practical as well as a theoretical perspective.
We hope you will find that your own experiences with children and young people on the autism spectrum will link with the ideas and activities in the programme. However, as well as being a practitioner, you are also very much a student and will have the resources of a large university to help you. Learning and teaching take place through:
Self-study materials are available online using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The course materials are written as Units which make up a Module. Each Module has overall aims and outcomes and there are activities (which are not assessed) which you can do to relate the text to your own situation. In addition to the Units, you will be expected to read a range of other books and journal articles.
You will have a regional or online tutor group and attend face to face or online tutorials twice a term. The tutorials with a tutor and other students are to support you in their learning. At the tutorials you will discuss course materials, plan assignments and share your experiences of practice in the field. Attendance at the tutorials is essential so that you learn from each other by listening and contributing.
Find out more about the tutors
These weekends, in September and April at the University of Birmingham, are essential in the first year of study. The first study weekend acts as an introduction to the course in a series of lectures. It introduces many of the ideas in the course and prepares you for the particular approaches to study. The second weekend is a mixture of lectures and workshops. In both weekends, it is a chance to visit the University, buy relevant books, mix with students and tutors and meet people on the autism spectrum who are able to articulate what autism means to them. Study weekends operate from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime.
Learning is assessed through a written assignment at the end of each module. The assignments for the first two modules on the course are essays, addressing an issue that is of practical and intellectual significance to the student. You will be expected to draw on the literature and your own experience to support your arguments. The third assignment in the first year is a project module where you will undertake and writes up a piece of reflective practice. These first three modules form the ‘core’ and are compulsory for an award to be made in Autism (Children). The three modules are sequential; information in Modules 2 and 3 building on the earlier units and the modules must be taken in sequence.
In the second year, you may stay within the autism field by taking a double project. Masters students may also do a double project module, but in addition they will need to do one or two other subject modules, which may be the second module from the Special Education: Autism (Adults) programme, or a module on Challenging Behaviour and Autism, or a module on Inclusive practice. Masters students will then take the research module (PIE) and write a 15,000 word dissertation.
Students who successfully complete three modules at Level H are awarded the Advanced Certificate in Autism (children) at the end of the first year. Students who successfully complete three modules at Level M are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Special Education: Autism (children) at the end of the first year or can continue to study for a Masters degree (two more years minimum).