Pam Martin, University Certificate in Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

'The course has helped me in the understanding of my son’s condition and strategies to help him. In my working career it helped me to help and understand the children with ASDs in my care'

This course was recommended to me and it was the only one of its type in the country. My 4th child has autism which at the time was undiagnosed and I was working with children in school with ASDs. I wanted to increase my knowledge of the disorder so that I may help those in my care, especially my son. I additionally wanted to research the need for diagnosis and whether it would benefit my son. I attended a short course on ASDs and one of the speakers had done the course and gave me information on it, I became very interested and researched the course further.

The best thing about studying on this course is the increased knowledge, confidence and strategies to use to help and understand those with an ASD. It has also given me confidence when speaking to other professionals regarding my son’s care and they are impressed with the fact that I have studied the disorder at university level. Therefore, it has helped me to gain access to services for my son. I have made a very informed choice regarding his diagnosis and it has enabled me to teach other family members about ASD and strategies to use on my son. I believe others respect the comments and knowledge I portray, as they know I have studied the disorder at a fairly high level at a prestigious university.

I never visited the university it was a web based course and I didn’t need to visit the site. It was great to be able to access the course as and when it was convenient to myself, my family and employment times. My tutorial group was a small group, who met up at times for a tutorial session, our tutor travelling to a location which was easily accessible to us. My tutor was very supportive, especially when I was recovering from a kidney operation and couldn’t access tutorials.

I met my regional tutor approximately 4 times, I did miss the initial meeting at the university as I was in hospital. I did contact my tutor occasionally when necessary, she was very supportive.

Using the on-line resources such as WebCT was convenient, items could easily be repeated if necessarily. Additionally the ‘Time to Talk’ discussions were very interesting and gave me confidence to put my views over to others, backed up by information I had read and researched during my studies. It also allowed me to read the views of others from other walks of life from all areas of the country. On a technical note I found the course easy to follow and technical advice easily accessed if necessary. We were also encouraged to learn through reading, discussions, tutorials, DVD recordings which included tutorial recordings.

I would highly recommend learning via distance education to others. As a mother of 4 who was working at the time and my youngest child having an ASD, distance learning allowed me to learn at my convenience. If this type of flexible learning had not been available to me then I would not have been able to access the course. Also individuals with an ASD may find this type of learning more accessible to their needs.

The web based course I did with The University of Birmingham was an excellent way for me to study. I have made valuable and supportive friends with members of my study group. I am still in contact with group members and value their friendship. It was hard work but extremely enjoyable, very informative and has given me much confidence in my working and family life.

The course has helped me in the understanding of my son’s condition and strategies to help him. In my working career it helped me to help and understand the children with ASDs in my care. Importantly it gave me confidence when meeting other professionals on the subject of ASDs. It allowed me to make an informed decision with regard to accessing a diagnosis for my son. Therefore, an overall positive experience, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending the course to other professionals parents or others with a genuine interest or link with the disorder

Summing up my university experience in one sentence, it was excellent, enjoyable, rewarding Experience, Hard Work, but definitely worth it!