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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Overview
This programme was developed in consultation with the education, health and social care, and voluntary sectors, as well as individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and is designed to facilitate the professional development of teachers and other related professionals who work, or wish to work, in this area.

Students explore the theories and practice underpinning ASD and can engage in associated experiential work. In line with the needs identified in the Northern Ireland Executive's Autism Strategy (2013-2020) and associated Action Plan, the course has been attuned to raising awareness, addressing issues specifically related to children and adults on the autism spectrum, and increasing knowledge and skills in relation to evidence-based interventions.

The aim is to enable the study of the theory and practice underpinning the specialist area in order to enhance understanding and ability to engage in research- and evidence-based practice. On completion of the degree, students will have:
• developed a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the special needs of children, young people and adults diagnosed with ASD
• shown evidence of critical reflection on their professional practice and be able to apply relevant research literature to both personal and professional experience
• acquired a range of specialised practical skills which will enhance their ability to support pupils and students in a variety of settings
• developed teamwork skills required to work in partnership, supporting and advising other colleagues.

Entry requirements

Graduate
A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline.

Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

Applicants with a lower level of performance in an Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least three years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

Applicants with a sub-honours degree level qualification or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least five years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

English language requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
• Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Duration

Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 3 years.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Introduction
Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their workplace when advising colleagues, influencing policy makers and supporting pupils and students with autism and their families, or seeking professional promotion or diversification. Others progress to doctoral-level studies and research or teaching.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

Professor Karola Dillenburger
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
k.dillenburger@qub.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Course Details
Core Modules (all 20 CATS points):
An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)
This module will provide you with an understanding of differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies and is required preparation for your research dissertation.

Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change (online and 1-day workshop)
We will focus on pedagogical methods and practices for inclusion that emanate from the scientific discipline of behaviour analysis. This includes a range of pedagogical methods, including intensive behaviour interventions, incidental teaching, contingency management, precision teaching, dealing with challenging behaviours, and integrating systems support. We will also introduce the practice of measurement of behaviour change and displaying and interpreting behavioural data.

Understanding Adults with ASD (3-day on-campus workshop and online)
You will be assisted to develop and extend your skills in understanding the needs of adults with ASD and their families. We will examine issues of identification, adult diagnosis, mental health, and transitions, as well as challenging behaviours, communication, and sensory issues, relationships, sexuality, self-advocacy, and neuro-diversity. We will consider the implications of an ASD diagnosis for the nuclear and extended family, for schools, homes and employment.

Understanding Children with ASD (3-day on-campus workshop and online).
You will be assisted to develop and extend your skills in understanding the needs of children (aged 0-18) with ASD and their families. We will examine issues of definition, identification, diagnosis and assessment, and early intervention, as well as communication, and sensory issues across childhood and adolescence. We will also consider the implications of an ASD diagnosis for the nuclear and extended family, for teaching and learning in school and home-based programmes as well as transitions between school and home.

Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) programme.

Comment

Learning and teaching
Full-day workshops and online
Some of the modules are taught in 3-day block workshops on campus and some are taught in a blended format (i.e., online with an optional on-campus workshop).

Autism Spectrum Disorders highlights
Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as 'internationally excellent or world leading' (REf, 2014).

Career Development
• Employability The programme provides a range of specialised practical skills for teaching and supporting pupils and students in a variety of settings; the teamwork skills needed to support and advise colleagues; and, the knowledge and understanding of the special needs of individuals with ASD.

World Class Facilities
• Innovation Some modules of the programme are based on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Task Lists (eg, Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change).

Student Experience
• Flexibility This programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals and is delivered via blended learning. Diploma and Certificate options are also available.
• Credit transfer Students who have completed other master's-level awards, eg PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer. The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.

Assessment method

There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed by a variety of assessment methods, eg written assignments, project reports, online multiple choice tests, or weekly contributions to online fora. Active student participation is required for all modules.

Application date

Postgraduate Taught
Closing dates do apply for some of our courses, and details of these are available on our Course Finder. We advise you to apply as early as possible, particularly for those courses where there is a high demand for places. Early application is also important for international applicants to allow sufficient time to obtain a student entry visa.

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply. See application weblink below.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year: 2018

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