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Edge Hill University – Critical Autism Studies

This taught Masters degree provides you with specialist training in critical autism studies within an interdisciplinary department. You will gain a range of perspectives on autism in order to appreciate the ways in which discourses of autism shape autistic people’s lived experiences. Tracing the development of autism interventions and engaging with contemporary debates in policy and practice, you will develop critical study skills, receive training in social science research methodologies and deliver a substantial research project. An optional international field trip enables you to gain an international perspective and outlook, with an additional opportunity to apply your knowledge and understanding in a work setting. The programme is suitable for professionals, teachers, support workers, recent graduates and those working with autistic people. We particularly welcome applications from ‘experts by experience’, including those with autism, as well as family members or carers of those with autistic spectrum conditions.

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Social Sciences (Critical Autism Studies)

In Depth

What will I study?

The first semester provides an introductory framework to both your studies and social research methodologies.

You will receive a grounding in autistic spectrum conditions and be encouraged to view autism as a naturally occurring form of cognitive diversity.

Mapping the development of autism interventions, from early approaches to contemporary models of best practice, you will engage with current discussions and controversies.

The second semester will enable you apply your knowledge and understanding in practice through optional work-based learning and/or an international field trip. Alternatively, you can engage in self-directed learning, with the additional option of exploring child mental health and children’s social relations.

The final stage of the programme is a dissertation where you will carry out a supervised piece of extended social research on a relevant topic of your choice.

How will I study?

The programme is delivered via blended learning, with a combination of face-to-face discussions and online and independent study.

Taught sessions will be delivered in two-day blocks, held three times a semester per module, with the opportunity to participate in additional sessions via the virtual learning environment.

All seminars will be a combination of tutor-led and student-developed interactive learning. You will also engage with tutors on a one-to-one basis.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of workbooks, essays, reflective journals, independent projects and a dissertation.

There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this programme.

Who will be teaching me?

You will be taught by research-active staff who have expertise in autism studies. Some members of the programme team also have previous experience of working as social workers, youth workers, teachers and project workers prior to embarking on their academic careers.

A Great Study Environment

Two students, with an open textbook in front of them, make notes in a classroom in Creative Edge.

The Department of Social Sciences is based in Creative Edge, a state-of-the-art £17m building offering highly contemporary facilities for Social Sciences students.

The building features a lecture theatre, seminar rooms, IT facilities and smaller tutorial spaces. There are also social learning areas which encourage a more informal and interactive style of learning.

The department organises social activities, hosts speakers from a range of professions and organisations, and arranges specialist careers fairs and employability events.

Low Arousal Online Training

Studio III has been providing training in the use and application of the Low Arousal Approach for three decades. Professionals, support workers, carers and family members have been able to access workshops focusing primarily on practical, non-confrontational approaches to supporting individuals who experience significant stress and present behaviours that may be difficult to manage.  Training has encouraged support providers to focus on the person rather than the behaviour and try to understand the underlying causes of the behaviour, rather than viewing it as a problem that needs to be solved.  Course participants are also introduced to a range of proactive and reactive strategies as well as being given opportunities to reflect on their own behaviour and how this may impact the behaviour of others.  Time is also devoted to the development of effective coping strategies that can help support providers manage their own stress and anxieties around the individuals and behaviours they work with.

​As a result of current restrictions on travel and gatherings it is not possible at present to deliver Low Arousal Training in the traditional face to face format.  Studio III is able to access the Zoom (and other platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex) platform to deliver the key elements of the programme.

Low Arousal training is available in a number of formats:

1)     Introductory programme – Live, webinar-based training

2)     Advanced Low Arousal Training: Small group interactive training delivered online in small groups of up to 12 people

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