Theories, Diagnosis & Assessment of Autism - TZ534

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 30 (15)




Only available for Tizard UG students



The module will explore the characteristics, explanations of causes and current understanding and theories of autism. It will examine the historical and current approaches to autism spectrum conditions. Students will be able to critically analyse the major theories of autism spectrum conditions, including psychological, biological and neuropsychological theories of autism spectrum conditions. Students will also be introduced to the methods and tools used to diagnose autism spectrum conditions and will gain an understanding of their uses and effectiveness.


Contact hours

This module will be taught through blended learning via materials on Moodle. As part of the programmes this module contributes to, students attend campus for one workshop at commencement of the academic year and a further workshop to undertake exams and have additional lectures.Blended learning features online forum and chat discussions, case-study work, individual tutorials (typically conducted via skype or telephone), group exercises, videos, guided reading of text-based materials and study questions.

Method of assessment

The assessment methods for this module comprise one 5,000 word essay (60%), one sixty-minute MCQ/short answer exam (25%) and assessed contribution to online discussion forum (15%).

Indicative reading

Attwood, T. (2007) The Complete Guide to Asperger's syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Baron-Cohen, S (2008) Autism and Asperger Syndrome: the facts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bogdashina, O. (2006) Theory of Mind and the Triad of Perspectives on Autism and Asperger Syndrome: a view from the bridge. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Boucher, J. (2009) The Autistic Spectrum: characteristics, causes and practical concerns. London: Sage.

Frith, U. (2003). Autism: Explaining the Enigma (second edition), Oxford: Blackwell.

Waltz, M. (2013) Autism: a social and medical history. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Learning outcomes

• Demonstrate a critical understanding of autism – its characteristics, causes and theories regarding its origins and nature
• Demonstrate a critical understanding of diagnostic methods and other assessments
• Critically consider the personal, social and other effects on the individual and those around them regarding receiving a diagnosis of autism
• Demonstrate an understanding of how to effectively and respectfully share knowledge concerning autism with others
• Show the capacity to draw critically on both published, and their own, assessment, intervention or evaluation strategies
• Understand and communicate complex, abstract concepts or data
• Use information technology (word processing, email, internet use, online learning resources) to effectively complete tasks
• Effectively manage time to meet deadlines
• Recognise issues relating to equality and diversity through the use of non-discriminatory language

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