Social Psychology of Autism :Advanced - TZ873

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 3)
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7 30 (15)


This is a compulsory module.

The programmes of study to which the module contributes:

Autism Studies MA
Autism Studies PG diploma

Full-time students on the PGDip and MA autism programmes are required to take all the other distance learning academic modules (TZ863D, TZ830D, TZ862D, TZ866, TZ867 and TZ865) alongside this one. Part-time students will take this module alongside TZ866, TZ863D and TZ830D in year one. They will completeTZ862D and TZ865 in year 2. Students will also complete TZ867 across both years. Students on the MA in autism studies will also take TZ994.





The aim of this module is to teach advanced facts about the nature and origins of autism, including definitions, epidemiology, biological, social and environmental causes and autism specific interventions. This module will build on the knowledge of characteristics and needs of people with autism (including co-morbidities), set within the wider context of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whist TZ866 introduced students to intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism, this module will expand this knowledge to include the critical understanding of the research evidence around intervention in autism. Theories used to explain autism will be discussed in depth, with students supported to critically interrogate the evidence base. The knowledge and understanding developed will be used to compare and contrast approaches to intervention and draw intelligent conclusions about policy and practice. Issues from across the lifespan will be addressed, including early intervention.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 240
Total study hours: 300



Method of assessment

100% coursework comprising:

Assignment/essay 5,000 words – 50%
Examination (1 hour) – 13%
Online forum/seminar participation - 37%

Indicative reading

Attwood, T. (2007) The complete guide to Asperger's syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley publishers

Fein, D.A. (2011). The neuropsychology of autism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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

Frith, U. (2008). Autism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grandin, T (2006) Thinking in pictures: My life with autism (second edition), London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Hobson, P.R. (2012) Autism and the Development of the Mind (second edition) Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kutscher, M.L. (2005) Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger's, Tourette's, Bipolar, and More! : The one stop guide for parents, teachers, and other professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Schopler, E. (2001). Treatment for Autism: From science to pseudo-science or anti-science. The Research Basis for Autism Intervention. E. Schopler, N. Yirmiya, C. Shulman and L. M. Marcus. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Tantam, D. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders through the lifespan. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

• Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of current theories of autism (including being familiar with the research evidence) and an in-depth understanding of which skills and difficulties seen in autism are accounted for by current theories
• Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the evidence-base around the assessment and diagnosis of autism in UK services
• Demonstrate a critical understanding of the research basis for intervention in autism, and have an appreciation of the strength of evidence for autism-specific interventions
• Assess the impact of comorbid conditions and vulnerabilities such as mental health
• Demonstrate a critical understanding of issues across the lifespan for people with autism and their families, including education and transition to adult life and the impact of policy

The main outcomes for this module are subject specific, however, on completion of this module students will also be able to:

• Use the research literature as the main source of information on each of the topics studied
• Use IT resources to follow up what they hear in lectures and what they read in the web-based material
• Summarise their reading coherently in order to contribute to web-based discussions
• Work with others in online forums to prepare and discuss topics
• Organise and manage their studying independently with support from tutors

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