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Autism-Learning Disability Core Knowledge and Skills

Module titleAutism-Learning Disability Core Knowledge and Skills
Module codePYCM086
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Alex Boyd (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The Psychological Therapies for Children and Young People with Autism and/or Learning Disabilitycurriculum has been developed as part of the Child and Young People Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme (CYP IAPT). Both parents and clinicians agree that CYP with Autism and Learning Disability often do not receive the psychological help they deserve because those trained in delivering evidence-based therapies feel inadequately trained in adaptations of these to CYP with Autism or Learning Disability diagnoses and those with significant experience of working with these groups are insufficiently trained in evidence-based methods of therapy. This curriculum complements existing CYP IAPT curricula in specialist psychological therapies and the Enhanced Evidence-Based Practice (EEBP) curriculum. It focuses on ensuring that clinicians and practitioners are familiar with the best-evidenced practice for the treatment of children or young people with Autism or learning disabilities. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module can be accessed as a stand-alone 20-credit module or as part of a Graduate/Postgraduate Certificate programme to educate professionals from the multi-agency setting (heath, social care, education or 3rd sector) about the core features of Autism, Learning Disabilities and associated conditions. It covers relevant legislation, medical and social models of disability and practice as well as covering the types of reasonable adjustments required in practice to meet the needs of this group. The age range covered is 0-25 years. It is expected that all those taking the later modules will also take this module. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Investigate the aetiology and presentation of children and young people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and children and young people with a Learning Disability
  • 2. Describe in detail conditions that commonly co-occur in children and young people with ASD and Learning Disability

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Explain the critical modifications needed in clinical practice when assessing and treating children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disability
  • 4. Critically evaluate the relevant legislation and the critical theoretical foundations that inform approaches to working with children and young people with Autism and Learning Disabilities, including an awareness and understanding of the social and biological models of disability

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Reflect on your personal practice, set personal learning goals and evaluate progress
  • 6. Communicate understanding of theory and its application to practice in written and verbal formats

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will be taught one day a week through workshops and lectures with plenty of opportunities for discussion of clinical issues through simulation and problem-based learning. The module will cover:

  • typical child development;
  • knowledge of Autism and Learning Disabilities including relevant aspects of legislation and context;
  • differential diagnosis and common co-morbidity/co-occurring conditions;
  • social models of disability and practice;
  • modification of practice/therapy/assessment.

All sessions will include reference to literature, including research into outcome as well as embedding knowledge in clinical case materials to ensure transferability of knowledge and learning. 

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching33Teaching will be a combination of whole group lectures with small group work, combining didactic, experiential and discussion methods of teaching and learning aimed at increasing the knowledge of the participants (5 x 5.5 hours)
Guided independent study83Preparation of assignments
Guided independent study34Reading and preparation for teaching and development of knowledge for assessment
Guided independent study50Padlet-style interactive online learning which includes reading and preparation for workshops and tutorials as well as reflective practice and consolidating knowledge


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Padlet (online platform)-style work which will contain an online assessment by way of answering questions and demonstrating knowledge1500 words1-6Brief written summary

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written applied knowledge-based theory essay (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)1002000 words 1-6Brief written summary detailing feedback from each section of the marking criteria


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written applied knowledge-based theory essayWritten applied knowledge-based theory essay1-6Four weeks after written feedback

Re-assessment notes

One assessment is required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module and as a consequence you will be failed in the programme and your registration as a student of the University will be terminated.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Autism in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis, NICE guidelines [CG128] Published date: September 2011
  • Challenging behaviour and learning disabilities: prevention and interventions for people with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges, NICE guidelines [NG11] Published date: May 2015
  • Autism in under 19s: support and management, NICE guidelines [CG170] Published date: August 2013

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page: (all resources will be made available on ELE. This includes additional material covered in the tutorials, the required readings, information about assessment and additional material.)
  • MindEd resources to supplement teaching

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Autism Spectrum Conditions, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASC, ASD, learning disability, LD Key Skills, CYP IAPT

Credit value20
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date