Autism course

UPDATE 23/08/17

The below post was written in 2010 and I'm not sure that the same course offering is still available.

You can however now study The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice for free.


The Open University is offering a free Open Learning (non-credit bearing) course in Autism.

The course includes:

Living with autism
Key concepts for this unit
Discussing people with autism
Identifying and diagnosing autistic conditions
Principles of diagnosis
Diagnostic criteria for autism
Other points for diagnostic consideration
Problems and benefits of diagnosis
Mapping the autistic spectrum
History of the spectrum concept
Continuum or sub-types?
Savant skills
Growing up with ASD
Explaining autistic conditions: the socio-cognitive level
Do people with autistic spectrum disorders lack a theory of mind?
Developmental origins of theory of mind
A distinctive sub-group?
Theory of mind and self-awareness
Central coherence and cognitive style
Emotions, relatedness and the developmental process
The family context
Explaining autistic conditions: the biological level
Are there genetic factors in autistic spectrum conditions?
Do organic influences play a role in autistic spectrum conditions?
Causal links and models
Helping people with autistic spectrum disorders
Intervention approaches
The myth of ‘miracle’ cures
Evidence-based practice
Developments in early identification
Treating behavioural symptoms
Developing socio-cognitive skills
Biological treatments?
Integrated approaches
It has lots of information from the history of autism to diagnostic techniques to living with the condition.  Great for boosting your knowledge and understanding of the condition and/or passing onto friends and family members.

Access the course for free here.

If you enjoy this course, you may wish to consider the OU's more in-depth, credit-bearing Understanding the autism spectrum course.  This course has a fee, but there are various funding options available so it might not cost you anything.