Short course

Autism Spectrum: Directions for Parents and Carers

Online course details


£175 (includes VAT)

Next course date

Open now


5 units, 3 hours of study per unit

CPD hours

15 CPD hours


Self-guided online learning



Online course description

There is a great need for further understanding of autism. A recent study by the National Autistic Society (NAS) showed that while the vast majority of people have heard of autism, very few show a detailed understanding of it. One of the reasons that autism is sometimes misunderstood is that the overall expression of the characteristics of autism, in all its forms, can differ considerably. Children diagnosed with autism, even if they are the same age, may look very different from each other in the manifestation of behaviours.

This course, aimed at individuals with a close relationship to those who encounter different manifestations of autism, is a practical guide to recognising, identifying and responding to this spectrum of behaviours.

Real life case studies, filmed and written, allow course participants to observe and learn to interpret behaviour as well as formulate suggestions for interventions with the ultimate goal of reducing challenges through lessening disruptive behaviour and nurturing a degree of independence.

This course has been designed in conjunction with our alternative Autism Spectrum: Directions for Education Professionals course. Both of the courses cover the same concepts and principles surrounding the autism spectrum, and students should only study this course once.

Who is the course for?

Though open to anyone, this short course is ideally suited to individuals with a close relationship to those diagnosed with autism who would like to improve their ability to recognise, identify and respond to autistic behaviour. In particular, this course would be suited to:

This professional development course will provide you with:

Introducing Autism Spectrum: Directions for Parents and Carers

View Autism Spectrum: Directions for Parents and Carers video transcript

Structure, certificates and assessment

You will study this course 100% online. It comprises a range of activities including:

There is no obligation for you to undertake every activity, but being involved in all aspects of the course will help you to achieve the learning objectives that have been outlined in the course.

There is no graded assessment. Instead, you will receive a badge for each completed Unit, and then upon completion of the whole course, you will be awarded with an e-certificate.

An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

The CPD standards office CPD provider

Course units

The course is made up of 5 units, each will require approximately 3 hours of study.

Unit content is guided by professionally recognised theory and evidence:

This unit provides an overview of what autism really is. You will begin to explore the wide array of behaviours associated with autism and start to recognise these behaviours. As part of the course activity you will reflect on the individuality of autism and describe how you define autism through your ePortfolio.

Building on the areas explore in Unit 1, Unit 2 looks at autism in combination with other diagnoses: comorbidity. You will explore 5 behavioural themes with a specific focus on the communication theme. Using case studies you will add new perspectives and diversity to the definition of autism and how we can interact with it.

During the third unit you will focus on the individual with autism regarding their internal and external context, considering factors such as age groups, gender and socio-economic factors. Professor Simon Bignell will discuss the impact these factors have on potential interventions.

Unit 4 uncovers different intervention strategies and highlights their strengths and weaknesses. Previous activities throughout the course will enable you to link possible interventions to behaviours.

The last unit allows you to discover what help is available to you as a parent or carer. You will be able to find help and guidance in how to choose the right solutions for your child.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:


A flexible course that fits in with working and family life

This student led course runs throughout the year and is delivered 100% online, allowing you to flexibly manage your studies around work and family commitments. The course content is interactive through online activities and exercises along with self-reflection to assess subject understanding. Our online short courses are designed to be intellectually stimulating, thought provoking and rewarding.

Fees and funding

Fee: £175 (includes VAT)

Course requirements

The course is widely available for anyone to take part in regardless of age, location or education status.

However, there are some basic requirements. You will need access to the internet whether it is on your PC, tablet, mobile or other electronic devices, as well as a valid email address to register with our online learning environment in order to take part in the course.

You will need to agree to the terms and conditions before you start the course which will be available when you enrol.

Learners should have an understanding of the English Language and the ability to study in English.

How to enrol

All of our short courses are delivered through an easy-to-use online learning platform, which you can enrol from directly.

Dr Simon Bignell
Course author

Simon is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby; a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society; and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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If you want to find out more about studying a short course, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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