Understanding autism
Understanding autism

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.


This free course was written by Dr Ilona Roth and Dr Nancy Rowell.

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence.

The material acknowledged below and within the course is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons Licence). Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this free course:


Figure 1: Lisa McKelvie/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Figure 2: © The Open University

Figure 3: from Barton, M. (2012) It's Raining Cats and Dogs Book p43 published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers www.jkp.com

Figure 4: ANDERS KRUSBERG / PEABODY AWARDS https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by/ 2.0/ deed.en

Figure 5: © Stephen Wiltshire

Figure 6: © Jessica Park

Figure 7: courtesy: Jon Adams

Figure 8: The Open University


1.0: Video: Arabella about her daughter Iris Grace: © The Open University

Activity 1 (1): courtesy Surrey Autism Board http://www.surreypb.org.uk/ surrey-autism-partnership-board.html

Activity 1 (2) Think Differently about Autism: Misunderstanding: courtesy National Autistic Society

Activity 1 (3) Think Differently about Autism: Socially awkward: courtesy National Autistic Society

Video: (3 clips) Arabella talking about Iris Grace © The Open University

Video: (2 clips) Alex talking to Dr Ilona Roth: © The Open University

Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners. If any have been inadvertently overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

Don’t miss out

If reading this text has inspired you to learn more, you may be interested in joining the millions of people who discover our free learning resources and qualifications by visiting The Open University – www.open.edu/ openlearn/ free-courses.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371