This introductory week of the course has provided you with an overview of autism, highlighting key facts, and also just how much remains to be discovered. You have seen how the concept of autism has evolved since Kanner's and Asperger's early work, and in light of the variability which has emerged, how autism has come to be known as a spectrum. The importance of basing claims about autism on reliable sources of information has been demonstrated. Systematic methods such as experiments and surveys play a key role in furthering knowledge; insider accounts by people on the spectrum are also crucial in enhancing understanding. You will have noted that some ways of discussing, explaining and engaging with autism are highly contested, especially concerning whether it is a disorder, condition, or just a form of neurodiversity, and the related issue of whether autistic people need to be ‘cured’.
You should now be able to:
- evaluate and update your own knowledge of autism
- express a general overview of autism and why it is considered a spectrum
- understand different ways of gaining evidence and insights into autism
- appreciate some different experiences of autism
- understand key milestones in autism history.
Next week you will look at the different features of autism in more detail, giving particular attention to characteristic profiles of difficulties and strengths, to difficulties which may accompany autism, and to how things may change as children develop.
Now you can go to Week 2.