Module Catalogue

SPE8311 : Advanced Communication practice for school-aged children with autism (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Cristina McKean
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To build upon students’ previous experience, and introduce up-to-date theory about the use of communication interventions for school-aged children with autism. Participants will use this knowledge to reflect on their current practice, synthesize the best evidence with their professional experience, and apply this to their own context through:
A review of current best practice;
A critical reflection on how to involve the child, family, carers’ and teaching staff to develop good practice;
The completion of a workplace project.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. What does good communication practice for school aged children and young people with autism look like?

Considering what constitutes evidence, and reviewing the communication approaches and interventions which are supported by research.

Exploring ways we can involve pupils, parents and carers using a social model of intervention.

Sharing experiences of good collaborative practice, embedding communication practice in schools and creating enabling communication environments.

Reflecting on practice and identifying an area to investigate.

2.       How can we start to evaluate our practice in the workplace?

An introduction to the action research model of small scale practitioner research used in education.

Gaining a clear understanding of how to engage in a period of fact-finding or reconnaissance to explore a ‘problem’ or an area of practice for change, as the first phase in this cycle.

Drawing up an action plan for this investigation to be carried out as a project over a 6-8 week period.

Understanding the need to record findings and on-going reflections using a reflective journal or portfolio of evidence.

3.       What have we learned from our experience of the project and where do we go next?

Reflecting on the process of engaging in the reconnaissance project.

Presenting findings and reflections to peers, giving and receiving peer feedback.

Reflecting on the next steps to developing both practice and practitioners’ learning.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion142:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:306:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork81:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1130:00130:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be plenary lectures which present an overview of current best communication practice in autism spectrum conditions, and the action research model of small scale practitioner research. They will also be used to introduce student to key concepts such as a social model of intervention, involving pupils, parents and carers in intervention and collaboration with teaching staff. Seminars will give students the opportunity to discuss the evidence in relation to their own experience, knowledge and practice and share experience and ideas about the issues raised. Group learning will provide students with the opportunity to develop and apply new knowledge and skills to their own practice. Fieldwork will require students to apply new knowledge and skills to investigate an area of their clinical practice.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M15500-1000 word report of reflection on reconnaissance phase (see details below)
Essay1M653,000 word essay (see details below)
Written exercise1M201,000 word action plan (see details below)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Other Assessment Details:

Report of reflection on reconnaissance phase: 500-1000 word report (based on the evidence collected during the project in the form of a journal or portfolio) which summarises the student’s initial reflections at the end of the project.

Assignment (3000): 3000 word essay which will explain how and why they identified an area of practice to investigate further, detail how they investigated it and discuss their evaluation of the project with reflections and recommendations for change to future practice.

Action plan (1000): 1000 word action plan in table form detailing how and when actions could be implemented in the future to introduce a change in practice.

Rationale and relationship of assessment methods to learning outcomes:

The report (15%) will summarise their on-going reflections made whilst carrying out the work based reconnaissance project. It will require the students to reflect on the process of critically evaluating an area of their own practice. The assignment (65%) will require the student to explain how they identified an area of practice that was a problem or an area for change, having reviewed the evidence about current best practice in communication interventions for children and young people with autism, in relation to the appraisal of the role of the practitioner in involving the pupil, carer in the intervention, or as a result of recognising effective method of collaboration with teaching staff. It will detail how they planned and implemented a reconnaissance project to explore this area of their practice and it will also require the students to explain their findings and to critically evaluate their project. The action plan (20%) will identify a future course of action to implement a change in practice with clear links to both the research evidence regarding communication practice for this group, as well as the findings of their own project.

Reading Lists