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Autistic Students and Education: Creating an Inclusive Classroom

Explore the experiences of autistic students and learn how to create inclusive and enabling educational environments.

Autistic young student drawing on a worksheet with a few coloured pencils in an inclusive classroom.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 4 of 4
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Unpack education policy and common difficulties for autistic students

This four-week course will help you develop your understanding of the experiences of autistic people as you delve into common issues in education such as bullying and school refusal.

You’ll examine these obstacles to education to help you reflect on what autistic learners may encounter and how to help improve their experience.

You’ll also explore key legislation and education policy to understand what we should be doing according to policy, and what still needs to change.

Discover strategies for supporting autistic students in the classroom

To help address the barriers to education for autistic people, you’ll explore how to create enabling learning environments.

You’ll think about reasonable adjustments that could be made, including addressing sensory aspects of environments, before exploring a range of approaches to provide support in the classroom.

Gain specialist knowledge from experts at the University of Kent

Your learning will be guided by autistic and non-autistic academics at the University of Kent, who’ll share their expertise on how we can better support autistic students.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to support and enable the voice of autistic people. Through this advocacy, you’ll be empowered to take action to support the autistic voice.


  • Week 1

    Education legislation

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course. To begin, we'll introduce ourselves and you'll have a chance to think about what you already know about education and autism.

    • Legislation

      In this activity we consider legislation related to education.

    • Legislation in practice

      Having looked at some of the key legislation, we now consider how it relates to practical experience. Image by woodleywonderworks https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/, CC BY 2.0

  • Week 2

    Experiences and issues in education

    • Experiences of education

      George and Damian discuss their own experiences of education - at school, at university, and as parents

    • Issues in education

      In this activity we consider issues for autistic people in education - both as students and as parents. Image by Erlich Bachman via hdwallpapers.net, CC BY-SA 3.0

    • Social identity

      In this activity we discuss the role of autistic social identity. Image by Nick Youngson, http://www.nyphotographic.com/ via Alpha Stock Images, http://alphastockimages.com/ CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Week 3

    Learning environments

    • Sensory differences

      In this actvity we think about autistic sensory differences, particularly with regard to educational settings.

    • Enabling learning environments

      In this activity we examine principles underpinning good practice when supporting autistic people in education settings, thinking about how to create enabling learning environments.

    • Good practice

      In this activity you are invited to discuss how you would go about evaluating an educational setting for its support for autistic learners. What would you be looking for as 'good practice'?

  • Week 4

    Supporting autistic students

    • Support in practice

      In this activity we think about practical issues in the support of autistic students, discuss the SPELL framework, and introduce two case studies.

    • Approaches to support

      In this section we look at different approaches to support

    • Reflections

      Reflections on legislation (Image: DayakSibiriak, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Create enabling learning environment for autistic students
  • Identify legislation relevent to autistic students
  • Reflect on what good practice looks like and the barriers to implementing it in practice
  • Describe the importance of autistic social identity
  • Apply your knowledge to improve the sensory environment for autistic students
  • Discuss the ethical issues around different approaches to support

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of autistic experiences of education. It will be particularly valuable for autistic people, their family members, and professionals working in education or related areas.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

About this ExpertTrack

Increase your understanding of autistic people through an exploration of autistic experiences in key areas.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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