Students on the autism spectrum deserve high quality education. High quality education recognises students’ dignity, builds on students’ strengths, and is grounded in high expectations, self-determination development and use of evidence-based practices. This will upskill all relevant practitioners to provide high quality education to students on the autism spectrum in any educational setting.


Arts, Design & Architecture


School of Education

Delivery Mode



07 March 2023


2 weeks

Time commitment

25 hours



What will I learn?

This course will cover two broad domains:

  1. Evidence-Based Practice for Social and Communication Skills and Sensory Issues
  2. School Transitions, Collaboration with Families, and Life-Span Perspective.
    • Evidence-based practices you can apply in class to support students on the autism spectrum
    • Which technologies you can access to support communication difficulties

    Topics include:

    • The prevalence of autism
    • Common misconceptions about people on the autism spectrum
    • The diverse terminology and classification used in relation to autism
    • The importance of language we use with people with disabilities
    • Social interaction patterns related to autism and ritualised repetitive behaviours
    • Sensory issues often experienced by people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan
    • Communication difficulties and the technologies to support them: i) alternative and augmentative programs (PECS and Makaton); ii) mobile devices (tablets, smart phones).
    • Evidence-based practices you can apply in class to support students on the autism spectrum
    • Strategies you can use to support home-school collaboration

    Topics include:

    • The learning characteristics and needs of school-aged students on the autism spectrum, and strategies and adjustments to support them
    • Transitions to and from school, particularly focused on student involvement in Individual Educational/Transition Plan (IEP/ITP) development
    • Resilience in families, siblings, and grandparents of people on the autism spectrum
    • Supporting the collaboration between home and school.

How will I learn?

The course will be delivered online and include 2 live sessions + self-paced guided modules. 

The live sessions are scheduled for:

  • 07 March 2023 | 9am-12pm
  • 21 March 2023 | 9am-12pm

The time commitment required for this course is 25 hours across 2 weeks.

The course features a strong emphasis on learning in action, incorporating individualised expert guidance, rich, lived experience accounts, guest speakers, and collaborative reflective routines spread across a two-week period.

Who should take this course?

Teachers have been described as facing “unprecedented pressure” due to soaring disability rates, with the number of students on the autism spectrum increasing by almost 15 per cent per year. Added to this, “there are fewer staff trained to support them as the number of special education graduates fall” (Baker, 2019).

This course is ideal for teachers and school learning support officers in mainstream classes who support students with autism and who may have little or no formal training in special and inclusive education. 

Who is leading this course?

Professor Iva Strnadová

Iva Strnadová is Professor in Special Education and Disability Studies at School of Education at UNSW Sydney. Her research aims to contribute to better understanding and the improvement of the life experiences of people with disabilities, especially those most marginalized, such as people with intellectual disabilities.  Combining research with advocacy is essential in her research program, which builds on supporting the self-determination (including self-advocacy) of people with intellectual disabilities, and is grounded in an innovative inclusive research approach, in which people with intellectual disabilities are included in the role of researcher.

She has a particular research interest in the well-being of people with developmental disabilities (intellectual disabilities and autism) and their families over the life span, diverse transitions in lives of people with disabilities (particularly intellectual disabilities and autism); girls and women with intellectual disabilities; parents with intellectual disabilities; people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities, and inclusive research.

Dr Joanne Danker

Dr Joanne Danker is a lecturer in Special Education at School of Education at UNSW Australia. Her research interests include the well-being of students with developmental disabilities (i.e., autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities), and using innovative research approaches such as Photovoice to enable the authentic voices of the often silenced and marginalised children with disabilities to be heard. Prior to her academic career, Joanne worked as a mainstream primary school educator in Singapore for 10 years.


Teachers who complete this course can then undertake further assessment in a microcredential unit for Recognition of Prior Learning for postgraduate study.


Baker, J. (2019, February 20). NSW schools face 'unprecedented' levels of disability. Sydney Morning Herald.

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