Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

At a time of rapid ongoing change in society and education, the role of an educator or allied professional with specialist knowledge and skills is critical to helping all children, especially those with diverse and/or atypical needs to attain the knowledge and skills they need for successful, lifelong learning. In this unit, students will  draw together the key theoretical explanations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that help explain the learning and behaviour style of students on the spectrum. Exploring particular strategies and interventions for students on the spectrum that are effective for use in the wider school community and the classroom whilst discussing their validity for use across a wide range of environments. The key constructs to be addressed are Theory of Mind, Weak Central Coherence, deficits in Executive Function; attention capacity and social-information processing.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the culture of Autism and the skills and ability to apply interventions and strategies to assist students on the spectrum.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Evaluate and apply current curriculum research relating to children/students with Autism (GA4, GA8; APST (HA) 2.3)

LO2 - Apply analytical and critical thinking with investigating key constructs, learning styles and interventions (GA4; APST (HA) 2.2, 3.1)

LO3 - Communicate knowledge gathered from the literature to develop meaningful and appropriate interventions (GA7, GA9; APST (HA) 1.1)

LO4 - Apply reflective analysis on teaching practice for children/students with Autism (GA4, GA5; APST (HA) 1.2)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.1 Physical, Social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

1.2 Understand how students learn

Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

2.2 Content selection and organisation

Exhibit innovative practice in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs.

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

3.1 Establish challenging learning goals

Develop a culture of high expectations for all students by modelling and setting challenging learning goals.


Topics will include

  • The Culture of Autism: Theoretical Constructs
  • Theory of Mind
  • Weak Central Coherence
  • Deficits in Executive Function
  • Behavioural and Social Aspects of the Individual
  • Attention capacity and social-information processing
  • Interventions (behavioural, developmental, combined, medical, family and other)
  • Structured teaching techniques
  • Visual supports;
  • The physical learning environment;
  • Prompting;
  • Reinforcement and motivational techniques;
  • Specialists and Resources
  • NDIS, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Neuropsychologists, Physiotherapists, Integration Aides, Special Education

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit delivery will consist of on-line modules with the expectation of students working with these materials for a minimum of three hours per week. In addition, a 3-day face-face program during weekends or school holidays will be held to address key content and opportunity to observe students on the spectrum.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the teaching period, comprising directed tasks and self-study. An emphasis is placed on pre-service teachers as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student-centred.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes. In addition, the tasks represent an opportunity to align with the particular needs of students and their professional contexts. 

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve a minimum of 50% in all assessment tasks. All assessments will be conducted in accordance with ACU guidelines relating to student conduct and ethics in this area. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Students will submit an analysis of the theoretical explanations of Autism Spectrum Disorder, including presentation of classification systems


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Students will investigate varying strategies for intervention and their appropriateness in class and school settings.


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Beth, A., Beth, B., & Gennaro, P. (2011). More behavior solutions in and beyond the inclusive classroom. Arlington, TX.: Future Horizons.

Brukner, L., & Liebstein, L. (2018) Simple stuff to get kids self-regulating in school: Awesome and in control lesson plans, worksheets, and strategies for learning London; Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Denning, B., & Moody, A. (2018). Inclusion and autism spectrum disorder: Proactive strategies to support students. New York, NY: Routledge.

Gallo-Lopez, L, & Rubin, L.C (2017). Play-based interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hume, K., & Reynolds, B. (2010). Implementing work systems across the school day: Increasing engagement in students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Preventing School Failure, 54(4), 228-237.

Lawrence, C. (2019) Teacher education and autism: A research based practical handbook. London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Mesibov, G., & Howley, M. (2016). Accessing the curriculum for pupils with autism spectrum disorder. Using the TEACCH programme to help inclusion. New York, NY: Routledge.

Notbohm, E. (2019). Ten things every child with autism wishes you knew (3rd ed.). Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.

Odom, S.L., Collet-Klingenberg, L., Rogers, S.J., & Hatton, D.D. (2010). Evidence-Based practices in interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. Preventing School Failure, 54(4), 275-282.

Whitcomb Marsh, W. (2018). The ABCs of autism in the classroom: Setting the stage for success. Arlington, TX: Future Horizon.

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