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Edge Hill University has launched a new Master’s programme designed to encourage students to think critically about how autism is currently understood.  

The University’s Department of Social Sciences is now accepting applications to study the new MA in Critical Autism Studies, which will offer a contemporary approach, informed by critical social research,  in order to develop a greater appreciation of the experiences of people living with autism. 

Despite the introduction of the Autism Act in 2010, autism and the issues affecting autistic people continue to be misunderstood and many professionals in health social care and education receive little training on autism. This course seeks to go someway towards addressing these gaps in knowledge and understanding.  

Dr Allison Moore, Reader in Social Sciences and Programme Leader, said: “This course will appeal to a wide range of learners, from those who are newly graduated or have relevant work experience within the health and social care sector through to ‘experts by experience’, whose expertise comes from their lived experiences as an autistic person or a carer of an autistic person. 

“The underpinning ethos of the programme is that autism should be understood, not as a form of a deficit or disorder, but as a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference.” 

The new programme is suitable for a wide range of learners from academics to graduates, practitioners and families who want to deepen their understanding of the autistic experience. 

Suitably qualified autistic students are especially welcome to study the course in an accommodating and neurodivergent-friendly environment, with the aim to build on the research and literature produced by autistic people. 

Internationally renowned academic and external examiner for the course, Dr Damian Milton, said: “I am excited about this new course which offers students a broad and in-depth view of autism. Contemporary issues and practical support strategies in the field are covered, alongside research methodologies, while also giving primacy to critical and sociological perspectives that have previously been underrepresented in autism studies. I would thoroughly recommend this course.” 

Students will learn about the wide range of current issues facing autistic people, such as media and cultural representations and it is accessible to learners with employment or caring commitments. The course will also include work-based learning modules, with alternatives for students not employed within the sector.  

To find out more information about the new MA in Critical Autism Studies, please visit the website.