Free MOOC on autism support launched by University of Bath

Teachers are encouraged to sign up for a free four-week course by the university and FutureLearn, aimed at improving support for children with autism

‘SMART-ASD: Matching Autistic People with Technology Resources’ is the latest MOOC (massive, open, online course) designed to equip carers and practitioners with skills and new ideas that can be used to help young people living with autism. For the first time ever, the four-week course is available for learners in Spanish, Valencian and Turkish.

The MOOC was officially launched by HRH The Countess of Wessex at an event at the University of Bath on Wednesday 1 November.  You can sign up here

Drawing on the expertise from the University of Bath’s Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) and run via the FutureLearn platform, the course explores how new apps can best help children living with the condition.

Raising awareness of autism

As well as increasing awareness, the MOOC will help direct people to solutions and advice for those interacting with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Intellectual Disability (ID).

Significantly, this includes introducing parents and teachers to free SMART-ASD app that helps assess the needs of autistic children and to identify the most suitable technology to assist their individual requirements.

Director of the Centre for Applied Autism Research, Professor Mark Brosnan, explained: “The online course is ideal for anyone who has a family member with autism or works with someone with autism – whatever the level of prior experience.

Professor Mark Brosnan, Director of the Centre for Applied Autism Research, Uni of Bath, with HRH The Countess of Wessex

“The issue today is not the lack of digital technologies offering support for autistic people, but how to find the best match between the person’s needs and capabilities with the available technological solutions.

“As a colleague with an autistic daughter said, ‘a child with autism only has one childhood,’ which highlights the need to identify the most appropriate technologies for each child.”

Learning and recognising the signs of autism

Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn, added: “We’re very proud to be working with the University of Bath on such an important initiative. There is increasing research and interest about how technology can help individuals with autism so we’re delighted to provide the technology platform to help carers, teachers and parents to find out about this latest thinking, to learn how to recognise the signs of autism and to get advice and insights about the solutions out there. 

“We also hope that the social element of our platform creates a supportive environment where learners can share and learn from each other’s experiences.”

The course is one output of an international collaboration with researcher Gerardo Herrera from the University of Valencia funded by ERASMUS+. 

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