Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Learning together, working together? The impact of multi-professional postgraduate education on practice in the field of autism spectrum

Keywords: Autism, Collaborative learning, Multi-professionalism

Author: Mrs Charlene Tait (National Centre for Autism Studies, University of Strathclyde)

The Multi-professional postgraduate certificate, diploma and Masters in autism aims to develop professional practice in the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is the first course of its kind in Scotland. This programme of study has been available on a part-time basis from the University of Strathclyde since 1998. In this period students from a range of professional disciplines from the health, education, social work and voluntary sectors have studied alongside each other. Individuals with ASD and parents of children and adults with ASD have also participated. This paper will draw on student feedback and practice experience to highlight the benefits of the multi-professional model including the perceived impact of ASD specific postgraduate education on practice. The multi-professional, collaborative learning environment and the methods used to promote effective teaching and learning will be explored. The inclusion of individuals with ASD,parents and other family members adds an interesting dimension to the collaborative ethos of the course. Challenges and benefits that arise from this will be discussed.

This presentation will be of interest to policymakers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines as it makes a strong case for multi-professional training that is open to the involvement of service users and other individuals who are directly affected by specific issues. The focus is on training related to the autism spectrum however the insights offered support the case for multi-professional training in other areas.

Date: Thursday 24 January 2008, 2.30-3.00

Venue: Ochil One

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).