DCU welcomes scholarship applicants for the newly accredited Master of Education in Autism
April is International Autism Awareness month and DCU, the world’s first Autism friendly university, is offering a number of fee scholarships for applicants to its newly accredited Master of Education in Autism.
This part-time programme has a uniquely practical focus and is specifically tailored to meet the needs of educators who want to develop evidence informed expertise to facilitate inclusion for young people with autism in primary, post-primary, or special schools.
This programme is especially timely given the rapid increase in the number of young people with a diagnosis of autism in the education system in recent years, with the NCSE (2015) reporting a total of 14,000 such pupils. Importantly, this also includes an 83% increase between 2011-2016 of pupils on the spectrum receiving SNA support within mainstream schools.
An outcome of these changes has been that many teachers find their role has changed significantly, with special classes for pupils with autism often comprising multiple SNA staff working alongside the teacher. Close collaboration with specialist colleagues within whole school approaches to supporting inclusive practice are also increasingly common in mainstream schools. In addition, many young people with autism often need a range individualised supports or specialist teaching approaches to enable them to access education.
The Masters of Education in Autism (MEdA) is led by staff from the School of Inclusive and Special Education at DCU's Institute of Education, leaders in the field who contribute to policy and research in Ireland and beyond. The programme is blended to make it accessible to the needs of teachers, with a focus on developing graduates who are teacher researchers with a deep understanding of the educational needs of pupils with autism. The role of evidence-informed practice in the classroom, innovative approaches to collaboration, and whole school approaches to supporting inclusion will be emphasised.