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University of Birmingham

Attention and Autism

University of Birmingham via FutureLearn


Build strategies to meet the needs of children with autism

As more people are diagnosed with autism, it is very likely that a teacher will have to teach an autistic child at some point in their career. Research has shown that adapting strategies to meet the needs of autistic children can benefit all children in a classroom.

On this four-week course from the University of Birmingham, you’ll explore the concept of attention and its impact on autistic people. Given the potential benefits of attention on broader academic attainment and inclusion, this course will help you develop tools to assess and teach attention in autistic children at school.

Explore attention control and sustained attention on the autism spectrum

Attention control is comprised of several relatively high-level cognitive mechanisms, all of which are critical for learning.

This course will guide you through the ideas of attention and its links to neurodivergence such as autism and ADHD. You’ll look at studies showing the different ways that attention can be improved in students with poorer sustained attention.

Discover techniques and technologies to support attention training

Technology seems so appealing for many individuals with autism and can significantly help with attention and learning. Technology can be a useful educational tool in a teacher’s toolbox to use based on pedagogical decisions, especially for children with autism.

You’ll explore the various technologies used to support autistic children’s learning, as well as the research studies and evidence on the topic.

Dive into Computerized Progressive Attentional Training program

Throughout the final week of this course, you’ll focus on the Computerized Progressive Attentional Training (CPAT) program and how you can use CPAT to support attention training in autism.

This course is designed for teaching staff as well as anyone working with individuals with autism.


  • Introduction to autism and attention
    • Welcome to the course
    • Introduction to autism
    • Introduction to attention
    • Summary
  • Attention and learning in autism
    • Welcome to week 2
    • Introduction to attention and learning
    • Attention in autism
    • Summary
  • Technology and attention training
    • Welcome to week 3
    • Technology as a useful tool to teach individuals with autism
    • Cognitive training
    • Summary
  • Computerised progressive attentional training (CPAT)
    • Welcome to week 4
    • The SEARCH activity
    • The CPT activity
    • The GLOBAL/LOCAL activity
    • CPAT Instructions
    • Implementation
    • Summary

Taught by

Lila Kossyvaki


4.5 rating at FutureLearn based on 26 ratings

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