Unit 01: Introduction to autism

Unit 01 Overview: Introduction to Autism

Welcome to the unit on an Introduction to autism as part of the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism course. This unit serves as your foundational guide to gaining a comprehensive understanding of what autism is, its various theories, and the critical processes involved in diagnosis.

Assessment Criteria

1.1. Describe the following social and communication disorders:

  • autistic spectrum condition
  • Asperger syndrome
  • high-functioning autism (HFA).

1.2. Explain how autism can be considered as a spectrum condition.

1.3. Explain why it is important to recognise that autism is a lifelong condition.

Unit Content and Learning Outcomes:

Understanding the Spectrum:

  • Gain a clear grasp of the autism spectrum, including its manifestations and diversity of autistic traits among individuals.
  • Discern between different expressions of autism – uncover that no two people with autism are alike.

Theoretical Frameworks:

  • Dive into prominent theories about the development and causation of autism.
  • Analyse how these theories have evolved and influenced perception and treatment.

Diagnosing Autism:

  • Learn about the diagnostic criteria for autism as defined by leading health organisations.
  • Familiarise yourself with diagnostic tools and assessments used by professionals in identifying autism in children and adults.

Misconceptions & Myths:

  • Challenge common myths surrounding autism to foster greater empathy and understanding.
  • Correct mistaken beliefs that can lead to stigma or inappropriate responses toward those with an autistic condition.

Co-occurrence With Other Conditions:

  • Explore conditions that commonly occur alongside autism, such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, or sensory processing issues.
  • Understand how co-existing conditions can affect individuals with autism differently than those without autism

Teaching Methodology:

Throughout this unit, interactive methods will ensure robust learning. We’ll delve into case studies, engage in discussions, analyse video materials for observation skills enhancement, and reflect on perspectives via guided reading activities. Our aim is not just factual knowledge but also compassionate understanding conducive for professional practice.


To gauge your mastery of this unit’s material, you will complete written assignments reflecting your theoretical knowledge application. Practical assessments via scenarios may be included to show your ability to identify characteristics consistent with an autistic profile.

By completing this unit, you will emerge equipped not only with essential theoretical knowledge but also a readiness for practical interaction and support strategies relevant for working alongside individuals on the spectrum across various settings within health care and education sectors.