EDUC 759 : Inclusive Practices for Neurodiversity

Education and Social Work

2024 Semester One (1243) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A critical analysis and application of educational approaches to neurodiversity centred on children and young people’s inclusion, belonging and learning across education settings. Provides an opportunity to critically examine concepts and ideas relating to neurodiversity and their implications for and application to education policy, teaching practice, and approaches to learning support.

Course Overview

The term ‘neurodiversity’ describes the diversity of human minds and brains that can be found amongst all of us. This course provides an opportunity to critically explore, engage with, and reimagine conceptions of and responses to neurodiversity from a strengths-based position. We consider:
1. What is neurodiversity?
2. As a teacher, SENCO, Learning Support Coordinator, principal or affiliated professional, what should I know about neurodiversity?
3. What differences can multiple understandings of neurodiversity make to teaching practice in Aotearoa?
4. How can we use these understandings alongside theory in our own practice to improve the experiences of students and their whānau?
Neurodiversity is a term that can mean different things to different people. Often neurodiversity is associated with a range of other labels used to describe children as particular types of people or learners, and to determine particular approaches to assessment, teaching and learning.  You will learn to take a critical approach by exploring the perspectives of disabled people, whānau, teachers, theorists and researchers, and by developing knowledge of theory and research that supports your growing understanding of neurodiversity and diverse students' experiences across education settings. The implications  for policy, teaching practice and learning support that enhances belonging and learning in inclusive contexts are explored throughout the course. You will have the opportunity to research a related topic that is of particular interest and relevance  to you and your work setting.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the various conceptualisations of the term neurodiversity (Capability 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 6.1)
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of inclusion and equity in education (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 6.1, 7.1 and 7.2)
  3. Critically analyse the relationship between theory, policy and practice in the area of inclusive education and neurodiversity (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1 and 8.3)
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of collaborative ways of working with students, colleagues, whānau and other community members to enhance children’s and young people’s belonging and learning (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 4.1, 4.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3)
  5. Plan, prepare and implement inclusive approaches to assessment, teaching and learning that enhance students’ belonging and learning in education settings (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 7.1 and 7.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
essay/context analysis 40% Individual Coursework
Inquiry proposal and annotated bibliography 20% Individual Coursework
Inquiry report 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
essay/context analysis
Inquiry proposal and annotated bibliography
Inquiry report

To pass in this course students must gain an overall mark of at least 50%

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30-point course.

A typical semester including the study/exam period totals approximately 15 weeks. On average, students are expected to spend 20 hours per week in each 30-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can reasonably expect each week to comprise 2-4 hours of online and face-to-face lectures and related content, 4-6 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 8 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled weekly classes. We will be joining our online colleagues via Zoom.

Lectures will be available as recordings.

The course will include live online events including group discussions and these will be recorded.

This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.


Attendance is expected at scheduled online weekly classes. We will be joining our on-campus colleagues via Zoom.

The course will include live online events including group discussions and these will be recorded.

Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement. Additional reading material may be provided throughout the course.

This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

A highly recommended book for this course is:
Carrington, S., Saggers, B., Harper-Hill, K. & Whelan, M. (2021). Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum in Inclusive Schools: A Practical Guide to Implementing Evidence-Based Approaches. Routledge.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Overall students have commented favourably on all aspects of the course.  The course includes students from across the sectors from early childhood through to secondary education.  A greater focus is being placed  on readings and other course content in 2024  that is clearly relevant to the early childhood sector. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.