Autism Research Undertaken by Organisations other than Research Autism

Two women writing key points This page provides details of autism research studies being undertaken by organisations and individuals other than Research Autism.

Information on each study is normally posted on this page for a period of 3 months. It is also posted on our social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linked-In.

If you are involved in postgraduate research and would like us to help you with your study please download and return this form: Application for advertising for research participants

Please note that your study will need ethical approval from your university or other suitable body (such as the NHS) before being advertised.

We regret that we are unable to accept undergraduate research projects.

Thank you.

Early Sleep in Children with an Increased Chance of Developing Autism Spectrum Disorder 

The majority of children with ASD have chronic difficulties with sleep; yet it is not known how early in development these difficulties emerge.  

Our study charts the early sleep patterns of infants who have an increased chance of developing ASD. We are hoping to find characteristic patterns of sleep that may even aid early diagnosis.

The study uses a commercially available infant sleep monitor (https://monbaby.com/), which is entirely safe and easy to use. We ask parents to use the monitor for a few days a month for five months. We also assess infants’ general development before and after the sleep monitoring period; so all parents involved will learn more about their infant's sleep and development. Parents are not required to travel.

We would love to hear from any parents with a child on the autism spectrum and an infant under two years. Please email victoria.knowland@york.ac.uk for further details.

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Developing New Ways of  Understanding Planning and Organisational Abilities (“Executive Functioning”) in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

We are carrying out an online study looking at executive functioning in children with ASD. Executive functioning includes things like planning, organisation and working memory and research shows that children with ASD often find these areas difficult. We have designed a new questionnaire which we hope will help us better understand these difficulties and therefore improve the help available to children with ASD.

We are looking for parents of children aged 8-16 with ASD to complete our online survey which takes about 30 minutes. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win one of three £30 Amazon vouchers. Furthermore, for every completed survey from the first 120 respondents, a donation of £2 will be made to charity.

If you are interested in taking part, you will find further information about the study at https://opinio.ucl.ac.uk/s?s=47565

If you have any questions, please contact Laurie on laurie.ledger-hardy.14@ucl.ac.uk

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Piano and Autism

This research project aims to develop and test new strategies to promote engagement and musical development of children with autism and learning difficulties, using the piano.

The research is based on the 'Sounds of Intent' (SoI), a framework that has been specifically developed for children and young people with learning difficulties. While the SoI research has generated a number of resources for practitioners working with children with learning difficulties, little attention has been paid to the use of instruments, particularly the piano. This is a significant knowledge gap, as other studies suggest that the piano is a particularly suitable resource for children on the autism spectrum due to its immediacy, consistency and capacity to produce multiple sounds at the same time.

Participants who would like to get involved should go to www.soipianoautism.com. There are videos (piano strategies) on the website and an online survey attached to each of them. Participants should view the videos and then answer three short questions in relation to the video, which should take about a minute. You can watch and complete as many evaluations as you  like.

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Can Adults on the Autism Spectrum Infer What Happened to Someone From Their Reaction?

This research is interested in how people with autism figure out what happened to someone from their reaction alone, and if this differs to people without autism. As a more realistic task this should allow a better measurement of emotion recognition and understanding. The results of this research should be a more accurate measure of emotion recognition and understanding in people with autism. The research is an online questionnaire, taking approximately 40 minutes.

The research consists of 5 short parts:

1. Questions about you (e.g. your age, sex, employment, qualifications etc.)

2. Watch some short video clips of people’s reactions, and try to work out what happened to them.

3. Complete a questionnaire about your personality, likes and dislikes.

4. Complete a questionnaire about your emotions and feelings.

5. Work out what people are thinking from a picture of their eyes.

If you are interested, please visit the online questionnaire.

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Predicting Caregiver and Family Quality of Life

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison are conducting a study about caregiver and family quality of life for caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The study will look at caregiver roles and how they impact caregiver relationship satisfaction and caregiver mastery. We want to understand how these factors impact the quality of life for the caregiver and how the caregiver perceives they impact their family’s quality of life. 

Please follow the online link  if you are interested in participating in this study. 

If you have any difficulty with the link or if you would like additional information, please contact Kerry Thompson, Ed.S., M.S., NCC, by email at kthompson9@wisc.edu, and she will be happy to assist you.

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Social Confidence and Decision-Making in Autism Spectrum Conditions 

Would you like to take part in an online experiment on social confidence and decision-making?

We are looking for adults with and without autism spectrum conditions to take part in a short online experiment run in association with the University of Bath, UK. The research examines how social confidence affects decision-making and whether this is different for people with and without autism spectrum conditions (ASC). The findings will help clinicians to adapt current psychological therapies so they can better meet the needs of people with ASC who lack social confidence.

You can take part if you are aged 18 or over and English is your main language. We will not ask for your name or contact details. It takes 20-30 minutes and you can use a smartphone, tablet or PC with internet access.

For more information or to take part, please visit the study website

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ABC Autism and Bilingualism Census

Knowing several languages shapes the way people interact and the way they lead their social life. But how does it work for people on the autism spectrum, who can experience specific difficulties in social interaction? To answer this question we created the Autism and Bilingualism Census – ABC.

The ABC is an online survey for all adults over 16 years-old on the autism spectrum, whether they know one or more languages. Indeed, we are looking for both monolingual and multilingual participants. The ABC includes questions on general quality of life and social habits, as well as questions on language exposure and use. The ABC is a valuable tool to learn how, as an adult on the autism spectrum, knowing several languages impacts social life and skills. It will also bring to light a population often overlooked: bilinguals on the autism spectrum.

Taking part is very easy: simply follow the link to our online survey.

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Perception of Similarity and Difference in an Autistic Sample

I am an autistic student interested in investigating the link between the need for predictability, anxiety and sensitivity to change in the environment, which is commonly experienced by autistic individuals.

Males and females, aged 18+, with a diagnosis of ASD (including Asperger’s and high-functioning autism) are invited to take part in this study. Participation will take approximately 30 minutes and involve completing a change detection task, ‘Spot the Difference’ activity and 3 short questionnaires.

If you are interested in taking part, please follow the link to the online study.

Please note, following the link will take you to a more detailed participant information sheet which you can read before deciding to take part.

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Anxiety and Behaviour in Autism and Williams Syndrome

The aim of this project is to investigate behavioural difficulties and anxiety in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

The project has a specific focus on autism spectrum disorders and Williams syndrome.

By taking a cross-syndrome approach to studying behavioural difficulties and heightened anxiety in these two groups it will be possible to explore any relationships between these features that are specific to the syndromes. It will also be possible to investigate the relationship between these features in the child and parental mental health.

The project will contribute information that can be used in the development of targeted interventions to support individuals with autism and / or Williams Syndrome and their families.

This online questionnaire study requires parents of children with autism and / or Williams syndrome between the ages of 3-17 years to answer questions about their child’s behaviour and their own health and well-being. Parents are requested to access the online questionnaire and login with password Happy. 

You will then be emailed a further link to one final questionnaire to complete your participation.

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Social Behaviours in Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions

We are carrying out an online study measuring social behaviours used by autistic people and the impact that these have on wellbeing.

The study takes around 30 minutes and asks about your social behaviours, other personality characteristics, and your psychological and physical health and wellbeing.

The aim of the study is to test a new measure of social behaviours. We are also interested in seeing whether certain social behaviours are related to the wellbeing of autistic adults across all ages.

If you are aged over 18 and have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition, you are eligible to take part.

A link to the study with more information and a consent form can be found at https://uclpsych.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3O7aRsEvVeooytT 

If you have any questions, contact Laura at laura.hull.14@ucl.ac.uk

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Habitual Thinking in People with Autism Spectrum Conditions

We are interested in thinking in people with autism. Some research has said that people with autism are more likely to think in pictures than in words, and have more repetitive thinking, and we want to investigate this further. This has important implications for mental well-being in people with autism.

Participants will need to own an iPhone or Android phone and live within a 50 mile radius of the University of Bath. Participants will have one meeting at the University of Bath or another public place, followed by a period of five days during which they will be asked to make a brief record of their thoughts five times each day. Participants will have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw to win one of two £30 vouchers.

If interested please contact Steph Calley via email – shrc20@bath.ac.uk

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Understanding of Social, Romantic and Sexual Relationships and Behaviours in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This research will focus and assist in identifying how some of the characteristics of autism may have an effect on how social, romantic, and sexual behaviours and relationships are understood. This is based on the suggestion that an atypical understanding of the behaviours associated with social, romantic and sexual relationships may sometimes be behind inappropriate behaviours in these areas.

Previous research suggests that, due to an incomplete lack of understanding of the unwritten rules of social, romantic, and sexual relationships, individuals with ASD may be at risk of engaging in certain types of sexual offences, such as stalking.

By conducting this research, it is anticipated that an understanding of the specific behavioural and cognitive aspects that characterise the autistic spectrum and that may be associated with an atypical understanding of social, romantic and sexual relationships will be gained. The ultimate objective of this study is to inform the development of more adequate support for individuals with Autism mainly in terms of social skills training, sexual and romantic relationships education which specifically cater for the needs of this population.

If you are on the autism spectrum, you are 18 or over and you wish to to participate in this project, please email p.vital@bolton.ac.uk or lm28wss@bolton.ac.uk

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13 Apr 2017