Autism Research

Not all of the DART research is focused on autism, but a lot of it is designed to work with and for the autism community to develop better, evidenced-based understanding and support. A selection of projects is listed here – please visit the individual project pages to find out more.

Some projects on this site are:

  • The Engaging in Autism Research (EAR) study aimed to canvas opinion from the autism community on the desirability, focus and ethics of early autism research, using an online survey to reach over 2500 practitioners, teachers, parents and autistic adults across 11 European countries.  You can download this accessible report for participants and a peer-reviewed journal article will be available very soon.
  • The Autism Simulator project was an attempt to build an online tool to help people without autism understand some of the sensory experiences experienced by people on the spectrum. You can read more about the project and try out the simulator here.
  • Our survey of employers explored the hypothesis that one way to get people with autism into employment is to offer training to employers. Indeed, we found that those employers who had the best knowledge of autism were also more likely to employ autistic people and felt more confident about doing so. We think these data indicate that more of the focus should be on employer training rather than on skill development with autistic people.
  • CLICK-EAST stands for ‘Computer-based Learning in Children: the Edinburgh Autism Social-attention Trial’.  The CLICK-EAST project is a research study in which we developed a new iPad App for children with autism, designed to help them learn and practice basic social and communication skills in a fun way. The results of this study have now been published in this open access journal article and you can see a video abstract describing the work here.
  • TUKS is the Taiwan-United Kingdom Siblings Project.  This project is a large-scale questionnaire based study which is looking at cultural differences in how young people are affected when they have a brother or sister on the autism spectrum. The project has recently been submitted as a thesis by Joy Tsai and together we are writing up the results for a journal too.  You can download a poster providing an overview of the project here as well as the TUKS UK summary report which was shared with study participants.
  • AWARE was a one-day knowledge exchange event held in Edinburgh in September 2012.  The focus was on the design, implementation and dissemination of technologies for people with autism spectrum disorders.