ShARL's Goals 

For many with ASC the world can be an overwhelming place. This is caused in-part by differences in perception and attention which result in hyper-sensitivity to certain types of stimuli, e.g. noise or visual patterns, and a reduction in the ability to filter-out irrelevant aspects of the environment leading to sensory overload. The research carried out by ShARL focuses on developing a better understanding of perception and attention in those with ASC in an attempt to identify techniques that will enable the strengths afforded by this perceptual style to be harnessed, and the difficulties to be reduced.

The lab has grown considerably over the last five years, and we are now tackling a range of research topics including: variability and heterogeneity in the autism phenotype; public perception of ASC; social attention in ASC; autism in adulthood; and markers of neural excitation and inhibition that may represent biomarkers for ASC. Since 2014 we have also started to investigate the cognitive and behavioural profile of other neurodevelopmental conditions including Sotos syndrome, Russell-Silver syndrome and 16p11.2 deletion and duplication. 

The lab benefits greatly from interaction with members of the local community; in particular those of you who have generously donated your time to participate in research studies. We’ve also learnt a great deal from the speakers at the Distinguished Speakers in Autism Series, and from chatting to attendees after the events. We’re lucky in Sheffield to have great collaborations with local teachers and clinicians who provide very useful insight into our research program, and also to have enthusiastic and hard-working students who want to work with us. To everybody who has been involved and help us achieve what we’ve achieved so far: thank you.  

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