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Join our database

We are currently recruiting both children and adults to take part in our research. If you would like to add your details to our research database please click on the link below. By adding your details to our database, we will be able to contact you with information about studies that you or your child may be eligible for. You can then decide whether or not you would like to take part.

In addition to obtaining data from individuals with a diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions (ASC), we need to be able to compare the results to those obtained from individuals without a diagnosis of ASC. Therefore you, or your child, can also contribute to our research even if you (or they) don't have a diagnosis of ASC.

Join our Autism database - Child

Join our Autism database - Adult

Studies recruiting now

Improving post-diagnostic support for autistic adults

Suzy Crowson

What is the study?

In this study we are looking at the support autistic adults receive after being diagnosed. We want to hear about autistic peoples' experiences of post-diagnostic support and whether the support on offer could be improved, particularly via the NHS. We hope this research will be used as an evidence base to improve services to ensure that post-diagnostic support truly meets the needs of autistic adults.

Who are we looking for?

We are recruiting autistic adults who received a diagnosis as an adult (18+) from a UK service within the last ten years to take part in this study.

What does taking part involve?

Taking part will involve contributing to 3 two-hour online workshops OR completing a series of 3 online questionnaires. The workshop dates and further details are given on an online form where you can register your interest.

How do I express my interest in the study?

Please complete this Google Form to express your interest and receive further information. Please note that there are a limited number of spaces available at the workshops. We wish to gain input from a broad range of individuals hence if the workshops are over subscribed we will prioritise places to those from groups traditionally under-represented in autism research. If you cannot take part in the workshops, but would like to contribute to the study, there is an option to take part via completing online questionnaires.

What if I need more information to decide?

Further information will be sent to you about the study when you express your interest via the Google Form, please use this to decide whether or not you would like to participate. If you have any further questions about the research, please email me.

Lead researcher: Suzy Crowson   E-mail: s.crowson@sheffield.ac.uk  

Project principle investigator: Dr Megan Freeth; Project co-investigator: Dr Daniel Poole

 

Autistic adults' experiences of unemployment and underemployment: An interview study

Laura Smethurst

A recent government report highlighted autistic adults are least likely to be in employment of any other disabled group, and those who are employed are predominantly in roles underutilising their skill level (underemployed). Employment provides financial benefits, increases independence, social status, and self-esteem; all of which have positive effects on mental health. This project therefore aims to better understand the lived experience of being unemployed and underemployed as an autistic adult.

Who are we looking for?

Adults (aged 18+), with a diagnosis of Autism, who completed formal education up to 15-16 years old and are actively seeking work but are current unemployed or self-identify as someone who is underemployed.

Unfortunately, you do not meet criteria if you also have a diagnosis of a Learning Disability (LD) and/or ADHD, are not actively seeking work, or are not fluent in English.

What does taking part involve?

If you wish to take part, you will be asked to take part in an interview about your experiences of unemployment and/or underemployment via Google Meet (online video platform) lasting approximately 60 minutes.

How do I participate?

If you wish to take part, please email Laura to express your interest and to receive further information.

Lead researcher: Laura Smethurst   E-mail: lsmethurst1@sheffield.ac.uk  

Project supervisor: Dr Megan Freeth

 

Providing effective support to autistic people in the workplace

Holly Rowland

What is the study?

This project is investigating how to effectively support autistic people in the workplace. This study involves gathering information from employers on their current knowledge and experiences of autism and employment in the form of a survey. The results from this survey will then be used to produce information booklets giving advice to employers on how they can best support their autistic employees.

Who are we looking for?

If you are currently involved in a human resources role or the hiring or line management of employees within your organisation, you are eligible to take part in this study.

What does taking part involve?

Completing a 20 minute survey, or a shortened 5 minute version.

How do I participate?

Follow this link to complete the survey

At the end of the study, you will have the opportunity to enter your email address. If you choose to do so, you will be provided with an information booklet containing practical advice on how to provide effective support to your autistic employees.

If you have any further questions about the research, please email me.

Lead researcher: Holly Rowland   E-mail: hmrowland1@sheffield.ac.uk  

Project supervisors: Dr Megan Freeth and Nick Pearson (Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service)

 

Autistic women's experiences of pregnancy: an interview study

Charlotte Grahame

Project summary: There is limited research regarding autistic women's experiences of pregnancy. This research project aims to address this gap in order that services can be more appropriately tailored to autistic women.  We aim to explore this using interviews to talk about your experiences. We would like to recruit females with a formal diagnosis of autism, who are aged 18 years or older and have been pregnant within the last 16 years. Participation involves taking part in an online semi-structured interview that can take up to 60 minutes.

Lead researcher: Charlotte Grahame   E-mail: Cgrahame1@sheffield.ac.uk    Project supervisor: Dr Megan Freeth

Note: If you would like further information, please e-mail Charlotte

 

The impact of SOX11-syndrome (2p25.2 deletion): an interview study

Louis Stokes

Project summary: SOX11-syndrome is a recently discovered condition reported to impact different aspects of life, including cognition and behaviour. Due to the recent discovery of this syndrome, we do not fully understand the impact that it has on the individual or caregivers. It is hoped that through understanding the impact of this syndrome, better interventions can be put into place to support the individual and their family, and professionals in education and healthcare settings can be better informed about the outcomes of the syndrome. This research will speak to the caregivers of individuals with this syndrome and will explore what impact it has on multiple areas, including development, education, and family life. Participating in this study involves taking part in a semi-structured interview lasting approximately 60 minutes.

Lead researcher: Louis Stokes   E-mail: lsstokes1@sheffield.ac.uk    Project supervisors: Dr Megan Freeth and Dr Alisdair McNeill

Note: If you would like further information, please e-mail Louis

 

 

Volunteering to take part in ourresearch can sometimes be done online. However, some of our projecs  require a visit to our lab which is located in the department of Psychology, in the University of Sheffield. Our experience is that volunteers really enjoy their testing session, and find it exciting and fun to be part of a research project.

VIEW A MAP

A lab visit usually takes 2 to 3 hours, and typically involves:

    Working on cognitive tasks, often on the computer, i.e. looking for targets on the screen (e.g. a red triangle) and pressing a button when you’ve seen it.

    Interacting with the experimenter, i.e. engaging in age-appropriate conversation / turn-taking, story telling, problem solving etc.

    Parents / caregivers will be asked to complete a couple of questionnaires about the participant’s social skills and developmental milestones.

Some studies may also involve recording EEG, or measuring eye-movements while working on the cognitive tasks. For more information about these techniques, please see below.

EEG


Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a harmless and painless procedure that involves placing a sponge covered hairnet on the head. The sponges record electrical activity conveyed from the brain to the scalp, and provides important information about how the brain responds to different stimuli. The sponges contain gel so your hair may get a little messy!

Our experimenters are well trained in using these techniques with children, including children with ASC, and the protocol can often be adapted for a particular child's needs, so if your child would like to take part, chances are that they will be eligible, although of course we'll discuss it with you first to make sure. All of our studies receive full ethical approval from the appropriate ethical review committee, and information about what any particular study involves will be given before you decide to take part.

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking records exactly where you are looking when you are completing different tasks, this helps us to understand how the attention and perception system works. If the experiment involves working on a computer, a small device will sit just below the computer screen and will track what you are looking at during the experiment. If the experiment involves moving around or talking with an experimenter, you will wear a pair of lightweight glasses which contain a mobile eye tracking device and record your eye movements via infra red cameras.

 

Who can I contact if I have a question?

Please e-mail : sharl@sheffield.ac.uk if you have any questions

Contact details for individual researchers can be found on your participant information sheet.