Regular readers will have seen that we have recently closed recruitment for the Click-East project, which is the study for which this website was set up. However since starting that study I have become involved with a wider variety of research projects, as is the way for someone just beginning their first permanent University job (hurrah!). We have asked families participating in Click-East for permission to contact them again about future research projects, but while Click-East is on going I’d rather leave them to have a bit of breathing space. The exception was a recent call (again see previous blog post) for input into a survey about the future UK autism research agenda, which seemed like such a worthwhile opportunity. But on the whole, I do try to contact my participating families only when necessary and if I think the research opportunity is really exciting or important.
Nevertheless, I also want to support my colleagues, as a number of new projects are starting up and – as always – one of the most significant barriers to success is getting participants in. Especially difficult when you’re looking for a hard-to-reach group like babies, or siblings of children with autism. Please have a scan down the list of projects below, and get in touch if you’re interested in hearing more about any of them!
- TUKS (Taiwan-UK Siblings project): a questionnaire based study looking at the experiences of brothers and sisters of children with autism. How do these neurotypical young people cope with the stresses of family life? How are these coping strategies different in Taiwanese and UK cultures? This study is looking to recruit families who have a child with autism and another, non-autistic brother or sister aged 9-18 years old.
- Infant Lab: an eye-tracking study with babies aged 6-12 months. Eye-tracking is completely non-invasive and involves children just sitting on their parent’s knee and watching pictures and cartoons on a TV screen. Easy peasy! Best of all, the information we gather from these normally-developing babies will later be used to help us understand cases where development is not typical, and infants face obstacles as they grow up.
- LaerLab participant network: The LaerLab is a research group at the University of Edinburgh with a shared interest in: learning, technology, design and accessibility. Group members create and evaluate educational technologies and toys for various groups ranging from pre-schoolers, to older adults, and including children with autism spectrum disorders. We are now trying to put together a network of participants who are interested in testing new software and hardware. Participants can be based all over the world – we might send you some graphics to look at, or a link to an online game to try out. We’re interested in signing up children of all ages and their parents, members of the autism community, teachers, clinicians and anyone else with an interest in LaerLab work. In the short term, anyone interested in coming to Edinburgh to do some “beta-testing” of games for pre-schoolers with autism in March, please get in touch now!