Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the Meeting of Minds IV conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. I really enjoyed the conference, which had an admirable focus on looking at autism across the whole lifespan, and some excellent speakers including Pat Howlin, Liz Pellicano and Richard Mills. There were some particularly inspiring talks by Michelle Dawson, a researcher based in Canada who spoke eloquently about the need to meet the highest standards in research study design and direction.
One way of meeting the highest standards in research, is to involve the community in the research agenda. This is what is happening with an online survey set up by the Centre for Research in Autism and Education in London (to whom I must attribute much of the text of what follows!). The survey is part of the Re-Mapping Autism Research in the UK project currently being carried out by CRAE in partnership with Research Autism. Re-Mapping seeks to summarize the current state of autism research in the UK, identify any gaps in current research and pinpoint priorities for the future. Importantly, this project allows those with an interest in UK autism research – parents, autistic people and those who work with people with autism (including researchers) – to have their say on current autism research. The resulting report will have a significant impact on policy and research funding.
I’d like to encourage any readers of this blog post to complete the online survey, which takes about 10-15 minutes, and to circulate it to other members of the community. The survey can be accessed here. It gives autistic people, their family members, the professionals who work with them, and autism researchers the opportunity to have their say on current autism research and, importantly, about their hopes and aspirations for future research.