The Network’s next event, Monday 6 March 4 pm: ‘Listening to the Views of Children with Autism.’

The Network’s next presentation will be given by Juliet Scott-Barrett, a PhD Candidate in Education, on ‘Listening to the Views of Children with Autism.’

When: Monday, 6 March 2017, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Where: Practice Suite (Room 1.12), Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15 George Square, University of Edinburgh

Listening to the views of children with autism

Children with autism hold important, perceptive, and thoughtful views and ideas . Researchers, practitioners, peers, and policy-makers stand at a disadvantage by not having access to, or listening to, the views of children with autism . Autism is a condition that may affect how an individual is able to navigate communicative interactions, and may influence how someone wishes to express their ideas . Children with autism experience barriers to actively engaging with research that elicits their views , and it is the researcher’s responsibility to address those barriers.

This research project looks into the techniques and approaches that help researchers elicit views in ways that aim to be meaningful for both the researcher and the child with autism. The project is a two-study research design to integrate perspectives from both essential contributors in a research encounter: researchers (Study 1), and participants (Study 2). The first study works with ten researchers with diverse expertise and experience in listening to children and young people with autism. The second study will work with children with autism using Lego and photography, to develop understanding about how to make research more meaningful for younger children with autism. This presentation will discuss the methods and data of my first study; I will discuss researchers’ perspectives on issues encountered whilst negotiating informed consent with young people with autism, and managing focus groups with young people with diverse communication preferences.


Conn, C. (2015). Essential Conditions for Research with Children with Autism: Issues Raised by Two Case Studies.Children & Society, 29(1), 59–68; Ellis, J. (2016). Researching the Social Worlds of Autistic Children: An Exploration of How an Understanding of Autistic Children’s Social Worlds is Best Achieved. Children & Society.
Humphrey, N., & Lewis, S. (2008). `Make me normal’. The views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Autism, 12(1), 23–46.; Preece, D., & Jordan, R. (2010). Obtaining the views of children and young people with autism spectrum disorders about their experience of daily life and social care support. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(1), 10–20.
Baron‐Cohen, S. (2009). The empathising‐systemising theory of autism: implications for education. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 14(3), 4–13..
Lewis, A. (2009). Methodological Issues in Exploring the Ideas of Children with Autism Concerning Self and Spirituality. Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, 13(1), 64–76.; Preece, D. (2002). Consultation with children with autistic spectrum disorders about their experience of short-term residential care. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30(3), 97–104.
Nind, M. (2009). Conducting qualitative research with people with learning, communication and other disabilities: Methodological challenges. Retrieved from


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