Empowering People, Launching lives


Find examples of previous research requests that have been shared on our website. Where possible we will share the outputs of the research.

Jump to 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Attending school is not always easy. Can you help make school a better place?

This research aimed to contribute to the literature relating to autistic young people’s experiences of school and recognises the importance of their environment in contributing to school attendance.

Coronavirus and SEND

The study focused on how children with special educational needs and disabilities are feeling during the Coronavirus outbreak and how parents/guardians would like to be supported. Read their findings here.

The experiences and mental health of students with autism attending UK secondary schools with a specialist provision, and their parents during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

The purpose of this study was to gain an understand of how children with autism and their parents experienced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

The Experiences of Fathers in Families where two or more Children have a diagnosis of Autism- An interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

February 2020

This study aimed to explore the experience of being a father to children with autism. Participants werebe invited to take part in an interview of up to an hour. For more detail about the research read the participant information sheet.

Gastrointestinal symptoms and anxiety levels in autism

March 2020

The aim of the study was to investigate the nature of gastrointestinal symptoms and anxiety levels in children with autism. Results of the study can be found here.

Post-16 pathways and outcomes for autistic young people

March 2020

The Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute of Education in association with Ambitious About Autism carried out a research project about the impact of the changes in post-16 education for autistic young people and their families in England since the introduction of an important law called the Children and Families Act 2014.

Autism Research Survey

March 2020

The survey was developed to gather feedback on people’s experiences with autism and in particular on how they view their child’s strengths and unique characteristics. In addition, they were asked about their personal health and well-being and confidence in managing specific behaviours of their child.

Exploring the experience of being a mother with autism

April 2020

The study explored the experience of mothers with autism around parenting on a daily basis and to include them as co-researchers in moving the field forward.

Autism and Bullying in Childhood Online Study

May 2020

This online study sought to understand the experiences of bullying that individuals with autism had during childhood.

A study on parent experiences of the assessment process in their child’s diagnosis of autism

June 2020

The study looked to explore the experiences and feelings of parents whose children have been diagnosed with autism, specifically their experiences of the assessment process.

Participation of Children with Autism – Emphasis including Associations and Impacts of Environment, Sibling Comparisons, and links to Sensory Behaviour

June 2020

The purpose of this study was to look at the possible facilitators and barriers in natural, play-space environments for children with ASD. It also looked at the sensory aspects of the environment that support and inhibit the child’s participation in play. Download the participant information sheet for more information.

Exploring the effects of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown on the social development and communication skills of children diagnosed with autism

September 2020

The main purpose of this project was to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown in the UK, on the social development and communication skills of children with autism and examine if various aspects of lockdown are associated with a change in social-communicative behaviour. Click here to read the results of the study.

How has lockdown impacted on the wellbeing and behaviour of children with autism?

September 2020

This research project aimed to explore the impact that the recent Coronavirus lockdown has had on the wellbeing and behaviour of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

By utilising Brownhills Ice Cream Cone Model (2017) three lines of enquiry informed the interview structure and research questions:

  1. Has lockdown caused changes to the child’s routine?
  2. Have there been any changes to the child’s wellbeing, or level of anxiety?
  3. Has there been an increase / increase in severity of challenging behaviour during this time?
The experience of young people who identify as transgender and have autism

November 2020

The research looked into the views of young people who identify as transgender or non-binary and have a diagnosis of autism. The research was interested in finding out about their experiences, including at school.

To find out more about the research download the participant information sheet which is also available in accessible format.

The effects of COVID 19 on the cardiovascular health (Heart health) of children with autism


The Institute of Technology Carlow, Ireland conducted a survey to find out about the cardiovascular health (heart health) of school going children with autism and the effect that COVID-19 related restrictions has had on this aspect of their health.

Participating in an improv comedy intervention for autistic adults: exploring the benefits and impact on anxiety

January 2021

This project explored the benefits and impact for people with autism using improv comedy training on anxiety and their lives. It focussed particularly on the impact participating in the classes might have on levels of anxiety, tolerance of uncertainty, and any other benefits people experience, as well as people’s views about the classes more generally.

A study to investigate whether the level of social skills exhibited by children with autism differs between specialist schools and mainstream schools

February 2021

This research involved a questionnaire for parents/carers of children with ASD (aged 3-11), and asked questions related to the social skills their child exhibits.

Educational practitioners’ and caregivers’-reported behavioural changes in children with ASD during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK

February 2021

The research aimed to explore the perceived behavioural changes occurred in children with ASD during the Covid-19 lockdowns in the UK.

The effect of friendship quality on mental health in children diagnosed with autism

February 2021

The aim of this study was to explore the influence of friendship quality on mental health in children diagnosed with autism.

PAREint: Testing a Novel Parenting Intervention for Autistic Children

March 2021

This study compared two ‘structured communication techniques’ that have been suggested to improve communication skills in children with autism. The main purpose was to assess how well parents and children are able to use these techniques at home. For more information on the study download the information sheet.

Exploring early educators’ knowledge of play-based strategies for Autism spectrum conditions

April 2021

This study explored the current understanding that early educators have about play-based teaching strategies for autism spectrum. The study sought to answer the following questions:

  • What teaching strategies are early educators currently aware of?
  • How confident are early educators in carrying out play-based strategies?
Navigating educators’ wellbeing during uncertain times

April 2021

This project aimed to provide the Department of Education and the whole community of education with an evidence-based perspective on what is working well in schools to support staff wellbeing and identify the factors which may be contributing to challenges for wellbeing during these challenging times.

Exploring the experience of BAME* parents who have children with autism and co-morbid disorders: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

April 2021

There is little research about how autism is experienced in BAME communities in the UK. Families in BAME communities face additional challenges, compared to their white British counterparts, and your insight into this is extremely valuable. This research intended to help develop more culturally sensitive support in the future. For more information, download the information sheet.

*The researcher recognises that many people do not identify with the term ‘BAME’ as it groups many diverse ethnicities and cultures together. BAME is used widely in academic research and for administrative purposes so for the purpose of this research it is the term that has been chosen. The researcher will acknowledge specific ethnicities in the dissertation to highlight the diverse range of ethnicities and heritages taking part in the study. A full explanation of terms will be included in the final research piece.   

Recent lockdown restrictions and the social development of children with autism

May 2021

The purpose of this study was to explore the impacts of not regularly attending school, not seeing friends and the disruption to routine on the social development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Sibling relationships and influences on autistic children’s/adolescents’ feelings

May 2021

Children’s relationships with their siblings play a significant role in their social, emotional and psychological development. Although numerous studies have been conducted on the relationship between siblings, very little is known about the relationship between siblings when a sibling has autism spectrum conditions. This study aimed;

  • to investigate how the relationships between siblings differ in a cross-cultural context,
  • to examine how sibling relationships affect children’s feelings,
  • to test the potential factors that play a significant role between sibling relationships and children’s feelings.
Parental experiences when caring for a child on the autism spectrum during England’s COVID-19 lockdown. A qualitative analysis

June 2021

The aim of this study was to examine the experiences of parents of autistic children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including experiences of stress and coping with restrictions and lockdown.

Identity development for autistic people and supporting young people who face identity challenges

July 2021

The research aimed to explore the views of young autistic people on their personal and social identities and how they identify with and align themselves to autistic and non-autistic culture, when they are interacting online and offline. It also looked to explore the extent to which any differences relate to psychological wellbeing/difficulty.

Parental and Professional Knowledge and Perceptions of ABA

August 2021

The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between professional knowledge of ABA concepts and principles and their perception of ABA and parental/caregiver knowledge of ABA concepts and principles and their perception of ABA.

Specific phobias in children with learning disabilities

August 2021

Specific phobia is an extreme fear of a specific object, animal or situation which is so overwhelming that it interferes with everyday life. The study aimed to find out what treatments are routinely offered to children and young people with moderate to severe learning disabilities and a specific phobia. The survey was part of a larger study about the treatment for specific phobias for children and young people with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

The preschool brain imaging and behaviour project (PIP)

Summer 2021

This research, conducted by King’s College London, is the first Europe-wide study on brain development in pre-schoolers. Their goal was to better understand how differences in brain development are related to a child’s social, emotional, behavioural and cognitive development.

Experiences of conducting practice-based research amongst behavioural practitioners

September 2021

Researchers at the Tizard Centre (University of Kent) and BeyondAutism designed a survey to find out how behavioural practitioners view research, whether and how they use research in their practice, and their experiences of conducting practice-based research in the field.

Investigating the Feasibility and Impact of Just Dance on Social-Communication Skills in Young Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

September 2021

Researchers at the University of Essex conducted a study that aimed to understand the feasibility and effectiveness of playing the well-known exergame ‘Just Dance’, on the social development and communication skills of autistic children. The intervention involved playing the Just Dance game twice a week for 6 weeks, with assessments occurring before and after the intervention.

Wellbeing in Autistic Young People and their Families

October 2021

Adolescence and young adulthood are a time of huge physical, social and emotional change for young people. Young people with autism likely have a very different experience of this age compared to their neurotypical peers, however very little is known about their well-being and mental health through these years. Therefore, this study aimed to learn more about the wellbeing of young people with autism, in order to develop understanding of autism across this age period.

An exploration of cosplay in autistic children and young people

January 2022

This research sought to raise awareness of the play – life experiences of autistic individuals to lead to better understanding, higher inclusivity, and focused support.

Safer online lives: use of the internet & social media by people with Intellectual Disabilities

January 2022

The research looked at the risks, barriers, benefits and opportunities of internet usage for adults with intellectual disabilities. More information can be found in this flyer.

An analysis of quality of life for 18 to 22 year olds with intellectual disabilities living in London: How do students with intellectual disabilities rate their quality of life and what factors impact their views?

February 2022

This study was designed to examine the factors that might affect quality of life for 18-22 year olds with intellectual disabilities and what they view as either barriers to success or positive supports. The goal of the research was to contribute qualitative data on quality of life from the perspective of the individuals being supported.

Parents’ views of care accessibility for their children with autism or additional needs; a qualitative study

February 2022

The purpose of this study was to identify the views of parents of children/young people with additional needs hold about the accessibility of childcare. The intention was to identify the key themes that come up when discussing how these parents have managed their childcare needs and what things may be able to be put in place to support them.

Parent Carer Wellbeing Study

March 2022

The Parent Carer Wellbeing Study was a national survey of parent carers in England looking to help researchers develop better support for carers in crisis.

The study was being led by the University of Exeter and the survey was co-designed by carers.

Social and romantic relationships of adolescents and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders

May 2022

The project explored sexuality knowledge and experiences of romantic relationships in young people. The study looked at different groups of young people, neurotypicals, autistic young people and young people with ADHD and ASD co-occurring with ADHD.

Exploring parents’ understanding of the cyber risks associated with autism.

June 2022

The study sought to explore any worries or concerns parents of autistic individuals have about their young person’s online activities. It also sought to explore the parents’ knowledge and understanding of the potential online risks for autistic individuals.

Understanding languages choices for bilingual families with children with developmental conditions

June 2022

Research found that knowing more than one language is good for children’s development. Yet some bilingual parents of neurodiverse children worry about using more than one language with their child.

This study aimed to find out more about these bilingual families. It aimed to understand how parents choose to use one or more languages with their child(ren), and why.

Emotion descriptions in children with and without autism

July 2022

This study investigated whether children on the autism spectrum show differences in their descriptions of their own emotions, compared to children without autism. The study will contribute to our understanding of how children make sense of their own emotions, how that relates to their understanding of other people’s emotions, and to their behaviour.

Do autistic individuals understand the police caution?

July 2022

Research reveals that comprehension of the caution is limited in several populations. This research looked into the comprehension of the police caution in individuals with autism.

Autistic Preferences: functioning labels

July 2022

The study focused on autistic preferences regarding functioning labels (i.e., do you agree with them or not, and why). Autistic people are not homogenous and may have various preferences regarding terminology about themselves. Language preferences around autism itself have been clearly stated in prior research for British autistic people. Hence, it is vital to ask about other terminology. Therefore, the study aimed to address this regarding functioning labels.

What is important for young people in school?

August 2022

Researchers from The Centre for Neurodiversity and Development at Durham University looked at what school success means and what is important for autistic and non-autistic pupils in mainstream secondary schools.

Use of coaching in primary and secondary education for teachers: a rapid systematic review and stakeholder consultation

September 2022

The purpose of the project was to explore the use of coaching in primary and secondary schools in the UK and to conduct a rapid systematic review of the existing evidence relating to coaching teachers in primary and secondary education.

Exploring the experiences and therapeutic needs of autistic children

September 2022

*This research covers sensitive issues including physical abuse*

The aim of this research was to understand and respond to the therapeutic needs of children with autism who have experienced physical abuse. As people with autism are more likely to suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences, including abuse, there is a need to provide a tailored intervention for this community.

Visual processing in autistic and non-autistic children

September 2022

Every day, we are faced with sensory information, and we need to make decisions about it – for example deciding whether we have time to cross a road. This study looked at how autistic children and children without a developmental condition aged 6 to 14 years make decisions about what they see for different types of information. The research will help to understand more about how sensory processing in autism, and how this might relate to other measures, such as measures of ADHD. Particularly, this study will help understand how different types of visual information (i.e., static and moving) are processed, and how different instructions matter.

How do British special needs schools empower racial and ethnic identity and develop cultural pride in Black British children/ young people with autism: An auto/biographical exploration and reflection from a Black mother and her son.

October 2022

The research aimed to explore themes of race, identity, and autism, specifically, how British special schools empower racial and ethnic identity and develop cultural pride in Black British children with autism. It also looked into the pupils’ perceived understanding and exposure to race, ethnicity, identity and culture within school and home communities, as well as how race is taught in special schools

Research on differences in social abilities associated with autism 

November 2022

The team researched differences in social abilities among children and young people with global developmental delay/learning disability and autism. Individuals were asked to:

  • watch videos of social information whilst we record their eye-movements
  • engage in a semi-structured social interaction with a parent
  • solve puzzles, look at pictures, and listen to stories
Teaching reading comprehension to autistic students

December 2022

Researchers at the University of Warwick investigated current reading comprehension practices used in special schools across England. They were interested in exploring what works well and what barriers teachers face when teaching reading comprehension to autistic students.

The role of social identity and camouflaging in autism and eating disorders

This study aimed to contribute to research that informs the prevention and treatment of eating disorders in autistic people. The study was completed as part of a thesis for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

December 2022

The development of a core outcome set for evaluating relationships and sex education with students with intellectual disability

This research aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding about “what” students with intellectual (learning) disability should achieve in Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lessons.

December 2022

Opinions of Parents, Teachers and Clinicians About Applied Behaviour Analysis

This study aimed to gather data on the opinions of parents, teachers and clinicians on the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for people with a diagnosis of autism.

Sensory experiences of adolescents with autism and ADHD-a mixed method study

February 2023

Research has shown that autistic people, in particular, have significant difficulties with sensory processing. The Department of Psychology at Durham University conducted a research project that aimed to understand different sensory experiences, particularly for autistic young people and young people with ADHD.

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