This page contains information on current autism research being undertaken in Scotland. If you would like information on your study to be shared please contact Autism Network Scotland directly via email or call 0141 444 8146.

You can also join our Research Virtual Network – for more information please visit


Maggi Laurie, PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, is looking for practitioners who work in education settings with children on the autism spectrum to fill out a short survey about the technology they use at work.

The survey is open to anyone who works with autistic children who use technology, including support workers, teaching assistants, teachers, managers, speech & language therapists, educational psychologists, and other job roles. It takes around 15 minutes and there an option to enter a prize draw of up to £50 in vouchers. 

The link to the survey is and questions can be directed to

Some more information about the survey:

Ethics approval: Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh have approved the study. I’m happy to send confirmation of this and/or apply for internal ethics here.



  • About the respondent (age, gender, job role + time in role)
  • About the personal technology the use (e.g. confidence using technology)
  • About the technology-specific training they have received, or that they would like
  • About the children they work with (age group, comorbid learning disability, etc.)
  • About the technology in the classroom (what tech, whether it’s used independently, what purposes it is used for, e.g. learning, play)
  • Views on technology use in autism education
  • Views on technology use in general education

Best wishes

Margaret Laurie – PhD Student


I am a 4th year masters student studying Product Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

I am currently doing a project which aims to help provide more comfort or less stress when travelling. I am interested in designing a product for people with Autism and am looking for help in achieving this.

I would like to gain further knowledge about the difficulties that people with Autism face when travelling. It would be great to get feedback on concepts and prototypes to help design a successful product that will genuinely benefit users.

Any way that I could contact respective people would be great. Attending a support group meeting or emailing them would be ideal.

Do you know of anyone I can contact in respect to this?

Cerys Murray-Scott


By email:

By telephone:  07710256819



July 2016 –  Music Tool – Interactive Prototype Tool For People On The Autism Spectrum

My name is John McGowan and I’m a 2nd year PhD student based at Edinburgh Napier. I’m researching and creating an interactive prototype tool for people on the autism spectrum and was wondering if you might be interested in what I’m doing?

I have been looking at the factors involved in music therapy for the creation of an audio-visual intervention as an augmentation to music therapy to test if it could improve communication, social interaction and self-esteem. In the past few months I have interviewed a number of therapists in the design of the tool for initial requirements analysis. The aesthetic of the tool itself is based on Cymatics, which show what sound/music looks like when vibrated through a medium like water – what I have done is to create an interactive 3D version of that idea. It’s basis lies in the cause-and-effect of playing an electronic or acoustic musical instrument or using the voice. I have attached a couple of sample videos to this email to give you an idea of the work in progress – the first sample is a simple midi keyboard while the 2nd is a short voice test.

So, I’m hoping to involve some music therapists and autistic clients in a study (possibly a case study over a number of weeks) integrating the tool as a new intervention within a client’s sessions. If you know anyone that would be interested in having a chat with me concerning this I would be very much obliged.

Please feel free to get in touch.

John McGowan


By email:

By telephone: 0131 455 2461




June 2016 – Young People with Autism & Learning Disabilities Sexuality: Mothers’ Experiences

We are interested in finding about mothers’ experiences of their son or daughter’s sexual development and sexual understanding.  This is an area that is not given much attention, but is a vital part of growing up for all young people.

Who can take part?

We are looking to recruit mothers of young people with Autism and a Moderate or Severe Learning Disability, who are aged 16 to 25.

What does taking part involve?

The researcher, Rebecca Pryde, will meet with you to carry out an interview which will last 60 – 90 minutes.  The questions will include:

  • A description of your family
  • Your views on your child’s sexual development
  • How you and your child have coped with their sexual development
  • The challenges you have faced
  • Sources of support you have received in relation to sexuality.

We hope that this research will improve the support and resources that are available to support young people and their families with regard to sexual development.

If you would like to find out more information about this study, or if you are interested in taking part, please contact Rebecca Pryde

By email:

By telephone: 0141 211 3878

Study and Interview Flyer (PDF)

Participant Information Sheet (PDF)


January 2016 – Parental and Practitioner Experiences of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Deafness

For a research study to investigate parental and practitioner experiences of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Deafness (D/HH)

Are you a parent of a child or adult who has autism and is also deaf/hard of hearing, or a practitioner supporting people who have autism and are deaf/hard of hearing?

Are you a practitioner supporting an individual or individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing whom you suspect may also have autism?

Do you use specific communication and interactive methods?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions – you may be interested in participating in a study regarding your experiences of supporting people with autism who are deaf/hard of hearing.

My name is Lee Balfour and I have supported multiply-challenged adults who are deaf for over 20 years. I am currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Autism at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), and in the context of my studies I am conducting a research project into parental and practitioner experiences of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Deafness.

Participants will complete a 30 minute online questionnaire.

If you wish to know more about the study, please read the Participant Information Sheet appended at the end of this document.

If you are interested or require further information, you can contact me on:

Contact Information

Name: Lee Balfour


Supervisor’s Name: Dr. Anna Robinson

Telephone: +44 (0) 141 444 8142


You can view the complete study advert here.


December 2015 – Research on the impacts which raising a child/having a sibling with Autism has on a family

My name is Nicole Devlin and I am a 4th year undergraduate student on BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at Glasgow Caledonian University. I am conducting a study in order to fulfil the requirements of my 4th year empirical project module. The study will look at the impacts which raising a child/having a sibling with Autism has on a family.

I am looking to interview one parent and one sibling (who should be over the age of 18) of and individual with Autism. Both, parent and sibling, should have regular contact with their child/ sibling who has Autism. I would be very grateful if your organisation would be able to facilitate my research in any way by helping to recruit participants who meet this criteria.

During this interview they will be asked about their experiences and feelings surrounding their child/siblings diagnosis of autism, whether this diagnosis impacted their daily life and how their child/siblings autism affected their family relationships. These interviews will take place at a time and location which is convenient for both the participant and the researcher and will last a maximum of 1 hour. I am looking for 5 families overall to participate.

I believe my research and findings will be greatly enhanced with your organisation’s help as it will be available to a wider community. Participants may not directly benefit from their participation, however, I aim to share the results which are found from this research, aiming for publication in this area. This research has been approved by the Glasgow Caledonian School of Psychology, Social Work and Allied Health Sciences ethics committee.

I would greatly appreciate your help in any way which you can offer. If you have any further questions regarding my research, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Thank you for your time.


November 2015: Finding a Voice: An Investigation into the Challenges Faced by Autistic People/People with Autism in Achieving Meaningful Participation in Policy Development in Local Authority Contexts.

My name is Emma Hanley. I’m a Speech and Language Therapist and the Co-ordinator for Autism Network Scotland. Autism Network Scotland is an organisation funded to support the implementation of the National Strategy for Autism, with a particular focus on wider engagement. I am currently studying for a Master’s degree in Autism at the University of Strathclyde under the supervision of Dr Anna Robinson.  In the context of my studies I am conducting research into how autistic people/people on the autistic spectrum view their involvement in developing their local area autism strategies and their experiences of meaningful inclusion when attending local area strategy meetings throughout this process.

I would like to speak to participants who:

  • Are autistic/on the autistic spectrum.
  • Have attended meetings in relation to the development of their local area autism strategy in the past 12 months.

As a participant your voice will be anonymous, but the findings from the study will be shared with local authorities and the Scottish Government with a view to creating a better understanding of the experiences people on the autistic spectrum have in participating in autism policy development.

There are two ways in which you can provide information about your experiences.

  • You will be invited to take part in a semi-structured interview which will last approximately 45 minutes. The interview will ask about your experiences of meeting with people from your local strategy development group and wider stakeholders from your local authority during the development of your local area strategy.
  • You will be invited to take part in a focus group with other people on the autistic spectrum, in your local area. Group discussions will last for approximately 60-90 minutes.

The location of focus groups will depend on the number of responses received for any particular local authority; with groups taking place where most interest has been registered.

Participation is voluntary and all information will be anonymised for the final report. Participants are invited to discuss their experiences of taking part in the development of their local area autism strategy with particular focus on experiences of attending meetings with members of their local authority autism strategy groups. If you do not wish to participate, this will not have any impact on any future interaction with Autism Network Scotland. You also have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

For further information please see the information sheet or contact Emma Hanley on 0141 444 8146 or by email:


November 2015: Study into the Relationship between Anxiety, Sensory Processing Difficulties and Intolerance of Uncertainty in a Population of Adults with ASD

Seeking adults (18+) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who have access to the internet and are able to complete an online 20-30 minute questionnaire independently.

This study is designed to learn the relationship between anxiety, sensory processing difficulties and intolerance of uncertainty in a population of adults with ASD.

Research is being conducted by Kathryn Flatley ( with collaborative supervision from Dr Ashley Robertson (

You can take part in this study by completing the survey at the following link:


July 2015: A Relationship between Autistic Traits and Perceived Personality from Voices

Research Study

Participants are currently being sought to partake in a study conducted by the University of Glasgow on how individuals who are high in autistic traits perceive personality through tones of voice. The study aims to identify any differences in interpreting personality through tone of voice in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and a control population.

The present study will investigate how people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) perceive personality in the voices of novel speakers, compared to a typically developing control population. The difficulties faced in regards to social communication and interaction in ASD – both verbal and nonverbal – have garnered a lot of interest from researchers and practitioners alike. With deficits in direct eye and face contact when engaging with others being a well-established trait, much research has explored the ability for individuals with ASD to recognise emotion and personality through faces (cf. Harms et al., 2010, Neuropsychological Review; Simmons et al, 2009, Vision Research). However, there is little research which investigates the same percepts from voices. This research hopes to investigate this area in more depth.

What does the research involve?

The researcher is looking to recruit participants who live in Scotland between 16 to 65 years of age for a short online perception task. Your task is to simply listen to the voices presented in the task, and say how trustworthy or untrustworthy you perceive the voice to be. Following this, there is a short questionnaire looking at traits associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is a non-diagnostic test and cannot be used to diagnose Autism.

The following link will take you to a consent form and ask you to include an email address and password to ensure your results are protected. Following this, select the HOW TRUSTWORTHY ARE THESE VOICES link and complete the experiment. Following the experiment you will be requested to complete the short questionnaire on ASD traits. This experiment should take no longer than 15minutes.

If you would like to participate in this study, please follow the link:


Alternatively, if you would like to know more or complete the experiment in your local support centre, please email Miss Adele Donaldson at

Thank you for your participation.

Miss Adele Donaldson

Research Assistant

University of Glasgow


July 2015: Women with Autism and their roles as Mum, Employee, Student and Housewife

Rebecca Dowley is carrying out this Research as part of her Masters in Autism, being studied distance at Birmingham University.

In this study she is investigating how Mothers who have autism experience the Triple Shift: the emotional labour, employment and household labour of motherhood.

The questionnaire can be accessed here: http://www.autismnetworkscotla…..ewife.docx

The questionnaires that you will complete are semi-structured. You should feel free to write as much as you want in the areas provided.

Your name and any personal details will only be known by the researcher and not shared with the supervisor or anyone else. As such your confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained at all times.

At the end of the questionnaire some support services details have been provided should any of the issues that arise during the questionnaire require support.

If you have any queries please contact Rebecca on:

Many thanks.


June 2015: Awareness and Openness towards individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder among University of Strathclyde Staff

Volunteers are needed for a research study to investigate awareness of autism among University staff, and their openness/acceptance towards individuals with autism

Participants must be employed at the University of Strathclyde and are either:


  • mentors with Project SEARCH


  • members of staff not involved within Project SEARCH


Participants will complete a 15-25 minutes online questionnaire, which will be sent via email. If you do not have access to email you can collect a self-addressed envelope from Project SEARCH.

If you wish to know more about the study click on the link below.

Contact Information

Name: Cheryl Dalli



June 2015: Participants sought for research into the Perceived Impact of Postgraduate (Pg) Autism Training on Autism Trainers

Mr DN Maphosa is studying a Master’s degree in autism at the University of Strathclyde and in the context of these studies is conducting a research project into the perceptions of Postgraduate Autism training on Autism Trainers.

If you are a current or previous Pg Autism Student of the University of Strathclyde, who delivers Autism Training, Mr Maphosa is interested in your perceptions of the impact of your Pg Autism programme.

Your participation in this study will help to give an insight into the perceived impact of the Pg Autism programme, on practitioners who go on to design and deliver autism training.

If you wish to take part in this study you will be asked to answer an online questionnaire. Your consent will be deemed to be given when you submit the online questionnaire. It should take about 20 minutes to complete the whole questionnaire, but you may want to take longer by giving longer responses.

Information Sheet:

Before completing the questionnaire, please read the participant information sheet which includes details of the study. This includes details and reassurance about how the study will use the information you provide in a confidential manner.

Taking part in the Study:

If you are interested in finding out more about the study and may wish to take part, please email me on or click on links to the information sheet and the questionnaire:

Thank you for considering this invitation to take part in this research project.


May 2015: An Investigation of Early Indicators of Problem Behaviour in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Carolyn Ritchey and Dr. Olive Healy

M.Sc. in Psychology (ABA) School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin

Despite the large body of research on challenging behaviour in children with ASD, no research study has examined the relationship between the presence/absence of early indicators of problem behaviour and the presence/absence of core preschool life skills (as described by Hanley et al. 2007).  Problem behaviours such as aggression towards self and others, temper tantrums, and noncompliance are often prevalent in older children with autism, yet little is known about how these manifest at a younger age. Preschool life skills include functional communication, instruction following, tolerance of delay/denials in accessing rewards, and pro-social skills. This study will examine the variables that indicate early indicators of problem behaviour and the presence/absence of the core preschool life skills in children below the age of 5 years. Deficits in the preschool life skills as risk markers/predictors of early indicators of problem behaviour will also be investigated. The measures employed include:

  • The Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire
  • The Parental Concerns Questionnaire
  • The Social Communication Questionnaire
  • Assessment of Preschool Life Skills

These measures will be used to identify early indicators of problem behaviour and topographies, autism severity, and the presence/absence of the 13 preschool life skills described by Hanley et al., 2007.

Link to access questionnaire:


If you would like additional information please contact:

Carolyn Ritchey


Phone: +353 89 452 5331


May 2015: Individual accounts of food preferences and diet in individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Debbie McCulloch is currently carrying out an MSc study at the University of Strathclyde into food preferences and food selectivity in adults with Autism. The study is using an online questionnaire to ask about individual food preferences and possible selectivity in eating. It is hoped that the results of this study will help deepen our understanding of food selectivity in Autism and may also inform future supports if applicable.

Individuals must be aged eighteen years or over and must be on the autism spectrum with high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Anyone interested in participating in this study should click on the link below and read the participant information sheet. If you wish to contact Debbie with any questions you can do so by emailing

The full details of the study are at the link here.



Action on Autism Seminar Series

This seminar series began in October 2013 and continued until June 2014. It will culminate in a Conference in autumn 2014. Its timing is strategic as it links with the Scottish Government Autism Strategy and is founded on the importance of looking holistically at the day-to-day lives of people with autism, their families and carers and the people that work with them, which has been emphasised in Scottish policy development at local and national levels. To find out more visit