Working with Autistic People

Update February 2022: We have completed collecting data from our social media posts and focus groups. Thank you to everyone who participated and visit our findings pages to learn more about what we have learnt.

There are two ways we asked people to share their experiences of public places. Our focus groups were for autistic people with a confirmed diagnosis, while our social media project were open to anyone who identifies as autistic.

Option 1 – Focus Groups

During 2021 we invited people to be part of one of a series of small online focus groups. In these groups we discussed people’s sensory experiences of different public places (e.g., hairdressers, shops and restaurants). The groups each lasted about an hour. Towards the end of the focus group, people were given the opportunity to provide a drawing to convey an example of an ideal sensory public place and to share this with the research team.

We video/audio recorded the session so that the information could be transcribed later by our research team. This was so we had an accurate record of people’s thoughts. People could participate with this group however they felt most comfortable such as using audio and/or video or communicating through the chat box. Once we transcribed the group’s responses we deleted the recording unless you gave us permission to use clips of video or audio for promotional materials.

People received a voucher as a thank you for participating in the focus group.

Please read our information sheets to find out more:

Following each of our online focus groups we sent the participants a feedback survey to find out more about what went well and what could be improved for future events and activities. To learn more about this, please visit our privacy notice for the feedback survey

Option 2 – Social Media Engagement

During 2021 we asked people to comment on social media posts generated and produced across our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages (@sensorystreet).

These posts were phrased as questions or statements for people to interact with (such as adding your own experiences of public places or activities).  

We then recorded the activity generated from these posts such as likes, comments and shares of these posts. By interacting with the post, people consented to us recording your anonymised responses to the information and using this for future materials associated with the research project. They were able to delete their comments or undo any interactions up to two months after the original post (when the data was recorded and anonymised).  

Please read our information sheets to find out more:

Feedback Groups

Following the first round of analysis from the focus groups, we invited autistic people to be part of an online feedback session in September 2021. This session was an opportunity for autistic individuals to give us feedback on our results and discuss how we present our findings in the future. We also asked people to review documents we created for our event such as our posters and booklets about the event. We used their feedback to shape our findings as well as our immersive event for 2022. To learn more about how their data was protected, visit our privacy notice for participating in feedback groups.

Ethics Approval Reference: R74960/RE001

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