Working with Autistic People

Update January 2023: We have recently secured a new grant to co-produce an evidence-based guide to make supermarkets more accessible for autistic shoppers. We will soon be advertising opportunities for autism community consultants to work with us on this project. Updates soon to follow…

Update February 2022: We have completed collecting data from our first research study. Thank you to everyone who participated and please visit the our findings pages to read about the results of this study.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be informed about future opportunities to be involved.

How have we involved autistic people?

Working with autistic people is a key ethos of the Sensory Street project. As well as recruiting autistic people to take part in our studies, we also ensure that autistic people are involved at every level of the project, informing what we do and how we do it. The reason why we do this is to make sure that the project ultimately benefits autistic people and aligns with their lived experiences.

There are many ways to work with us on the project, and we will advertise when opportunities become available. We have involved autistic people as core members of the research team, as part of feedback groups (e.g., reviewing materials and results), as content creators, and as participants. We also make sure that for all involvement in the project, autistic people are being fairly paid for contributing their time and expertise.

How have autistic people participated in our research?

In our first study, there were two ways we have asked people to share their experiences of public places. Our focus groups invited 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:

Ethics Approval Reference: R74960/RE001

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