Discover - Understanding autism better together



Autism affects 1 in 100 of the population but there is still so much we don’t know about the challenges associated with the condition. Autistica, the UK's national autism research charity, carry out research to improve our understanding of this complex condition. They want their research to give children and adults on the autism spectrum, the best chance of a long, happy, healthy life. But progress in autism research has been slow and much of it has not addressed the everyday challenges of families and autistic people.

Autistica has launched a new research network Discover to speed up progress. They hope that by getting the public working more closely with scientists, research can really transform services and change lives.

Autistica ran a consultation with families and 9 in 10 said that they would take part in research, but didn’t know where to go. A lack of people contributing to studies means that many studies don’t get off the ground. Many also fail because studies are inaccessible or irrelevant to people’s lives. Autistica believe that the more people that get involved, the more likely it is that the research can make a difference to their lives.

A parent who recently joined Discover explains:

‘Sometimes it’s hard to talk about the struggles you go through caring for an autistic child. Getting involved with Discover has allowed me to share my experiences for research. As a family we’ve lost too many years to trial and error – we need to support research to uncover strategies that work.’ Helen, Mum.

Most autism research doesn’t happen in a laboratory, Dr James Cusack Director of Science at Autistica explains:

‘Research could be as simple as getting involved in a survey or insight group and there is a lot of research that can be done from the comfort of your own home.’

Professionals, parents or carers can join the Discover network for free. You will receive regular updates on the latest research and policy changes, opportunities to shape research, and requests to take part in studies. Autistica, together with their partner organisations, aims to recruit 20,000 people to join Discover by 2021.

Autistica believe that research is the only way to change the future for autistic people and their families. They need your help to get the answers you desperately need.

Learn more about the latest autism research and get involved.
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