Autism friendly home environment

Picture of a large family looking jubilant outside their houseFamilies living with autism have lots of stories to tell. Some of these stories were captured by researchers. The aim was to find supportive home design features to make homes more autism-friendly. 

A study by Wasan Nagib and Allison Williams uses family stories to explore the challenges they face. The authors of  “Towards an autism friendly home environment” conclude with three recommended home typologies – detached and attached houses, and apartments. They also discuss policy implications. The article was published in Housing Studies, by Taylor and Frances Online. You can access a free read of the article via ResearchGate.

Abstract: This study explores the challenges faced by children with autism and their families in the home environment and how physical elements of the home environment can be designed or modified to alleviate these challenges and create an autism-friendly home. The research employs qualitative methods to learn from the experiences of key informants involved in creating or modifying the home environment of people with autism; this involved interviews with architects and occupational therapists. To learn from the families themselves, an online survey of the families of children with autism across Canada and the United States was conducted. The study provides insight into the physical, social, and psychological challenges affecting the quality of life of children with autism and their families in their home environment and the contribution of home modifications to alleviating the challenges. The appropriateness of the three housing typologies – detached houses, attached houses, and apartments – to accommodate autism-related needs is discussed together with potential policy implications.

Voices of people with autism in a book

Front cover of the text book.The autism research field has changed a lot in the last 20 years. One of the key findings is the impact the research process has on people with autism. So including the voices of people with autism is really important. With this in mind, a new version of a text book has sections written by autistic contributors from all walks of life. Neurodiversity is a relatively new concept and area of study. There is still much work to do in understanding the diversity of ways autistic people navigate the world around them. 

There is a separate link to the discussion on how the authors went about including people with the lived experience of autism. This link also gives a short chapter by chapter review of the book’s content.

The title of the book is, Autism: A new introduction to psychological theory and current debate. It’s by Sue Fletcher-Watson and Francesca Happe. 

If you want a more personal approach to autism, you can read a transcript of an interview with Louis Scarantino – an autism advocate.  

The Autism Research Council has published its research priorities for 2019.

Autism Research Starter Pack

Front cover of the starter pack with cartoon faces.Want to involve autistic people in your research? Well now there is a Starter Pack to help guide you through the participatory process. 

“This Starter Pack is for participatory autism research and is for anyone involved in autism research – in any discipline, in any capacity and in any stage of their lives. It describes how you can begin to genuinely involve autistic people in your research – in such a way that it promotes trusting relationships, is built on mutual respect, and involves listening to, and learning from, one another – that is, being empathetic researchers.” The starter pack is published with Issuu and is a set of slides with key information.

There is also the Participatory Autism Research Collective that is about promoting autistic involvement in autism research. 

A related open access research paper reports on the outcomes from a seminar series, identifying topics relevant to building a community of practice in participatory research. The title of the article is Making the future together: Shaping autism research through meaningful participation.

Another, more dense publication, On the ontological status of autism: the ‘double empathy problemdiscusses the issues as contested social realities.

And a free online course, Understanding Autism  from Future Learn and the University of Kent