Autistic adults sought for research study

27 Apr 2020

mother and childResearchers from The University of Queensland are hoping to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by examining the experiences of autistic adults.

Ms Sarah Lee, provisional psychologist and Master of Clinical Psychology student, said the study will be one of the first to take a retrospective look at the childhood experiences of autistic adults.

“In Australia, one in 70 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and many parents have questions about how best to support their children,” Ms Lee said.

“This study aims to find ways to better support children with ASD in the future.”

Ms Lee said parents play a crucial role in the process of diagnosis and therapeutic intervention for children with ASD.

“We already know that the parent-child relationship is a strong predictor of important outcomes in childhood – but more than that, the effects of the way we were parented can persist into adulthood,” Ms Lee said.

“Many parents continue to play important supportive roles in the lives of their children well into adulthood.

“Getting the perspectives of autistic adults on the way they were parented will be incredibly valuable.”

The study will also be one of the first to examine the retrospective experiences of autistic adults in terms of which parenting factors are linked with better mental health and interpersonal relationship outcomes in adulthood.

“This is the first time that researchers have directly explored the experiences and perspectives of autistic adults in terms of informing the development of future programs and resources for families of children with ASD,” Ms Lee said.

“The lived experience of people with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, is invaluable and we are looking forward to hearing what they have to say.”

The research is being co-supervised by Dr Amy Mitchell from the UQ School of Psychology and Dr Koa Whittingham from the Faculty of Medicine.

To find out more about this project, or to participate, please visit the study website.

Media: Sarah Lee,; Dr Amy Mitchell,; Dani Nash, UQ Communications,