Autism Research

Hello to everyone,

I am a PhD student at UCL, looking at the social lives of teenagers and young adults with autism. I would be willing to travel to visit anyone from your area who wished to take part, so they do not need to feel anxious about the idea of travelling to London, if that is a relevant consideration. I have given a description of the study below.

Research study on friendships of autistic students

I am writing to ask for your help with a new UCL Institute of Education study on the friendships of autistic students in mainstream schools. Friendships are crucial for developing lifelong social skills, but are an area with which autistic students often struggle, especially when they are interacting with non-autistic peers. Strong social connections have been found to contribute to better school experiences and achievement. This study seeks to find out more about what autistic students are currently struggling with, and how this compares to their non-autistic peers. I am hoping to use my work to help us better understand how the experiences of girls and boys with autism differ, and therefore how we can better support them in their social lives.

From your point of view, involvement in the study would be minimal. I would ask you to hand out a letter to autistic adolescents to take home to their parents. I can also provide freepost envelopes so that if families do decide to take part, they can return them to me directly, or they can email me directly.

I have attached a full information sheet and example consent form for the study, and am willing to answer any questions you have.

If you are happy to pass my information on to relevant people you work with, it would be wonderful if you could let me know by email (f.sedgewick@ioe.ac.uk) or perhaps give me a phone call on 020 7331 5128.

I will follow this up this email with a phone call in the coming weeks to find out how many letters to send to you.

Thank you so much, it is only with the support of groups like yours that I can carry out research like this, and I appreciate you giving up your time to help me.

Yours,

Felicity Sedgewick

Doctoral Student

Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), University College London Institute of Education (UCL IoE)