Parents of children with autism – please help a student at Deakin University with some research.

Autism Research Deakin University
Autism Research Deakin University

As you may know one of the missions of this blog is to help promote communication between different parts of the autism community. We think one of the best methods of doing this is via research and opinion surveys in particular.

But I would say that having worked in market research for over 20 years.

So today I am asking you to help a student at Deakin University in Australia who is conducting an online survey with parents of children with autism called Michelle Stewart.

Stewart writes “My name is Michelle and I’m from Deakin University. We are undertaking research looking at the psychological impact of parenting a child with autism who exhibits challenging behaviours. We are investigating a new framework for conceptualising some parenting experiences. We held focus groups with parents last year and findings indicated we are on the right track. In order to explore our framework further and to raise awareness for the importance of parental mental health we are seeking involvement from more parents. This stage of our research involves participation in a ~30 minute questionnaire. ”

To take part in the survey please click here

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Stewart at:

It would also be great if you could share this page with anyone you know who might be interested in taking part.

Many thanks in advance.

A idea for helping children on the autistic spectrum. Please join our discussion blog to give your advice to an industrial designer at Philadelphia University

Philadelphia University
Philadelphia University
A couple of days ago we were were asked to give some help to a student at Philadelphia University with a new concept he is developing which it is hoped with help children on the autism spectrum.

Like previous discussion blogs it would be great if you read about the ideas behind the proposal which you can find below. We then have a few short questions and it would be great if you could share your responses in the comments section below.

Thanks very much in advance!

The student shares “My name is Marshall Linton. I am a graduate student studying industrial design at Philadelphia University. For my capstone project I am aiming to create a interface that can be used by two children on the Autism spectrum simultaneously without the aid of a caregiver. The interface would promote social communication, joint attention, and task completion between the children. My intention is to create an experience where in children who are on the spectrum are encouraged to engage with each other in a natural way while learning and enforcing skills that are applicable in everyday life. I do not aim to force children into what is seen as “normal” social interaction.

In both of my concepts two children would be seated facing each other with a transparent interface in between them. This interface would be able to transition from clear to having an image projected on it (the image would be semi transparent).

In my body language concept, the first child would be prompted by the screen to imitate body language that evokes an emotion (happiness, fear, anger, surprise). The second child would be prompted to answer what they sense the other child is feeling. After the second child’s response the first child would be prompted to verify the first child’s answer and the second child would be prompted to either mirror the first child or assume a new pose.

In my joint attention / task completion concept, A simple maze would be projected on the screen. At the start of the maze would be an illustration of a car. At the end of the maze there would be an illustration of a garage. The children would be prompted to move the car to its garage together. The children would touch the car to move it. On opposite sides of the interface the children would have to guide the car through the maze back to its garage. The children would have to move the car in unison or the car would drop and the maze would reset.

Would you kindly post some feedback regarding the following questions:

-Would an interface where two children work on completing a task together, without the aid of a caregiver, have value?

-Would having children imitate body language and facial expressions provide value to them learning social skills?

-Would an activity that encourages the completion of a task while maintaining joint attention have value?

Mount Mercy University would like your help with some research into parent who have children on the autism spectrum

Mount Mercy University
Mount Mercy University

A few days ago we were asked by Courtney Cox, a Master’s student at Mount Mercy University, to help her find suitable respondents for some research she is conducting with the ASD community.

Fox shares “Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Courtney Fox and I am currently working on my Master’s degree at Mount Mercy University. Currently I am working on my Master’s thesis, which is researching the post adjustment of parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A fellow classmate of mine is also doing her thesis which is researching the perseverance and adaptability of parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

We are reaching out to you in hopes that you will share our flyer with families affected with ASD who may be interested in participating in our research studies. Those who decide to participate will simply be asked questions pertaining to their experience with the diagnosis process as well as living life with ASD. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by email at or by phone at 309-337-2225.

Thank you for your assistance with our thesis, it is greatly appreciated.”

For those interested in participating please have them email Ms Fox at or contact the Olson MFT Clinic by phone at 319-368-6493. Thank you for your assistance with our thesis, it is greatly appreciated.

The flyer is below.  We would be delighted if you could share within the ASD community.

Mount Mercy University Autism Research
Mount Mercy University Autism Research

Autism and animals. We are looking for parents of children with autism to help with some research for Warwickshire College

Autism and dogs
Autism and dogs
As you may know PatientTalk.Org has been interested in the use of animals as a therapy for people with Autism. You can check out a blog post I wrote on autism and service dogs here.

So were are delighted to be able to give some help to Jenna Lauder, a student at Warwickshire College, who is studying companion animals and the effect they have on autistic children. She needs the help with some research from parents of children with ASD.

Ms Lauder writes” My name is Jenna Lauder; I am currently a 3rd year student studying a BSc Hons in Animal Science and Health at Warwickshire College. This year I am undertaking a dissertation based on the subject of companion animals and the effect they have on autistic children. As part of my research, I am required to distribute a questionnaire.

I am looking for parents of children particularly between the ages of 4-11 who have a companion animal, but also would like those who do not have a companion animal to respond for an equal comparison.
It would be great if you have a few minutes to complete my anonymous online survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes.

Your time and contribution is much appreciated!

Please click on the following link if you DO have a pet:

Please click on the following link if you DO NOT have a pet:

“Understanding Family Role Play in Second Life”. The University of Alberta are looking for people who do NOT use Second Life to take part in some research.

University of Alberta
University of Alberta
Laura Gilmore, a PhD student the University of Alberta, has asked us to help locate people to participate in some research.

She is looking for people with autism and without ASD who do not use Second Life.

She writes “I am a first year PhD student at the University of Alberta and am continuing work from my Master’s Thesis. Seeking participants for graduate student research survey on second life participation for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and those who do not have ASD. Interested in both users of Second Life and Individuals who do not use Second Life. The link below will take you to the survey. Thank you for considering my survey.”

You can take the survey here.


Previous research has suggested that people can learn social skills from participating in 3D replicas of real life situations. However, there has been little research about potential of these 3D replicas of real life situations to be socially beneficial for those who participate in them.

Study Procedures

Participants will be invited to click on a hyperlink and be given the opportunity to complete an online survey. In this survey, there are no right or wrong answers, we simply want to know how participants solve social problems and how they perceive their own well being. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.


If this study finds a positive association between participation in family role play and social problem solving skills and well-being among adults it will be used as a basis for future studies that may support the use of virtual environments in therapy.


The risks involved in participating in this study are no more than what would be experienced in a normal day.

Voluntary Participation

You are under no obligation to participate in this study and can exit the survey at any time. As surveys will be anonymous upon submission, you will not be able to withdraw your data once the survey is submitted.

Confidentiality & Anonymity

This research will be used for completion of a thesis by Laura Gilmour and a potential publication of a research paper. Addresses and Second Life usernames which will be deleted immediately after data has been collected. The only individuals who will have access to the survey data will be Laura Gilmour and her research supervisor Dr. Veronica Smith. The data will be stored on an encrypted, password-protected computer in for five years before being destroyed.

The plan for this study has been reviewed for its adherence to ethical guidelines by a Research Ethics Board at the University of Alberta. For questions regarding participant rights and ethical conduct of research, contact the Research Ethics Office at (780) 492-2615.