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Autism Community Research Network @ Southampton (ACoRNS)

Research themes

Explore our research areas and their real-world impact.

Our research is grouped into four main themes: 

Co-constructing the evidence base focuses on participatory approaches to research that respect the diverse knowledges needed for informing and co-creating the autism research evidence base. Examples include working with Aviary Nursery in our Froebel Trust funded research to develop the powerful and innovative approach of ‘I am’ Digital Stories for enabling the voices of young autistic children in their transitions to primary school, and extending this methodology to other groups and transitions in our ESRC-funded ‘Our Stories’ project. 

Creative and participatory methods for pupil voice are embedded throughout many of our projects. Methods include the use of photovoice, storyboards, and Digital Storytelling. Undergraduate student Amber Warren collaborated with Springwell School to develop a storyboard method for understanding primary-aged autistic children’s everyday experiences of inclusion in resourced provision. Outputs include the work of our Doctoral student Chloe East who collaborated with a group of six autistic girls over many months to develop awareness-raising resources for schools about the distinctive needs and experiences of autistic girls.   

Looked-after children and young people are substantially under-researched in the autism field. Our work has included collaborating with a parent on using Freedom of Information requests to Local Authorities to find out about the numbers and awareness of autism diagnoses amongst looked-after children and young people. Our Educational Psychology Doctoral students Dr Jennifer Pickles and Dr Lynn DeLaFosse have focused their research on the experiences of Virtual School Heads and Designated Teachers. 

Supporting Educational Transitions is an overarching theme in which we recognise the range of transitions that impact on children, young people and adults including everyday (‘horizontal’) transitions and major (‘vertical’) transitions that occur at key life stages, such as moving to a new school or finishing compulsory education. We are interested in transitions across the lifespan.