Autistica's Discovery Network

December 17, 2018

The Hippocratic Post

By Dame Stephanie Shirley


Research is slow. Research is expensive. Research is not necessarily in a laboratory. And there’s no guarantee that it will produce anything useful. But it’s the only long-term potential solution to certain problems.

Autistica’s Discover is a virtual online network designed for the true experts in autism: those on the autistic spectrum themselves and their families and caretakers, and for non-profit organizations such as care providers and special schools.

Discover is the first national (U.K.) network for interested parties to learn about the latest findings and to help shape or take part in research studies and surveys. This volunteer group of those directly involved with autism has a target of 20,000 members by 2021.

Everything will have been approved by an independent ethics committee. All projects are focused on the top priorities which came out of an earlier Autistica study: mental health, language and communication and physical health.

Discover aims to support autistic people, their families and the whole community with information about research; how to get involved; through coordination of initiatives and promotion of collaborative work; and bringing researchers together to develop national strategies.

Autistica is seeking members, who can opt to get directly involved in surveys, advisory groups, trials, or new apps testing, or can register to only receive updates on the results of the latest research.

Given leadership, post-Brexit UK can become a world leader in autism research.

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