Autism Research: Where do I start?
This is the final segment of my New Year, New Diagnosis blog series. If you missed part 1 and 2, please check them out for resources on service providers and action steps to take when your child has recently been diagnosed. Today’s post is focused on research; where to find it, how to read it, and everything in between.
I am a huge nerd, and one of my favorite parts of my job is staying up-to-date on the current autism research and reading books about different perspectives on autism. There are challenges that come with keeping up with the latest research and literature. It often requires a lot of reading and many people are searching for information, but may not know the best places to look for it. Here are my go-to resources for quick, quality research.
Autism Science Foundation (ASF) – Weekly Science Podcast
Once a week, ASF releases a podcast about current research happening in the autism community. ASF summarizes the method, results and conclusions of the research in a short, easy to listen 10-minute podcast.
All Autism Talk releases podcasts about a variety of different topics for families affected by autism. They often discuss research, but they also do several interviews with individuals with autism as well as authors that have written powerful books about autism.
SAGE Journals – Autism Matters Podcast Series
The Autism Matters series has been released quarterly for the past several years. These podcasts go more in-depth on the research through interviewing the presenters and discussing the results in detail.
PubMed is my go-to search engine for finding scientific research. Though you cannot access the full version of every article, you can read the key elements of the research that include an abstract, objective, method, results and conclusions.
In case you did not already know, Google has a free academic search engine that can lead you to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.
The Autism Speaks website is one of the most comprehensive when it comes to helping parents of children with autism. Autism Speaks conducts a lot of their own research, but also links to current research and scientific blogs to provide resources for parents.
Tips for Reading Research
Make sure it is current – If you can, set a filter for the website to only show research from the past 10 years.
Read the abstract, method and results - If you do not have the time, this will give you a good overview of what was being researched, how the study was conducted and why it worked or didn’t work.
Ask questions – Often you can write directly to the authors of the articles and ask specific questions. I cannot guarantee they will get back to you, but they often have additional information prepared to share with you.
If you have some spare time, these are my top picks for books about autism.
These may not be the most scholarly, but they often share interesting experiences, opportunities and insight.
The Mighty – Autism Spectrum Disorder
Kickstarter – This sounds silly, but they always have unique, new tools and toys to help children with disabilities learn, grow and develop!
I hope these resources are helpful for you to learn about autism and give your children more opportunities to succeed and reach their fullest potential! If you have any additional resources you would like to share, please connect with me so our families can access them as well.
Next week I will be talking all about the IEP process. What to expect, how to advocate for your child, and the perspective from the other side of the table.