Warning Against A Cambridge University Research Project

A warning about a piece of autism research whose requirements for participation are at best poorly set out and ay worst downright discriminatiory.


Readers of this blog will be well aware that I have taken part in a number of research projects over the years, many of them based in Cambridge. This is therefore a painful little post to write, but one that I feel I must in the circumstances, due to what I conisder to be a completely unacceptable outlining of requirements. 


This particular research study demands autistic adults who have at least one GCSE at Grade C or better. This is not a problem for me personally as I actually have a degree, but it does automatically exclude many, and it smacks to me of dishonesty, since my reading of it as that is an attempt to avoid the use of functionality labels while at the same time trying to esnure that they get poeple who they regard as “high functioning”. I could not personally take part in this study because I could only do such things on a basis of trust, and by setting out their requirements in this fashion they have very effectually ensured that trust is not present. 

My advice to anyone who is approached with a view to taking part in this study is to refuse to do so, and hope that no one takes part, so that this misbegotten study dies a speedy death. 

My advice to those behind this study (I will not name and shame the lead researcher, and kindly do not ask that I do so) is to abandon this version and come up with a more acceptable way of communicating your requirements (including possibly accepting the extra diffculty of opening your study up to all autistic people, rather than seeking to exclude a very significant proportion thereoof). If the necessary work is done and the new version of the study is presented sufficiently sensitively I may be willing to participate, but as it stands at present I cannot and will not have anything to do with it.