On Tuesday 8th January 2019, the PDA Society hosted a research meeting to share current findings, thinking and insights around the ‘PDA profile’ of autism by academic researchers and other stakeholders. The aim was to share existing research work, build greater common understanding, identify research priorities and focus on what can be done to help. 31 participants came from across the UK and Ireland and all found the meeting to be worthwhile and positive.

Thank you to Francesca Happé for her support for the meeting and providing the venue at King’s College London, and to Kevin Cooper who provided funding for the event.

This area of research is in its infancy, with a range of perspectives currently evident, so it’s essential that more high quality research is undertaken in order to increase our understanding of autism as a whole, and demand avoidance specifically, and reduce the possibility of autistic individuals being disadvantaged or discriminated against.

One area of strong agreement was that autism generally is not well understood or supported by services. The PDA Society took away from the meeting the importance of developing a cohesive and inclusive argument for change.

Dame Uta Frith chaired the event and finished by acknowledging that many of us felt some confusion about the mixed conclusions of research to date, but that confusion is an important part of the process and a step on the path towards understanding!

The PDA Society will be continuing to encourage collaboration by hosting a ‘research hub’ to keep the community in touch with developments. If you are a researcher with an interest in this area, please get in touch to find out more.

A short report on the meeting will be produced.