Our Insight Group consists of 350 autistic adults and family members.
We are always looking for people from a wide range of backgrounds with a range of experiences and opinions to join our Insight Group, ensuring that it is representative of the wider autism community.
All applications are welcome, and we are particularly interested in applications from people under the age of 25, over the age of 65, men, non-binary folk and people who identify as LGBTQIA+, people from a black or Asian background or who don't speak English as their first language, and those from the Gypsy, Traveller or Roma communities.
We are also interested in hearing from autistic people with experience of being homeless, at risk of homelessness, being in prison, or detained under the Mental Health Act, and those with experience of sex work and would welcome applications or email contact from anyone who fits these criteria.
As a member of the Insight Group you can help ensure that:
- Autistic people and their families have a role in guiding what gets researched
- Taking part in research is a positive experience for autistic people and family members
- Assessments used in research studies are appropriate for autistic people
- That autism research, as a whole, is more accessible for autistic people
- We have real life experience to draw on for discussions, focus groups, workshops and similar events ensuring that the focus remains on what can help autistic people and their families
We also ask members of the Insight Group to be involved in opportunities that might including policy workshops, public speaking, photo shoots, fundraising, advising on strategy, reviewing abstracts or research proposals and a lot more! All opportunities are optional so you can take part in what interests you.
We have a monthly Insight Group community newsletter, where we share upcoming news, events and opportunities, a blog (coming soon!) where we share community voices and regular virtual 'meet ups' and other events dedicated to Insight Group members.
Meet some of our existing Insight Group members
Personal Case Study from Suzanne
“ l was diagnosed really late at aged 62. It was quite a revelation to realise how many amazing coping strategies over the decades. I could finally introduce me to ME with an assurance that my life was enhanced by the knowledge rather than limited. I was already exploring sharing my lived in experience with diagnosticians and support workers in the borough where l live.
I found Autistica's website by accident while l was gathering evidence for direct service payments to help my confused high functioning son. Everything l read resonated. I joined Discover first, as did my son but that was like an au d’ oeuvre. I wanted a main course, so l moved into the Insight group. It felt seamless. Here l was in the room, not an invisible presence filling in a survey. Everyone’s opinion matters and the exchange is exciting, dynamic and quite a learning curve. I have huge respect for fellow Carers/ Parents, grandparents and Autism supporters who each bring a unique worthwhile perspective that will ultimately help reshape others views, and effect meaningful change. I’m particularly enjoying doing the Ambient Environs research with the Alan Turing lnstitute. l took part in a Pint of Science panel in a Fleet Street pub which will be on You Tube soon. I was even cracking jokes once l was comfortable with my unusual surroundings.
I've always had a voice, being a Am-Drama Queen but l'm pleasantly surprised to find that in the right setting like the lnsight Group it has far more reach than merely standing on a a stage. I’ve also talked with social workers who are keen to be seen as less than mean. We can help change the interface of liaison and communications simply by saying what has not worked for us and what we would prefer to happen. These discussions are all my MAINS, the real substance of sitting down to discuss the Menu. The desserts come later when you hear that our suggestions have been acted on and better still implemented.
If you’re still only ‘thinking’ about joining Insight don’t procrastinate any longer. Every Autistic person matters, every contribution to making our lives valued, valuable and happy is a worthwhile one. Wouldn’t you want to say you are a part of that."
Personal Case Study from Lucinda
"I am the mother of an autistic young person who has severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.
I joined the Insight Group last year because I felt incredibly strongly that even though an autistic person may be unable to speak, their voice should not be ignored. Autistica have listened with empathy, understanding and concern and I know that our relationship will carry on developing so that the voices of the many non-verbal autistic children and adults will finally be heard.
Historically I do not feel this has happened and it is a massive missed opportunity."
Personal Case Study from Robert
"Being a part of Autistica and having a meaningful contribution to research is vitally important to me personally as not only have I had a late diagnosis myself, I also am father to three children who all have Autism as well.
It can be lonely and frustrating when you regularly experience a lack of understanding from people, from employers and health care professionals to educators and shop assistants, the breadth and depth of our social incongruence can sometimes be disadvantous.
When volunteering for Autistica, I am introduced to a wide spectrum of people pulling out all the stops to understand us, to make life better for us and to actually validate our experiences. Doctors, Social Workers and many many more are becoming more aligned with Autism research being practical and beneficial, and our experiences and feelings are given a much higher priority than before.
This underscores brilliantly how important Autistica is, what an amazing job is done by a few passionate people, and what a joy it is to be of help."
As part of the Insight Group, we will train you to be able to carry out the activities you sign up for, through online training, Discover Lectures and other training and engagement events.
The Insight Group is managed by our Engagement and Events Manager, Bethan Davies, so if you have any questions please send her an email.
If you want to use the Insight Group to get feedback on your research or project, click here to find out more.