Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the questions that we regularly get asked. Click on any of the questions to view our response.

 

Diagnosis

I think I (or a relative) may have an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). What should I do?

If you (or a relative) are experiencing difficulties that you think are related to a possible ASC you should first discuss your concerns with your General Practitioner (GP) or family physician, and if appropriate, ask for a referral, as follows:

Ask for a GP referral to a local child development centre (CDC) or adult diagnostic clinic specialising in ASC. If in the UK, details of clinics nearest you are available from the National Autistic Society (NAS) (free telephone helpline 0808 800 4104). If in other countries, the NAS website lists national autism charities in many different countries.

Could you advise me whether behaviours I, or others, have are likely to be characteristic of an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)?

The Autism Research Centre (ARC) is purely a University academic research centre and therefore we are unable to offer clinical advice. We focus on investigating the underlying biology and psychology of ASC. Please contact the National Autistic Society (NAS) (free telephone helpline 0808 800 4104) for information about where to get clinical advice in your region.

I do not live in the UK. Please could you suggest an expert in Asperger Syndrome/Autism in my country?

We do not hold information of this nature as we are primarily an academic research laboratory. You could contact the National Autistic Society (NAS) (telephone 0808 800 4104) who may be able to help. They also maintain a list of details about autism societies in every country.

What is the difference between Autism and Asperger Syndrome?

Information is available on our website here: Autism and Asperger Syndrome.

Tests

I have read about one of your tests and I would like to know where can I get a copy?

Tests published by the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in peer-reviewed scientific journals are available for free download from the Tests section of our website. Tests developed at the ARC must only be used strictly for professional, scientific or clinical purposes, and are not for commercial use. Use of these Tests for commercial purposes may violate copyright legislation. Full acknowledgement to the ARC as the source of the material must be given when using these tests, as well as the journal article where they were first described. You do not need permission to use the tests in your research because once published they are in the public domain.

I cannot find the test I am interested in on your website.

All tests we use, and which are available, are posted on our website. If a test you wish to access is not on our website, this means we do not have a copy to distribute at this time. They are made available once the first use of the test has been through peer review and resulted in a scientific publication. If the test is still undergoing evaluation that may be why it is not yet available.

I need details of scoring, controls or other information relating to the test I want to use from your website.

All the information you should need to use and understand all our tests is accessible from links that appear alongside each test in the Tests section of our website. These include instructions, scoring keys and relevant scientific research papers where the tests have been used, tested and validated. Please read these items first to check whether the information you require is already there.

I want to modify one of your tests – is this OK?

We recommend that you do not modify any wording in the questionnaires, as this could alter the interpretation of these tests, even for subtle modifications. All of the tests posted on our website have been scientifically validated by us and changes to the wording of any of the questions in our tests, or modifications, would require further independent validation.

How can I score, and interpret the results, for the tests posted on the ARC website?

Scoring keys and research papers are placed alongside individual tests on our website. Please check these resources for more information before using tests. All the information you require for using our tests should be found in the test questionnaire, scoring keys, and research papers.

Is a score on a questionnaire or test from the ARC website diagnostic?

Our tests are posted on our website to enable their free access by the academic research community. None of the tests are diagnostic: No single score on any of our tests or questionnaires indicates that an individual has an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). If you are concerned that you, or a friend or relative, may have ASC, please discuss these concerns with your GP or family doctor or ask the National Autistic Society (NAS) (telephone 0808 800 4104) or equivalent charity in your country, for advice.

I want to use one of your tests in my research project. Do I need permission?

Permission is not required to use any of our tests. We just ask that you use the test responsibly and reference our work where appropriate.

Translations

I want to make a non-English translation of one of your tests. Do I need to ask permission?

Available translations of ARC tests in different languages are posted on the Tests section of our website alongside the English versions. If a translation of the test is not available in your language, academics may send a translation to our webmaster to post up on the ARC website.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for translations of tests for further information and links. Full acknowledgement is given to you as the translator and your translation would be available for free from our website for other researchers to use. See Tests for more details about how to submit a translated test.

If a language version of a test you want is not posted on our website, this is because a translation in this language has not yet been made.
 
Note that the ARC does not have the resources to check the quality of translations.

Research

I want to know more on a topic relating to Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) that I read or heard about recently.

As a research centre, we are actively enaged in about 30 projects at any one time, but do not have the resources to provide advice on the full range of possible research areas. If you are interested in a specific research project that we are engaged in, please email the relevant scientist conducting the research on our staff pages. All up-to-date information about our research is posted under the Research Projects section of our website.

For information on research not related to the Autism Research Centre, the following links maybe useful:-

I have conducted my own research, and have a theory that could help autism research. Please could I send it to the ARC for comment.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to send comments on unsolicited theories or research that are emailed to us. outside the scientific journal peer review process.

I am trying to get hold of a research paper published by another research group – can you help?

We do not hold research papers published by other research groups. Please refer to the research group who originally published the study of interest. Alternatively you can search for the article at PubMed or see whether your local university library can obtain a copy for you. If the paper you are looking for was produced by ARC scientists, we aim to make many of these available for free download, providing this is simply part of information-sharing and not for commercial use, and without violating copyright rules.

Research Volunteers

I am a parent of a child who has a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and would like to help your research. How can I get involved?

You can help our research by registering online as a volunteer and filling in the requested details. You can also complete some questionnaires about your child. We will get in touch when specific research projects are recruiting participants for which your child may be eligible to take part in (e.g. according to gender, age, geographical location).

I am an adult (aged 16 years and over) who has a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), and would like to help the Autism Research Centre (ARC) research projects. How can I get involved?

You can help our research by registering online as a volunteer and filling in the requested details. You can also complete some questionnaires and tests about yourself. We will get in touch when specific research projects are recruiting participants for which you may be eligible to take part in (e.g. according to gender, age, geographical location).

I completed one of your online questionnaires/tests and obtained a score. How do I interpret what the score means?

If you have taken the AQ, EQ or SQ, immediate feedback is given after taking the test. We are still collecting data on the other tests and will post feedback about these tests in due course. We are unable to discuss individual score results. We use these tests for research purposes and they are not used for clinical purposes. No single score on any of our tests or questionnaires indicates that an individual may have an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). If you are concerned that you, or a friend or relative, may have ASC, please discuss these concerns with your GP or family doctor or ask the National Autistic Society (NAS) (telephone 0808 800 4104) for advice. There are equivalent societies in other countries.

Therapies and Treatment

I have heard about a therapy/treatment for Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and wanted to know more, or get some advice.

We are a research centre and cannot advise on specific treatments or therapies for ASC. Please contact the charity Research Autism for advice. Their website provides a summary of evidence for every autism treatment or intervention that has been through a research evaluation, irrespective of whether the results were negative or positive or neutral.

Multimedia and books

How do I obtain a copy of The Transporters DVD?

The Transporters DVD is available for purchase from The Transporters website. You can also watch Episode 1 for free online. For information on this educational resource see here.

Where can I get more information about Mind Reading?

For information on this educational resource see here.

You can purchase a copy of Mind Reading from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Contacting the Autism Research Centre

How can I contact an ARC scientist for a press interview?

If you wish speak to one of our scientists for media purposes, please telephone the University Press Office on 01223 332300.

Can I visit the Autism Research Centre (ARC)?

We are a busy academic department and regret that visitors to the ARC are by invitation only. We do not have the resources to meet visitors who are not coming to discuss a specific project, and many of our researchers are often off-site testing participants. If you are interested in learning more about our research, please visit the Research section on our website.

Academic and Work Opportunities

I am a teenager who would like to gain some work experience at the Autism Research Centre (ARC). Is this possible?

Sadly we are unable to offer work experience to high school/secondary school students very often, because of limited resources.

I am a university science/medical student who would like to get some unpaid research experience as part of an internship at the Autism Research Centre (ARC). Is this possible?

We are able to offer a handful of places for each academic year. Please contact Aubree Wisley, with your Curriculum Vitae.

Do you have any paid research opportunities at the ARC?

If any research positions become available, these will be advertised on our website and at the University of Cambridge jobs pages.

I am interested in pursuing a research degree at the Autism Research Centre (ARC). Who should I contact?

If you are interested in doing Doctoral or Masters level degree at the ARC, you should send a brief research proposal and your curriculum vitae to the potential supervisor, by email.

I am interested in a post-doctoral position at the Autism Research Centre (ARC). Who should I contact?

The ARC welcomes applicants from postdoctoral scientists in the field of biomedical and cognitive neuroscience aspects of autism spectrum conditions. Applicants should email the Director of the ARC with a research proposal, and should also consider applying to relevant charities or governmental bodies for grant support.

Web linking

We would like to post our website link on your website – how do we go about doing that?

Unfortunately we cannot post your website link on our website due to University regulations.

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