Autistics Unmasked has an #ActuallyAutistic team dedicated to conducting research on all things related to being autistic. The Research Team collaborates with the Education Team and the Social Media Team in helping to make academic research, statistics, and articles accessible for AU and the wider autistic community. The Research Team works on several projects that aim to collect and share information for the benefit of the autistic community.
An important part of the Research Team’s current work is collaborating with the Education Department in making a curriculum for schools and colleges at all levels to educate educators and students about autism and autistic people. To guide the process, the Research Team will conduct surveys and interviews with members of the wider autistic community as well as literature reviews to compile information and resources.
Many autistic youth and adults who were not identified as autistic during childhood seek clinical diagnosis after first self-identifying as autistic. Self-assessment is often the critical first step in a previously unidentified autistic person’s journey towards self-discovery, connecting with the autistic community, and embracing their autistic identity. Despite the importance of self-identification, research and resources on the topic are limited. The Autistics Unmasked Research Team is working on creating a comprehensive guide for self-assessment and navigating the clinical assessment process. Throughout the project, the Research Team will be seeking feedback from the wider autistic community.
Working towards AU’s mission of creating a safe space for autistic people of the Global Majority, the Research Team is surveying and detailing the experiences of autistics of the Global Majority to make information about autism and being autistic more accessible and inclusive. Current information about autism focuses greatly on the white, cisgender, heterosexual male experience – we aim to challenge this stereotype. Through surveys and interviews, we hope to amplify the voices of autistics of the Global Majority, contribute to dismantling the stereotype of autism as a “white male-only” neurotype, and be a credible source of information for autistics of the Global Majority in their journey towards self-discovery and connecting with the autistic community.
Heini Natri, Ph.D. (she/her) – Head of Research
As a member of Autistics Unmasked Leadership, the Head of Research is responsible for aligning the team’s goals with AU’s mission, coordinating the team’s activities, and providing support and guidance.
Heini is a biologist and computational scientist in the field of human genetics. She advocates on several fronts for socially responsible research, ethical conduct, and against all forms of eugenics.
AJ Bowen (he/they) – Researcher
AJ is a creative with a passion for black autistic advocacy and changing the way people think about the neurotype as well as opinions on ADHD. In addition to the work he does with Autistics Unmasked, he makes and records his own music as well as is active on Twitter in some neurodiverse circles.
Hol – Researcher
Hol is a current undergraduate student in Politics and International Studies, hoping to pursue a career in research, with a specific interest in autistic experiences in relation to politics. As well as this, Hol has an active Twitter account where they often tweet about their experiences as an autistic person, as well as identifying as an #ActuallyAutistic advocate.