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Coproduction of a toolkit to develop inclusive strategies for stimming by autistic adults in the workplace and education. (ref: RDF20/SWECW/ATKIN)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The National Autistic Society suggest that approximately 1 in 100 people may be autistic, of which 48%-56% do not have a learning disability (National Autistic Society, no date). Behaviours associated with autism, such as stimming (repetitive motor movements), have historically been actively discouraged, however, conversely, autistic people identify stimming as enjoyable and useful in managing their anxiety in their everyday lives (Kapp, et al., 2019). There is limited research investigating stimming from the perspective of autistic people and, through their work with James Lind Alliance, autistic people have identified that there is a need to better understand the experiences of autism from their own perspective.

This study aims to build on current research by investigating the enablers and barriers to the utilisation of stimming in daily life for adults without an identified learning disability. This will inform the co-production of a toolkit to support the inclusion and participation of autistic adults in education and the workplace and be designed for use by practitioners, employers and autistic people.

The study will adopt a participatory research approach, ensuring that autistic people have a valued role in the research process. It will be based at Northumbria University, within the Faculty of Health and Life Science.

This study fits with MDRT Vulnerable populations and Social Justice; exploring the use of collaborative approaches to meet the needs of vulnerable groups.

Applications welcome from autistic people, community and health practitioners who have an interest in using participatory approaches.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Kapp, S. K., Steward, R., Crane, L., Elliott, D., Elphick, C., Pellicano, E., and Russell, G. (2019) ‘People should be allowed to do what they like’: Autistic adults’ views and experiences of stimming. Autism, 23(7), pp. 1782–1792.

National Autistic Society (no date) Autism Facts and History. Available at: (Accessed: 12th November 2019).

Cook, T., Atkin, H., and Wilcockson, J. (2018) ‘Participatory Research Into Inclusive Practice : Improving Services for People With Long Term Neurological Conditions’. FORUM : QUALITATIVE SOCIAL RESEARCH, 19(1), Art: 4.

McNaney, R., Wilson, C., Wallace, J., Brereton, M., Roper, A., Wilson, S. and Sturdee, M. (2018) Giving a voice through design: Adapting design methods to enhance the participation of people with communication difficulties. PDC '18 Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial. ACM, Vol. 2. 40. Hasselt, Belgium, 20th August

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