World Autism Awareness Day – a literature overview

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a day where autism organisations across the world seek to raise awareness of the condition. But what do we know about it? What are the key issues and where can we find out more?

Living with autism

  • In February, John Harris talked to Penny Andrews for BBC Radio 4’s One to One programme. Penny, not diagnosed until her thirties, talks about how the condition has affected her life, how it impacts upon her career and personal life. Penny and John also reflect on how employers and schools can provide more support and assistance.
  • Author Corinne Duyvis writes for The Guardian on how being diagnosed with autism was a moment of “sharp relief”. She goes on to explain how she believes the condition has “opened worlds” to her.


  • Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the university’s Autism Research Centre, is one of the leading figures in autism research and has written a significant number of papers on the subject. A collection of his key papers are indexed in Scopus (remember to click “Look for full text” to see if we have full text access to the paper!).
  • Case-Smith and Arbesman examine the research literature on interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of relevance to occupational therapy. Abstract, references and documents citing this paper are accessible via Scopus.
  • Individuals with ASD face significant barriers when it comes to employment. Dawn Hendricks (Virginia Commonwealth University) reviews the evidence based research related to employment for individuals with ASD. The review specifically focuses on the benefits of employment, obstacles to employment and an “in depth review of supports needed for success”. Hendricks’ paper is available via EBSCO (remember to login via Athens!).
  • Shuttock, P.T., Roux, A.M et al review English language research with respect to services for adults with ASD. They conclude that the evidence base about services for adults with ASD is “underdeveloped and can be considered a field of inquiry that is relatively unformed”. Their paper is available via SCOPUS.
  • Van der Meer, L.A.J. and Rispoli, M. look at the use of speech-generating devices (SGD) for children with autism. They conclude that the evidence base suggests that “SGDs are viable communication options for children with autism”. Their paper is also available via SCOPUS.
  • Allison Shefcyk looks at the preponderance of boys and men diagnosed with ASD, with girls and women often overlooked and diagnosed “considerably later than boys”. Her article is available here.
  • Bejerot et al revisit the hypothesis that the cognitive style in autism is best described as “an extreme variant of male intelligence” with the aim of shedding light on the biological underpinnings of autism. Their paper is available via The British Journal of Psychiatry here.

Web resources

  • The Mental Elf has a collection of interesting articles via the ‘autism’ tag.
  • The website for the charity Research Autism includes a range of information, including links to research articles, research they have sponsored and personal accounts by those with the condition.
  • Guidelines published by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for the recognition, referral, diagnosis and management of adults on the autism spectrum, are available on their website. There is also a wealth of information available via NICE’s Evidence Search tool.


  • The National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for people with autism and their families. The website provides information, support and campaigns on behalf of those with the condition.
  • The leading organisation in the United States, Autism Speaks, has come under some criticism from people on the autistic spectrum (see here, here and here).

Many thanks to Penny Andrews for her assistance in pulling together these resources.

If you need help conducting a literature search, please get in touch (email and Twitter are the best options) and we can arrange a one-to-one.


One thought on “World Autism Awareness Day – a literature overview

  1. Pingback: Availability over the Easter holidays… | UEL Library – Psychology Blog

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