Child research theme

The focus of the Child research theme is on enabling early identification of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) across the lifespan.
The lead is Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and the Research Manager is Dr Carrie Allison. The theme is based in the Autism Research Centre of the University of Cambridge, at Douglas House.


Our main projects:


Information on our research for patients and the public

Applied Research in Autism


BP_7 Autism spectrum disorder briefing final4Oct12_001The Autism Research Centre has a database of 30,000 individuals with a diagnosis of ASC or a relative with ASC who have registered as volunteers. As well as participating in studies, volunteers have the opportunity to feed back about their experiences of taking part in research and often put forward ideas for new research.

We involve people with autism and parents in every stage of our research projects to make sure the research is relevant to them. For example, we hold focus groups to discuss possible research ideas, and we involve them in the advisory groups that oversee the research projects.


Further information
National Autistic Society:
Autism Research Centre:
Autism Research Trust:


Other information on our research

CLAHRC CP Briefing paper No  7 – Detection of autism spectrum conditions
CLAHRC BITE No 6 – A national diagnostic centre for adults with Asperger Syndrome.
CLAHRC BITE No 7 – Screening instruments for Autism Spectrum Condition


NICE Evidence Updates

Autism diagnosis in children and young people

The Evidence Update on Autism diagnosis in children and young people was published by NICE in April 2013.

Research done by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr Carrie Allison (CLAHRC CP) are cited in the evidence update. The report includes commentary from the Evidence Update Advisory Group on 25 new articles (relevant to NICE clinical guideline 128), covering the following topics:

  • Recognising children and young people with autism (including socioeconomic and demographic factors, and differences between girls and boys)
  • Referring children and young people to the autism team (use of autism diagnostic tools and possible trajectories of children’s development)
  • Autism diagnostic assessment for children and young people (use of diagnostic tools and factors affecting sensitivity and specificity of tools)
  • Medical investigations (electroencephalogram coherence and genetic testing)
  • Change in diagnosis over time.

Read more…