Please click on the studies index page for a list of all childhood Autism studies, including those currently recruiting from Newcastle and Durham University.
Why do we do research?
Research aims to find answers. Through research we can move towards a better way to do things. Within the field of childhood autism research, knowledge can be gained that can be used in improving the care that children and their families receive. Working towards answers and solutions is a very complex process and often requires many studies to provide the pieces to a very intricate puzzle.
Are studies safe?
To do this carefully monitored studies are set up. These studies have to go through a rigorous process of approvals to ensure every detail is looked at to ensure those taking part in the study - research participants - are well informed, supported and safe.
All studies will have to go through a Research Ethics Committee which is made up of many suitably qualified members who review all parts of the study and offer independent advise to the research team. Only when the study has received the necessary approvals will the research team be able to approach health professionals and potential participants and inform them about the study.
Things to consider when considering to take part in a study?
It is a very personal decision whether to allow your child to take part. You should make sure you fully understand what is involved for you and your family and you should feel free to say ‘no’. You and your family will receive the best care possible, whether you take part in a study or not.
If you are interested in taking part in a study you should consider very carefully what this will involve. A member of the research team who knows the study very well will talk to you about the project and explain in detail what it will involve for you and your child. They will also give you an information sheet to read, which explains the project. You should keep this information sheet to refer back to for information about the study or the contact details of the researchers.
Asking questions is very important when coming to a decision about whether or not to take part. Some questions you might want to ask are:
Why is this project being done?
What will my child or I have to do if we agree?
Are there any risks?
What happens if something goes wrong?
Will you tell me the results of the project?
Take time to think about the project and the answers you were given to your questions, and talk it through with your child, family or friends. If you are at all unsure about any aspect of the project, you should contact the researcher. His or her contact details will be on the information sheet.
If you feel that you and your family would like to take part in the study you will be asked to sign a consent form. This is a document which summarises the study. You will need to read this form very carefully before signing. The health professional with you will countersign and date this document. You will be given a copy to keep and the research team will keep the original copy.
Even though you have signed this consent form this doesn't mean you are bound to take part in the study. If at any point you wish to withdraw from the study you are free to do so without giving a reason. This will not affect your care in any way now or in the future.
Through the time and commitment given by the research participants the research team can gather a wealth of valuable information which helps to expand our knowledge of autism in children and helps health professionals understand causes and develop and improve current treatments.
For information about how individuals can get involved in advising how research is conducted, you can visit the National Institute of Health's Get Involved with Clinical Research website.