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People and Communities

In SWECW, we conduct research often directly with the public who have experienced various forms of marginalisation including mental health distress, disability and abuse. We often work in creative ways with diverse communities to create and disseminate the findings of our research. Find out more about our projects below. 

Projects

Enhancing the capacity of autistic people to use public transport

Autistic individuals face social and cognitive difficulties that affect their ability to establish relationships, maintain employment and participate in community activities. The independent use of public transport systems could be difficult and anxiety evoking for autistic travellers, as the task requires planning, interpreting schedules, managing transfers and problem-solving unpredictable changes. Safety concerns on the part of their families further limit their independent use of public transport. Furthermore, there is also limited understanding of the difficulties autistic people face while planning for, and accessing, public transport. 

The overall aim of this project is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young autistic adults by developing and pilot testing a trouble shooting technology solution and other resources to improve access to and use of public transportation. The public transportation project will involve three studies, each involving consultation with the research advisory group of autistic adults established through Curtin University. Find out more about the project

Project partners include The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), Western Sydney University, Northumbria University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Experiences and perspectives of parents and carers on the revised Little Orange Book: An evaluation

Principal Investigator: Lynette Shotton

In this project funded by Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group, Lynette Shotton is leading a team of academics and researchers (members of FUSE and work across the North East) to undertake an evaluation of the revised Little Orange Book. The Little Orange Book was developed by Newcastle Gateshead CCG in 2016 and aims to help parents and carers of young children to self-manage common childhood symptoms and to encourage the appropriate use of health services.

Improving independence in driving for autistic adults

Challenges in community mobility can act as barriers to social inclusion for autistic individuals. Driving is often difficult as it requires quick decisions and problem solving in response to often unpredictable scenarios such as road conditions and traffic. There is currently a lack of understanding about how autistic learner drivers read and respond to traffic and hazards on the road. The problem is further confounded as there are currently no established standards in Australia for assessing driving behaviours. 

The overall aim of this project is to address community mobility challenges experienced by young autistic adults. This project aims to design, pilot testing and evaluate the feasibility, appropriateness and effectiveness of an autistic driver training package in supporting learner drivers with autism to obtain a driver’s licence and maintain on-road safety. Find out more about the project

Project partners include The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), Western Sydney University, Northumbria University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Participation in pre-drinking and drinking games among university students in ten countries: Drinking game type, social and cultural determinants, and motives

Pre-drinking and drinking games are common risky drinking practices among young adults globally, with limited cross-country studies to date researching this subject. This study strengthens and extends previous research, to gain further insights into pre-drinking and drinking games by expanding the sample to include more countries. This study follows up statements by students saying they use drinking game playing as a form of pre-drinking/pre-partying. Most published studies, regarding students’ participation in pre-drinking and drinking games, originate from the United States of America and Australia. This study extends research to Singapore, the United Kingdom and countries of mainland Europe.  

University students from ten countries completed an anonymous online questionnaire in the Autumn Semester 2021. The questionnaire included measures of the frequency of pre-drinking and drinking game participation, along with drinking game types, an event-specific assessment of pre-drinking and/or drinking game contexts, social and cultural determinants of pre-drinking and/or drinking game behaviors, and motives for pre-drinking and/or playing drinking games. Responses are compared by the gender, and country of domicile of the participants.  

McInnes, A. and Blackwell, D. (2021) Drinking games among university students in five countries: Participation rates, game type, contexts, and motives to play. Addictive Behaviors, 119.  

Reading resilience in a prison community

In this project (£46,000, funded by the ESRC/AHRC Connected Communities fund, and part of the wider Imagine Project) Professor Elizabeth Hoult worked with participants in a men’s prison to develop an understanding of the applicability of a theory of adult resilient learning as being constituted in the ability to read in plural ways. She used science fiction films as ways in to discussing alternative futures with the participants. Find out more about the project:  


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