Research

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND AUTISM

Suzie Wolff researched the sensory benefits of participating in Outdoor Activities for adults on the Autistic spectrum. She did this as part of her MA in outdoor education, which she is studying at Worcester University.

The Aims of the Research were:  

•To understand what the sensory benefits are when participating in Outdoor Activities for adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

•To understand whether the colours found in nature benefit adults with ASD.

•To learn whether different senses (space, touch, wind, sound, light and smells) experienced when participating in Outdoor Activities benefit people with ASD.

Four adults from the NAS Companions group volunteered to be interviewed.  The findings explained that the participants sought after sensory benefits when outside; received sensory therapeutic value in participating in outdoor activities and enjoyed sensory value in place.

Thus, large organisations and public parks need to invest in Autism Friendly places with the possibility of having different zones to meet the different individual needs for people with ASD. For example: silent walks, quiet areas, no dogs’ area, large open spaces, woodland spaces, open and closed spaces, places of scenic beauty, places of colours and the possibility of a sensory trail. I believe the possibility of new interventions which use the outdoors as a sensory tool for therapy and relaxation will improve the overall quality of life of people with ASD and support them to live in a ‘neuro-typical’ world.


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PhD researcher Mirabel, from Coventry University is conducting research into suicidality in ASD. She is organising a group at Coventry University to discuss her ideas.

The group will provide feedback on the research ideas and how Mirabel intends to undertake the research.  It’s really important to her to get the views of autistic adults so that the project produces outcomes that make a real difference.

If you have any questions or would like to take part in this research, please contact her below.

peltonm@uni.coventry.ac.uk