Many autistic youth have a strong need to be socially connected and to make friends. Yet, in school and other places with peers, they often feel lonely and isolated. In our research about and with autistic youth, we want to understand how socially connected autistic youth are, how this affects their mental health and well-being, but also what social connection means from an autistic perspective. Up till now, autism research (too) often has used tools that were developed and validated in allistic (i.e. non-autistic) contexts, which can end up projecting rather unsuitable values onto research participants. For that reason, a key step in our project is to involve autistic youth and autistic researchers in our lab, and develop instruments that better capture the needs, desires, and capacities among autistic youth. Additionally, we study how emotion socialization and social connections affect autistic youth and their mental health, over time.
For example, Carolien is part of the advisory board of Leerlingen Belang Voortgezet Speciaal Onderwijs (LBVSO) where special school students represent their own interests on a national level. Read more here about her meeting with LBVSO and the Dutch Minister of Education here (link article).
Psychology - Carolien Rieffe, Lex Stockmann, Boya Li, Marieke Bos, Evelien Broekhof, Yung-Ting Tsou, Kexin Liu, Jiayin Zhao, Claudia Libbi (Leiden University).
Child Psychiatry - Robert Vermeiren (LUMC-Curium), Els Blijd-Hoogewys, Salima Kamp, Floor Stehouwer (INTER-PSY), Kirsten Greaves-Lord (Erasmus University Medical Center / Academic Workplace Autism).
Stakeholders organizations - NVA (Dutch National Autism Organisation), AWA (Academic Workplace Autism), FANN (Female Autism Network Netherlands).
Computer Science - Mitra Baratchi, Maedeh Nasri (Leiden University)
Architecture - Alexander Koutamanis (TU Delft).
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