Adapting trial methods for neurodiverse populations

Theme Mental health

Workstream Biological interventions, trial recruitment and safety

Status: This project is ongoing

The aim of this project is to understand how we can involve people with neurodevelopmental conditions in randomised control trials. A randomised control trial is a study in which people are randomly assigned to two (or more) groups to test a specific drug, treatment or other intervention. The new intervention is only tested in one group while the other group is given an alternative intervention, a dummy intervention (placebo) or no intervention at all.

People with neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, have historically been seen as hard to recruit for trials despite their extensive health needs. We want to change this by working with the autistic community to develop evidence and resources that will help us design and conduct trials in this population. This will include work on how we can recruit and retain neurodiverse people throughout the trial process.

We will gather evidence and interview teams from previous trials to identify barriers and challenges to recruitment. Our aim is to develop a framework of good practice which makes it possible to successfully recruit people with neurodevelopmental conditions for randomised control trials.

Screenshot of paper about lockdown experiences and views of autistic adults of taking part in research in the future

Lockdown Experiences and Views on Future Research Participation of Autistic Adults in the UK During the First 6 Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic