Ambassadors

Advocates

Credit: Anna Deacon

Chris Packham

Naturalist and TV Presenter

“As an autistic person I’m honoured to be an ambassador of Spectrum 10K because I believe in the value of science to inform the support services that autistic kids and adults will need.”

Paddy McGuinness

Actor, comedian, television presenter, and father of three autistic children.

“As a parent of three autistic children, I am really excited to support Spectrum 10K. This research is important to help us understand what makes every autistic person different, and how best to support them.”

Dr Carrie Grant MBE and David Grant MBE

Award-winning broadcasters, vocal coachers and advocates

“As parents of four children, two of whom are autistic, we understand it can feel like there are a lot of forms and surveys to fill out with little direct benefit. With Spectrum 10K there is hope that it could have real impact on health outcomes and the support available for autistic people. Our passion is to see more being done for girls and women on the spectrum and therefore we ask you to read more about Spectrum 10K and consider taking part.”

Dr Anna Gadney and Alastair Gadney

Parents of a teenager with autism and learning difficulties

We have been exploring, over many years, how to implement the best support for our son. We wholeheartedly endorse Spectrum 10K and hope our involvement can help increase understanding of autism and in-turn support many families out there.

Dr Catherine Gardner

Scientific research into autism can benefit everybody, by providing information for and about autistic people and their families. This is a valuable opportunity to feed into such a wide-ranging study.”

Eleanor Macy

Katharine Macy's mother

I was 42 when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD. Both my children have diagnoses of Asperger’s or High-Functioning Autism. I believe research like Spectrum 10K will help us understand more about the condition, including the positives which I call our ‘superpowers’.”

Katharine Macy

Eleanor Macy's daughter, PhD student and autistic ambassador

Understanding autism and how it impacts the autistic community is vital and that’s why this research is so important to me! Knowing the barriers I’ll face in the future will help me better prepare.”

Michael Stables

Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2007

Autistic people share similar characteristics but experience life in a wide range of different ways based on their own circumstances. Every individual’s experience needs to be heard with equal weight. Research allows that. I encourage all autistic people to sign up to Spectrum 10K.”

Moyna Talcer

Consultant Occupational Therapist

“As a passionate professional working in the field of autism and also a researcher, I am honoured to have been asked to be an ambassador for this exciting piece of research. Like many other women, I was diagnosed as autistic later on in life, and for me, the diagnosis and my own research, has enabled me to reframe my experiences from a positive and empowering viewpoint. We still have a long way to go in terms of fully understanding autism, and how it presents and research is an essential part of this journey. This research will hopefully lead to better understanding, and provide valuable insight. I hope this insight will reduce stigma in society and highlight the strengths rather than focus on the challenges. 

Mary Davey Thewlis

I spent most of my life as a husband and father, and was diagnosed as Asperger late in life, giving up the pretence of being a man even later. I want to help with research that is intended to understand the difficulties faced by autistic people in a neurotypical dominated society, and to nourish our gifts and abilities.”

David Thorburn

David received a diagnosis of autism during adulthood. It was through his own research that he learnt about autism and how it not only related to his grandson but also to him.

I wholly support the Spectrum 10K study and believe this type of research will lead to a greater understanding of autism which in turn will enable a more targeted approach to support and interventions.”

Paula Wright

Writer, actress, comic, creative artist and current MSc student

“As an autistic person, I left school with zero qualifications. People thought I was stupid because I couldn’t communicate well. I was homeless three times. I’ve gone on to study the arts and sciences. I have co-authored a scientific paper, become a writer and a creative artist. Too many talented people on the autism spectrum fall through the cracks of society. That has to change.”

Researchers / Scientists

Dr Venki Ramakrishnan

Former president of the Royal Society and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

“I’m delighted to support the work of the Spectrum 10K research team so that our knowledge of autism is based on cutting edge science for the benefit of autistic people and their families.

Sir Shankar Balasubramanian

Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Cambridge

“Spectrum 10K will significantly advance our understanding of the causes of autism, which can then be translated into practical support.

Advocacy Groups

Siún Cranny, CEO of Autism Wessex

“Any studies that aim to deepen our understanding of autism and which can improve services for autistic people is invaluable. We encourage as many people as possible to get involved. This project opens the door to collating worthwhile evidence to inform the journey towards a world that is more accepting of autism.”

Principal Investigators at NHS Sites

Dr Venkat Reddy, Consultant Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust

“There is a need to conduct further research into autism and co-occurring conditions to enable researchers and clinicians to build a better understanding of autism.”

Prof. Regi Alexander, Consultant Psychiatrist

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

I am a consultant specialising in the mental health of neurodiverse people. I have also been witness to the physical and mental health inequities faced by some autistic people. That is why I think the Spectrum 10K study, a shared endeavor of autistic people, their families and clinical researchers, is such a major step forward.”

Sharon Hudson, Research Manager/Lead Nurse, and Caroline Finlayson, Clinical Lead Speech and Language Therapist for Adults with Learning Difficulties and Autism

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

“Autistic people with learning difficulties are an underrepresented group in research and increasing the opportunity for autistic people to participate in studies such as Spectrum 10K helps to build the evidence base for future care and treatment.

Sarah Wilcock, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist

Oxford NHS Foundation Trust

“This study is both a welcome and significant opportunity to gather much needed empirical evidence about the lived experience of autistic people. The hope is that this will generate data to influence how services are commissioned and delivered. Autistic individuals need to be recognised as deserving bespoke, targeted interventions that truly reflect their needs and help them to thrive.

Healthcare Professionals

Dr Stephen Westgarth, Medical Director

Child Psychiatry UK Ltd

“Up until now many families’ experiences of autism support has been of a delayed and lengthy assessment, but then very little real help thereafter. Spectrum 10K has exciting implications in the long term. The hope is that this will provide clinicians like me with more information about why some autistic people have different outcomes. It could help develop targeted interventions for linked conditions in different groups of autistic people.

Dr Pawan Rajpal, Consultant Psychiatrist

Private Practice

“I want to encourage autistic individuals to consider taking part in Spectrum 10K to help researchers gain a better understanding of the factors which contribute to autism and the physical and mental health of autistic individuals.

Dr Nivedita Bajaj, Consultant Community Paediatrician

East and North Herts NHS Trust

“Understanding the factors underlying the variability within the autistic community is of utmost importance. The findings and knowledge gained from Spectrum 10K can be used for future novel interventions to support autistic people should they need it, which makes participation in this study incredibly valuable.