This week's CRI Research Seminar was given by Dr. Kirstie Whitaker of the Alan Turing Institute in London. The seminar demonstrates her work with Autistica on building a participatory, citizen science platform to gather data on how sensory processing affects autistic people’s navigation of the world.
Numerous studies have confirmed that autistic people experience sensory processing differences, and that this can significantly impact their lives. One aspect which is not yet fully understood is how these differences affect the ways in which autistic people navigate different environments. The seminar showcases the team's process of building a project that is participatory from the ground up and how they ensure that all aspects of the project are designed and developed in collaboration with members of the autistic community through focus groups and user testing in the design phase.
In close collaborations with CRI Research Fellow Bastian Greshake Tzovaras and the Open Humans community, they are developing a platform for which the software, design, process and governance documentation are all open source: They give the individual contributors control over how their data is used on the platform. Flipping the traditional scientific study on its head, their goal is to give a voice to autistic citizen scientists and educate neurotypical people.