Take part

Join our database

We are currently recruiting both children and adults to take part in our research. Complete an online form to join.

Join the database as a:

By adding your details to our database, we will be able to contact you with information about studies that you or your child may be eligible for. You can then decide whether or not you would like to take part.

In addition to obtaining data from individuals with a diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions (ASC), we need to be able to compare the results to those obtained from individuals without a diagnosis of ASC. Therefore you, or your child, can also contribute to our research even if you (or they) don't have a diagnosis of ASC.

Join one of our current studies

There are a number of studies taking place within ShARL, find out more about studies currently recruiting volunteers.

About volunteering

Volunteering to take part in our research can be online or could require a visit to our lab. Our lab is located in the department of Psychology, at the University of Sheffield. Our experience is that volunteers really enjoy their testing session, and find it exciting and fun to be part of a research project.

A lab visit usually takes two to three hours, and typically involves:

  • Working on cognitive tasks, often on the computer, eg looking for targets on the screen (eg a red triangle) and pressing a button when you’ve seen it.

  • Interacting with the experimenter, eg engaging in age-appropriate conversation, turn-taking, story telling or problem solving.

  • Parents or caregivers will be asked to complete a couple of questionnaires about the participant’s social skills and developmental milestones.

Some studies may also involve recording EEG, or measuring eye-movements while working on the cognitive tasks.


Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a harmless and painless procedure that involves placing a sponge covered hairnet on the head. The sponges record electrical activity conveyed from the brain to the scalp, and provides important information about how the brain responds to different stimuli. The sponges contain gel so your hair may get a little messy!

Our experimenters are well trained in using these techniques with children, including children with ASC. The protocol can often be adapted for a particular child's needs. If your child would like to take part, we can discuss their eligibility with you.

All of our studies receive full ethical approval from the appropriate ethical review committee, and information about what any particular study involves will be given before you decide to take part.

Eye tracking

Eye tracking records exactly where you are looking when you are completing different tasks, this helps us to understand how the attention and perception system works.

If the experiment involves working on a computer, a small device will sit just below the computer screen and will track what you are looking at during the experiment.

If the experiment involves moving around or talking with an experimenter, you will wear a pair of lightweight glasses which contain a mobile eye tracking device and record your eye movements via infra red cameras.