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University of Bath

Supporting autistic adults in interviews

This project will create guidance for professional groups so they can better support autistic people

A table with the hands of an interviewer and interviewee opposite each other
This research will help us understand what interviews are like for autistic adults

People with autism are often disadvantaged in employment, healthcare and police interviews because impairments in social and cognitive processes (such as memory and communication) can affect their ability to relay relevant and important information.

This project aims to elucidate the difficulties that autistic adults have in reporting information in these contexts, and to develop appropriate methods of interviewing to support them.

Research funding

The research is funded by a Future Research Leaders award from the Economic and Social Research Council to Dr Katie Maras.

Overview of experimental work

The research characterises not only the difficulties but also the strengths experienced by autistic people in reporting episodic and personal autobiographical information under different conditions in the laboratory.

Support for social and cognitive abilities that are important in formal interview contexts are the primary focus of this investigation. These include:

  • recalling detailed and accurate episodic memories of eyewitness events

  • reporting personal information that highlights one's strengths in job interviews

  • recalling specific memories of past autobiographical events

  • monitoring and regulating reports to optimise accuracy and level of detail

  • switching between different tasks and understanding the interviewer’s intentions

The research also examines wider factors that can impact autistic adults’ outcomes in these different interviewing contexts, including:

Development of practical support

Practical guidance is under development for professional groups so they can better support adults with autism in interviews.

This supportive interviewing model is developed for use across a range of professional and public services, including:

  • the Criminal Justice System

  • employers

  • health and social care professionals

Impact and public engagement activities include the development of/ contributions to: