Adult Autism Research Priorities and Conceptualization in Computing Research: Invitation to Co-Lead with Autistic Adults

Catherine Holloway, Dr Giulia Barbareschi, Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez
Jan. 24, 2024
Academic Research Publications


Autism research is primarily targeted toward children and at normalizing autistic traits. We conducted a literature review of computing research on adult autism, focusing on identifying research priorities set by autistic adults and their allies, determining participation levels, identifying how autism is conceptualized, and the types of technologies designed and their purposes.

We found:

1) that computing research in adult autism is neither representative of older and non-binary adults nor of autistic adults living outside the USA and Europe;

2) a lack of technologies geared towards the priorities set by autistic adults and their allies, and

3) that computing research primarily views adult autism as a medical deficit and builds design solutions and technologies that follow this marginalizing narrative. We discuss the status quo and provide recommendations for computing researchers to encourage research built on user needs and respectful of autistic adults.