Katrine Callander, an autistic PhD researcher in Social Policy at University of Kent, is conducting research exploring the complexities of trauma and identity among late-diagnosed autistic women. She has lived experience of the research focus area.

This research is based on life history and autistic narratives of impacts of trauma, identity, re-claiming of voice and authenticity. It considers cumulative trauma as well as significant traumatic experiences. It also explores potential connection with topics such as othering, marginalisation, embodiment and the value of using narratives to reclaim our authentic self and voice.

It will contribute to an emerging visibility and understanding of the consequences of living with various forms of trauma as an autistic woman. The research considers how thoughts on trauma adapt as we come to understand our autistic identity and look back upon our lives with a different perspective. It aims to provide recommendations for policy changes and guidelines to increase awareness, address un-met needs and improve trauma-informed support.

They are looking for:

  • Female aged 25 years or over
  • Have received a diagnosis or self-identify as autistic in adulthood.
  • Have experienced forms of significant or extended cumulative trauma.
  • Have received some form of support (for safeguarding)


Expected commitment from participants:

Participation will include narrative interviews to discuss lived experiences of life story, potential trauma and autistic identity. It can be via video or audio call, in writing and allow for required accommodations. Due to the subject matter, it is recommended that each session is max 60 min. If possible, participants are encouraged to take part in multiple sessions to share the complexity of their lived experience. This is not a requirement and duration of commitment is in the control of the participants themselves.


Commitment to inclusion:

Participation does not involve travel and timings can be extremely flexible, as the recommended method is online video calls (no video recordings will be made due to the sensitivity of the content). Alternative ways to contribute are also available, such as audio only, written or pre-recorded formats. There are clear safeguarding procedures and documents can be made available in accessible formats.

In relation to risk mitigation, these are among the key steps:

  • Provided participants with list of professional support resources and suggestions for autistic support and community groups.
  • Making it clear that I, as the primary researcher, is autistic and that one of my supervisors (Damian Milton) is a respected autistic researcher.
  • That I have lived experience of the subject matter and hence have an understanding from lived experience.
  • Ensuring that all participants have access to the questions beforehand for review.
  • Indicating that these are only intended as prompts and that they are in full control of any aspects of their narrative they wish to share.
  • Keeping the questions open-ended and not asking about specific trauma experiences.
  • The voluntary aspect and ability to withdraw for any reason is made specific. Clear and detailed instructions on confidentiality etc.

Closing date to apply:

Closing date for new participants February 2024 – interviews will be ongoing until May 2024.


If you apply for this study please let the organiser know that you saw it advertised through Shaping Our Lives. Thank you!

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