Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Project Deliverables

Barriers and Facilitators to Research Engagement

Barriers and Facilitators to Engaging the Autism Community in Research

This document is intended to be used as a resource for anyone looking to engage autistic self-advocates, clinicians, family members and caregivers, and researchers in all phases of research to support the autism community. Mitigating identified barriers and implementing facilitators may promote optimal participation, representation, and inclusion of all stakeholders.

The barriers and facilitators identified in this document were generated by the Autistic Self-Advocate, Clinician, Researcher, and Family Member and Caregiver groups. Several ideas identified by these groups were similar and several members in these groups held multiple identities. For these reasons, the ideas of all four groups were integrated in this tool.

Rules of Engagement

TRUST Rules of Engagement

These rules of engagement drew on prior meeting formats and communication rules. They were modified and adapted over the course of the project and were used at the beginning of Stakeholder Group and Steering Committee meetings. We have added a section specific to zoom meetings. We recommend that potential users review these rules with their group members and customize as needed for the rules and wishes of the group.

Rules of Engagement

  • All participants have time to share their stories, experiences, and insights
  • People are able to talk without being interrupted
  • Everyone is listening well throughout
  • Judgements are suspended
  • Participants create a climate that fosters respect, trust, belonging, and acknowledgement of multiple forms of expertise
  • Opportunities for learning and co-production of ideas are supported
  • Diversity in communication styles and different modes in communication are supported
  • Communications will be adjusted as possible to meet individual stakeholder preferences (e.g., text, phone, email)
  • There is vigilance and sensitivity about the use of language
  • Emotion is supported
  • Multiple perspectives are elicited and valued
  • When perspectives differ, people are encouraged to understand perspectives of others which may vary from their own
  • Language matters in many ways and people are encouraged to respect the ways people chose to represent themselves and be mindful of how words are chosen to promote a safe and engaging environment
  • Crosstalk is minimized
  • Questions are framed narratively to the extent possible
  • Confidentiality is provided as appropriate