, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 241-257

Autism Research: Lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future

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The paper uses both the author’s experience of research training, and the empirical studies of autism in which he participated over the last 40-plus years, to derive research lessons and to consider the needs and prospects for future research. Attention is drawn to: the importance of mentors; the need to use technologies in a hypothesis-testing fashion; the important of possible creative/innovative leaps and of recognition of the unexpected; the need to ask challenging questions and to recognize when the original ideas were mistaken. There is great value in broadening the scientific strategies used to investigate a particular condition and much is to be gained by deliberately seeking parallels with other conditions.

Lifetime career award address given at the meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), Orlando, 23 November 2002.