Learning to keep conversations going

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Illustration of two children talking with speech bubbles above them

Studies running now

Contact us to take part

We are running various conversation studies with children aged between 7 and 11 years, who speak in full sentences, hear mostly English at home, live in the UK and who do not have any hearing impairments. On completion of a study, we would email you an e-voucher and a certificate.

We are looking for…

  • children who meet the above criteria and who also have a confirmed autism diagnosis;
  • children who meet the above criteria and who have no suspected diagnoses and no difficulties at school;

We use a variety of methods including:

  • studies in which your child would chat on Zoom with a researcher;
  • studies for which you would complete questionnaires;
  • studies for which we would work with your child one-to-one in his or her school;
  • possibly some studies for which you would visit us in either the Kent Child Development Unit or the Sheffield Cognitive Development Lab.

For all studies, we would first email you a link which contains the information sheet for that study along with questions about the language(s) spoken at home, which diagnoses your child has (if any), information about your child’s interests, gender, age, social abilities, flexibility of thinking and level of support required at school (if any).

Please note:

  1. We would ask that you do not tell your child that we are assessing their conversational skills, as this may make some children feel under pressure, which could affect their performance. Instead, we will tell your child that we are looking at card playing skills, vocabulary and pattern matching and that “because these can get a bit boring, we will chat in between”.
  2. Also, please do not tell your child that we have asked about their special interests as this may also affect performance in this task. (We can tell you at the end of the study why this is the case).


If you would like to talk to anyone about this project, please email either:

Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith (project lead) – email: K.Abbot-Smith@kent.ac.uk

Or conversation@kent.ac.uk