MAGIC: Markers of autism and gender incongruence in children

This is a project run by Professors David Williams and Eilis Kennedy, and Dr Lauren Spinner. We will explore how gender identity develops in autistic and non-autistic children, as well as the relationship between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and gender incongruence (when birth-assigned sex does not align with gender) in children. We hope our findings will allow for enhanced assessments of autistic and non-autistic children referred to gender services in the future and aid the development of more personalised support.

What will this study involve?

  • Children will complete a series of video-game-like tasks and questionnaires about their social, emotional, and cognitive abilities, as well as their gender identity. The tasks and questionnaires will be completed over two online sessions via Zoom. These sessions will be facilitated by a member of the project team. The completion time of each session is approximately 60 – 75 minutes including breaks.
  • Mothers or fathers will complete an online survey that includes questions about their child’s personality characteristics and gender identity (completion time: approximately 30 minutes). They will also complete online some tasks and questionnaires about their own social, emotional, and cognitive abilities, as well as their gender identity (completion time: approximately 42 minutes).

How will we be rewarded?

Each family will receive an e-voucher worth £30 and each child an e-voucher worth £5.

Can we take part in the study?

To participate:

  • your child must be 7 to 14 years old, verbally fluent, and speak English at a native level (additionally autistic children must have a formal diagnosis of ASD);
  • you must have a stable internet connection and a laptop or a desktop computer that supports audio and video.

How can I express my interest?

If you are interested, please get in touch at with the subject-line “Markers of autism and gender incongruence” and we will send more detailed information.