Mental health

Illustration of person walking in forest

Autism and connection to nature

What role does nature play in the wellbeing of autistic adults? What are autistic adults' views on connecting with during the covid-19 pandemic? These questions were addressed by Dr Sam Friedman during her time at PacLab. We found that for many, although not all, a connection to nature and the outdoors was important for providing 'an escape' and a 'non-judgemental' context. Read more here and here.

Cartoon of children planting flowers

Forest school for autistic children

This project investigated the experiences of autistic children at school, using a self-determination theory perspective. Dr Sam Friedman led this research, drawing on her experience as a qualified Forest School teacher. Our results indicated that Forest School benefited autistic children through opportunities to play, exercise autonomy, and develop practical, motor, and social skills. However, challenges were also evident, including children absconding and conflict between peers. The success of sessions seemed contingent on adherence to routines and the influence of the adults present. Read more here.

illustration of people forming a network

Groups of good fit