A3i – Accessible audio for autistic individuals

Audio visual media is a part of daily life, from staying up to date with live news, enjoying a big-screen blockbuster, or curling up with a good boxset or podcast.

The provision of subtitling, audio description and sign interpretation go some way to ensuring diverse audiences can access audio visual media.

These services have been developed based on an understanding of how visually impaired, D/deaf, hard of hearing and second language learners consume content, but little knowledge exists about whether they meet the needs of other groups.

The A3i project aims to address some of this knowledge gap by exploring how autistic individuals, who can often experience differences in audio visual sensory processing, use existing access services like subtitling and audio description.

The research team has worked closely with a panel of autistic individuals to co-produce a survey and gather information including; what kind of content autistic people seek out and avoid, and the environments where they prefer to consume that content. 

Data collected from the survey has already revealed important insights such as that normal hearing autistic individuals use subtitles with similar regularity to hard of hearing individuals.

Over the coming months the research team will undertake detailed analysis of the data gathered before sharing results and insights with the autistic community, the broadcast industry and other researchers.

The work has been presented at the Aural Diversity Network Workshop on Acoustics and Psychoacoustics. Here’s a link to watch the presentation and here’s a link to read the script.

This project is funded through SIGN’s Collaborative Research Grants scheme.

Principal Investigator: Dr Lauren Ward (University of York)

Co-Investigators: Dr Gavin Kearney (University of York), Dr Megan Freeth (University of Sheffield), Dr Emma Morgan (University of Sheffield), Dr Daniel Poole (University of Sheffield), Ms Samera Haynes-Khan (Co-production panel lead)

This project is part of:

  • Research

    Investigating the challenges facing the screen industries and devising evidence-based interventions