help at hand - gheel autism servciesGheel Autism Services prides itself on developing evidenced based approaches to applied research. We have developed several key projects all of which have a strong practitioner flavour.

Soundbeam is a musical device where pre-programmed sounds/music can be triggered by simple human movement. At Gheel we have adapted the device to synchronise visual images with music. There is currently one study completed evaluating this device which is currently being submitted for publication.

Stress and Autism
A key element of the low arousal philosophy includes the reduction of stress/anxiety in people labelled with ASD. We are currently involved in a number of pilot studies in this area. These include the use of heart rate monitoring as a tool for measuring the effectiveness of stress management programmes. In addition we also are investigating the relationship between sensory issues and anxiety.

Person centred planning
We conducted a staff feedback study in 2007 as part fulfillment of a research grant from the National Development Authority. This work investigated the role of staff motivation and feedback in evaluating the outcomes of person centered planning.

Published Research
McDonnell, A.A., Sturmey, P., Oliver, C., Cunningham, J., Hayes, S., Galvin, M. & Walshe, C. (2008). The effects of staff training on staff confidence and client challenging behaviour. Research in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 2, 311-319.


Gheel autism servicesUseful research links:

There are numerous research websites available on the World Wide Web. We would recommend the following sites as useful.

Research Autism is a useful database of published research –

The Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University. –

The Autism research unit at the University of Sunderland. –