Happy New Year! 2019 was an excellent year for the Autism Research Trust, as we continued to fund some incredible studies to better the lives of autistic people. We also came across some incredible stories and important studies from other people and organizations. Below, we’ve put together our most popular tweets of the year.

1. A greater risk of hardship

In July, we posted about research that we funded which showed that autistic adults could be more likely to experience hardship such as financial difficulties, domestic abuse and bullying. 

The research contains some harrowing statistics but might explain the mental health difficulties that many autistic people face. It could also, hopefully, act as evidence to persuade Government to make more efforts to protect autistic people. 

You can read our article about this research and find a link to the full study here.

2. Measuring social skills

Another popular story in 2019 was an article from Spectrum evaluating the best social skill tests for autistic adults. 

Many autistic people have trouble with social skills, but there has been no standard way to measure improvement in these skills specifically in autistic adults.

In the research, eleven tests were evaluated and eight of them proved to be both valid and sensitive (reliably distinguishing between autistic and typical adults).

3. The link between autism and anorexia

Our third most popular story of the year was a BBC News article quoting the charity Autistica.

Looking at three separate studies carried out in 2015 and 2017, Autistica said that one in five women in UK clinics with anorexia may also be autistic.

In the news item, the charity calls for new guidelines from health watchdog NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to reflect this statistic, as well as tailored therapy.

4. Are autistic people being misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

One of our most well-received articles of all time is about a research study we funded back in 2017, which showed that there is an overlap in the behaviour traits of people diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and autism.

This research is interesting as it points out the difficulties that people with these conditions have in dealing with the social world, but also their strengths, as both groups of people have above-average abilities in systemizing. It is also important as it might mean that many people could be receiving the wrong diagnosis and not getting the right support.

Read the full article, and if you would like to fund more groundbreaking research like this, please consider donating today.

5. Hollyoaks star reveals autism diagnosis

With an incredible 46,087 impressions and 1,440 engagements, the news story that topped the charts on our Twitter account this year was about Hollyoaks star Stephanie Davies.

The actress revealed that she is autistic in a very candid video blog.

Stephanie has since made a second video on her YouTube channel, explaining some of her autistic traits.

You can find Davies’ YouTube channel here and follow her on Twitter at @Stephdavis77. With such a huge following, she could really help people to understand what autism can look like.

What was your favourite news story from 2019? Let us know on Twitter at @AutismResearchT and be sure to follow us to see the latest from us and our favourites from around the world.