Hello! I’m an autistic PhD student at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). I’m currently preparing for my first round of research studies tied to representations of autism in television. A lot of studies on this have been done by non-autistic researchers, so I’m really excited to tackle it from an autistic perspective. Here’s are descriptions of the studies I’m working on now. If you’d be interested in participating in any of these, you can sign up below to be notified by email when they become available.

* * * * * * * * *

Recognizing Autism through Visible Characteristics and Behaviors

This study will ask autistic and non-autistic people about how they recognize autism in others. The reason I’m doing this is because I think we recognize each other in ways that don’t always necessarily line up with the diagnostic criteria. For example, I was watching a tv show that had two autistic characters walking down a hallway and talking together. My immediate reaction was, “She’s autistic, he’s pretending.” Some googling revealed that my guess had been correct — one actor was autistic and the other was non-autistic. Many autistic people find themselves speculating about the neurotype of people they encounter. What are we seeing and recognizing when this kind of thing happens? The point of this study is to identify this stuff and compare it to the diagnostic criteria, and to compare the responses of autistic and non-autistic people.

Status: IRB amendment in process, hope to begin data collection in August 2021.

(IRB = Institutional Review Board, the university organization that has to sign off on all studies before they can begin collecting data)

* * * * * * * * *

Autistic and Non-autistic Experiences with Forms and Rating Scales

Have you ever been filling out an online form with one of those rating scales that gives a statement where you have to choose an answer between strongly disagree and strongly agree, and gotten frustrated because all you can think is, “It depends,” or “I don’t know what you’re asking!” Me too! Or maybe you’ve never had that issue? Also cool! This study will ask both autistic and non-autistic people about their experiences with forms, and to look over some common rating scales used in media research and pick out any items that you think might cause you difficulty if you were trying to fill them out. Participation options are live interview via Zoom or Slack, or just answer the questions through a web form (to accommodate different communication needs/preferences). When I do my primary research later this year around tv representation, it will use a number of established rating scales used in media research. I want to make sure that study is autism-friendly, so I’m doing this rating scales study first to document common reactions to filling in forms and to identify any rating scale items that might need revision with more specific language.

Status: IRB amendment in process, hope to begin data collection in July/August 2021.

* * * * * * * * *

Autistic TV Characters You Remember

This will be a simple survey asking about autistic characters you’ve seen before on tv.

Status: Will submit IRB application once the results of the forms study are in, in case I need to modify any of the rating scales first. Hope to begin data collection in September 2021.

* * * * * * * * *

Realism and Enjoyment of Shows with Autistic Characters

For this one, you would be asked to watch one episode of a television show (randomly assigned, so you may have seen it before), and to fill in a survey afterward. The purpose of the study is to compare how autistic and non-autistic audiences view and respond to the autistic characters and storylines.

Status: Will submit IRB application in August 2021, hope to begin study in September/October 2021.

* * * * * * * * *

Participatory Research: Content Analysis of TV Shows

This one’s a little different. Instead of me doing all the research and participants mostly just filling in surveys, for this I’d like to form a group of folks interested in doing a project together around autistic representation in tv. Specifically, after the study about recognizing autistic characteristics and behaviors , I think it would be cool to go through some of the current shows and identify which of the characteristics and behaviors on display in autistic characters are specific to diagnostic criteria vs those identified in the earlier study, as well as how they appear on a scale from stereotypical to realistic. Would involve helping to determine the scope of the research, contributing to the research plan, watching multiple episodes of television, and filling in forms as you scrutinize each show.

Status: Will submit to IRB after a) a participatory group is formed, and b) after the Recognizing Autism study results have been organized. Anticipated for Fall 2021, but can begin forming the group now.

* * * * * * * * *

Interested in Participating?

Use this form to sign up to be notified when the studies you’re interested in are ready for participants. Signing up for notification in no way obligates you to participate. All studies will be open to both autistic and non-autistic people.

About Jinx

Jinx Mylo is a 49-year-old autistic PhD Student in the School of Media & Communication at Bowling Green State University, where she is focused on how representation in popular culture affects attitudes toward non-dominant cultural groups. Before coming to BGSU, Jinx spent 3 years running a community acupuncture clinic for low-income people in Portland, Oregon and completed a Master’s degree in Film & Media Studies at Arizona State University. She also holds a Master’s in acupuncture, and spent 20 years working as a user experience designer and researcher in the web industry, including 8 years as the UX and Community Lead for the WordPress open source project where she focused on inclusion initiatives.