Oak Project

OAK: Opportunity

The aims of the project are to improve the quality of life of older Autistic people, the options open to them, and support networking and development of a community of older autistic people.

Our research indicated that older Autistic people are particularly interested in support for executive functioning and information about good spaces and services i.e.  those with positive reviews by older Autistic individuals on the Calm Spaces website.

We have set up the main functions of the Calm Spaces website (with snagging still ongoing) to provide information about good spaces and services through reviews provided by older Autistic people.  The site is aimed particularly at older autistic people (50+) and only older Autistic people can add reviews to ensure an older autistic perspective.   However, the site content will also be of interest to younger Autistics and other disabled and neurodivergent people.  The review contribution/viewing functionality is being finalised and we will be developing additional features over the next year.  This will include a forum to support networking and community building.

We are looking for further funding to set up a system to support executive functioning.

Over the next two years we will be setting up a social firm with a co-operative structure directed, managed and run by older Autistic people to support these activities and their users. 


Marion Hersh is a researcher in Biomedical Engineering and their focus is co-production design and development of assistive technology for disabled and older people, accessibility and usability.  They are also an older Autistic person with intersectional characteristics and experiences of exclusion.

The other team members are Michael Dawson and Panda Mery, non-academic older Autistic researchers with experience of working on various projects for Autistic people.  They are being employed as peer researchers by the University of Glasgow.

We are all motivated by wanting to make a real positive difference in the lives of older Autistic people.


Older autistic people having better access to services and venues as they know which ones meet their needs.  This will enable them to do more things and improve their quality of life. 
The community of older Autistic people associated with Calm Spaces will be a source of advice, support and friendship.  When the system to support executive functioning is available, this will reduce the stress older autistic people experience and enable them to carry out activities more easily.

Get involved!

The website will be made publicly available when snagging is complete and we have recruited a few moderators/editors to moderate and edit reviews. Please look out for the link and contact us if you want us to email it when available.

Get in touch!

Funding is always useful.

We also want to publicise the project to older autistic people, both directly and indirectly through people informing their older autistic contacts or people working with them about it.

Venues to make presentations to the older autistic community about the website and how it can function as a virtual community hub to build a sense of ownership over what matters to older autistics.