Six focus groups were held, each attended by 4–6 participants. Details of the composition of each group are given in Table 1.

Focus group composition.

Four face-to-face groups were held over the 3 days of the Autscape event in July 2019, and a further two groups were held online in May 2020. Online focus groups were conducted after the data from the face-to-face groups had been collected and analyzed. The lead author (KB) conducted all 6 groups, and participants were made aware that she is also autistic and experiences significant difficulty with initiation. In addition, one online focus group was attended by KL and the other by EG. Each meeting lasted 1.5–2 h. The initial half hour provided an opportunity for participants to familiarize themselves with the research and procedure for the session and to ask any questions about what would happen. Participants were encouraged to talk about their experiences of difficulty doing things they want or need to do. Questions were oriented around ‘difficulty doing things’ because the researchers anticipated from background understanding that these may not be easily segregated into difficulty initiating a task vs. difficulty stopping an ongoing activity in order to initiate a new one. Questions were asked according to a schedule to prompt a range of responses (Table 2). Any participant who had not contributed was specifically invited to do so before moving on to the next question, with an explicit option to pass. This was rarely needed and nearly all participants responded to all questions. Face-to-face groups were audio recorded and later transcribed by a professional transcription service.

Focus group questions and prompts.

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