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Home > About Autism > Research and Training > Centre for Practice Innovation > Research and Practice Associates

Research and Practice Associates

Research and Practice Associates

The Centre’s Research and Practice Associates are a group of experienced academics and practitioners with whom we currently collaborate.

We are honoured to be associated with such a distinguished group of professionals and excited about what we can achieve by working together.

Research Associates

Andrew Jahoda

Andrew is Professor of Learning Disabilities in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. He also has a clinical role as honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Andrew’s research interests include the mental health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities, and the contribution made by a range of psychological and social factors. Additionally he looks at adapting psychotherapeutic approaches in a manner that is sensitive to the lived experience of people with learning disabilities. 



Karen Guldberg

Karen is a Senior Lecturer in Autism Studies at the University of Birmingham as well as Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Karen runs the first year of the Autism Children Programme at ACER and has also been involved in producing a number of online training resources for both educators and health practitioners. Karen also conducts real-world research in the classroom, with a focus on pedagogy, social learning and the specific learning needs of children with autism. Additionally she has led and been involved in a number of projects working in partnership with schools, practitioners and parents to research technology use and the learning arising from this. 



Sue Fletcher-Watson

Sue is a Developmental Psychologist with an interest in using research methods from psychology to address questions with clinical, educational and societal impact. She is interested in how children develop and learn and in particular in cases where this follows an unusual trajectory, including autism. Sue’s research can be split into two strands. The first focuses on describing child development by linking features at one stage of life with later outcomes. The second strand aims to develop and evaluate interventions or educational aids to help children with autism achieve their full potential. In particular, Sue is interested in the potential for technology as a therapeutic and learning route. Find out more about Sue's work by visiting the DART website. 



Ken Aitken

Ken is a practicing Clinical Psychologist. He has been Chair of the Research Subgroup of the Scottish Autism Strategy and an active member of the main strategy group since its inception. He is now a member of the implementation group and the Ad-Hoc Advisory Group to the Scottish Health Minister. Ken has worked, researched and published extensively on autism spectrum disorder for many years while also teaching and lecturing widely. Ken is also an external faculty member of the Psychology Department at Sao Paolo University in Brazil and frequently presents at National and International ASD meetings. He regularly reviews papers for a number of learning journals in the area and is on the Editorial Board of the ‘Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders’. 



David Simmons

David is a Lecturer of Psychology at the University of Glasgow. David’s most well-known research is on the interaction between colour and stereo vision and in recent years he has developed interests in visual aesthetics, visual appearance, synaesthesia and human-computer interaction. Now David’s main research focus is on perceptual aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders, particularly vision. David teaches a very popular final year option on ASD as part of the Glasgow Psychology Honours Degree and is heavily involved in the Scottish Government’s ‘Scottish Strategy for Autism’ while also being a member of the editorial boards of the journals ‘Perception/i-Perception’ and the ‘Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders’. 



Tommy MacKay

Tommy is one of the UK’s leading psychologists who works across the fields of educational and child psychology, health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, psychotherapy, teaching and research. Tommy’s principal clinical specialism is autism where he has played a central role throughout his career in seeking to improve the quality of life of individuals with autism and their families. He is Clinical Director of the National Diagnosis and Assessment Service for Autistic Spectrum Disorders, a member of the Scottish Government’s ASD Reference Group and Co-Founder of the National Centre for Autism Studies at the University of Strathclyde. To learn more about Tommy visit his website.



Anna Robinson

Anna is a Lecturer in Autism as well as the Autism Masters Director at the University of Strathclyde. She is a Psychologist and practicing Experiential Therapist researching autism and mental health. 






Richard Mills

Richard is the Research Director of Research Autism, London and Research Fellow at the University of Bath. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University, Queensland, Australia, consultant at the ARC Singapore and an Associate of the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent and AT-Autism. He was previously the National Autistic Society (NAS) Director of Services and latterly Director of Research. He has served on a number of government bodies including the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline Development Groups on Autism in Adults and on Challenging behaviour. He is an editor of Autism, the International Journal of Research and Practice and Advances in Autism.



Practice Associates

Peter Vermeulen

Peter has an MSc and a PhD in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences. He has worked with autistic people and their families for more than 30 years and is currently the Founder and Director of Autism in Context. Peter can be found teaching, training and presenting all over the globe. In his work he focuses on many different topics, but in particular: autistic thinking (autism as context blindness), sensory issues in autism, psycho-education in autism (relationships, sexuality and coping with the diagnosis) and happiness & wellbeing in autism.



Debi Brown

Debi was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as an adult and has since then written and published two books about Autism: ‘Are you Eating an Orange?’ and ‘The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe with Men’. Debi has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Autism and a degree in Physics as well as being an experienced speaker having given many presentations about autism to various groups. Debi finds being an ‘Aspie’ hilarious at times and writes lots of funny tales about it on her blog, Aspie Debi.



Kate Strohm

Kate Strohm is the Founder and Director of Siblings Australia, the only organisation in Australia focused on the needs of siblings of children living with disability/chronic illness. During the last 15 years Siblings Australia has worked in three main ways: direct intervention with siblings; assisting parents to support their children; and with providers to improve their capacity to support the whole family. The organisation has also carried out research and advocacy for sibling support at both government and community levels. Kate’s book ‘Siblings: Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs’ explores her experiences as a sibling and offers a range of strategies for families and providers; it has been published in the US, the UK and translated into Korean. 



Yvette Getch

Yvette is an Associate Professor in the Department of Diversity and Community Studies at Western Kentucky University. She also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Counselling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia. Yvette’s primary research interests include the impact of childhood chronic illness and disability on the family, school accommodations, advocacy issues for children and young adults with disabilities and social justice advocacy for individuals from traditionally marginalised populations. Yvette has worked extensively in the fields of developmental disability and autism, deafness, chronic illness, transition and independent living for individuals with disabilities.