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Personal profile


Research Interests

Kathy's research interests are in neurodiversity and neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism and intellectual/learning disability. Kathy is passionate about pragmatic and high-impact research that will directly improve the lives of neurodivergent children and adults and their families in the UK and internationally, including in low resource contexts.

Kathy is interested in communication, interaction and language development. She is also interested in family relationships, parenting, mental health, wellbeing, quality of life, and the lived experience of autistic people and their families. Her work is underpinned by a strong pro-neurodiversity and social justice ethos. 


  • Development and co-design of interventions/ health technologies
  • Evaluation of interventions, including feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, cultural adaptation
  • Design, implementation and management of randomised controlled trials of complex interventions
  • Measurement tools: development, validation, usage, cultural adaptation
  • Co-production and participatory research; partnership with experts by experience, clinicians and other stakeholders
  • Qualitative methods, including process evaluation

Current Projects

  • Improving communication with adults with learning disabilities (ICALD); funded by the National Institute for Health Research Programme Grants for Applied Research
  • NAMASTE: Neurodevelopment and Autism in South Asia: Treatment and Evidence; funded by the National Institute for Health Research Global Health Research Unit
  • A Randomised Controlled Trial of Psycho-education and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for Parents of Children recently diagnosed with ASD (REACH-ASD Trial); funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme
  • Communication-centred Parent-mediated treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder in South Asia (COMPASS Trial); funded by the Medical Research Council Joint Global Health Trials Initiative
  • Empowering families of young children with autism to establish good oral health (ToothPASTE Project); funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme


Past Projects

  • The Paediatric Autism Communication Trial - Generalised (PACT-G Trial); funded by the NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme
  • Follow-up to the Preschool Autism Communication Trial at age 7-11 (PACT 7-11 Study)
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and Autism Study
  • The Social Outcomes and Early Life Experiences Study (SOCiAL) 
  • The Parent-mediated intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Asia (PASS) study
  • Pre-school Autism Communication Trial

Research interests

  • Neurodiversity
  • Autism 
  • Learning/intellectual disability
  • Evidence-based interventions, services and supports
  • Health, education and social care provision
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Language and communication development
  • Measurement and outcomes
  • Wellbeing, quality of life and lived experience
  • Global health and low resourced settings


Kathy currently supervises eight PhD students and one pre-doctoral fellow. 

Kathy is a Thesis Supervisor on the University of Manchester MSc in Clinical & Health Psychology and the MRes in Clinical Neuroscience & Neuropsychology.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Joint Attention in Verbally Able Children with Autism, Lancaster University

Award Date: 1 Dec 2009

Master of Science, Developmental Psychology, Lancaster University

Award Date: 30 Sept 2003

Areas of expertise

  • BF Psychology
  • Autism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Intervention development and evaluation
  • Randomised Controlled Trials
  • Low Resource Settings
  • Wellbeing, quality of life and lived experience of people with ASD
  • Global Health
  • Participatory methods and community engagement
  • Communication, interaction and language

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Autism@Manchester
  • Global inequalities
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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