I completed a BA in Psychology from University College Dublin in 2010. Following my undergraduate degree I pursued a MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Edinburgh. As part of my masters studies I completed a research project exploring imitation abilities in autistic and non-autistic adults under the supervision of Dr Rob McIntosh and Dr Justin Williams.
Following this I moved to Dr Antonia Hamilton’s lab of social cognition at the University of Nottingham where I was a research assistant on a Waterloo Foundation funded project investigating the development of social and motor skills in typically developing primary school age children.
Before beginning my PhD I worked as the Research and Communications Officer at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) where my responsibilities included managing the outreach and engagement work for the centre as well as running a number of research projects.
I am interested in better understanding how autistic people employ certain cognitive abilities when they are interacting with the real-world. For example, research has consistently shown that some autistic people struggle to flexibly adapt to changes in lab based experiments but we do not yet understand the extent to which this is true in the real-world. My PhD will focus on gaining a better insight into these abilities and importantly it will explore whether any of the patterns in these abilities are explaining some of the variability we see in autistic people’s life chances.
The difference my research makes
Understanding how autistic people navigate some of the complexities we face in the real world and, specifically, if they differ from non-autistic people is the express aim of my research. This research question is in keeping with the research priorities recently set-out by the autism community in a report entitled ‘A Future Made Together’. This report found that autistic people want to see more research that explains and in turn may help with the difficulties the face in day-to-day life.
By better understanding what difficulties people face in situations that closely resemble the normal demands of their lives I hope to contribute towards identifying how we can best support those on the autism spectrum.
Professor Elizabeth Pellicano: http://crae.ioe.ac.uk/post/125932215928/professor-liz-pellicano
Dr Anna Remington: http://crae.ioe.ac.uk/post/125931659458/dr-anna-remington
Kenny, L., Hattersley, C., Molins, B., Buckley, C., Povey, C., & Pellicano, E. (2015). Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism.
Pellicano, E., Hill, V., Croydon, A., Greathead, S., Kenny, L., & Yates, R. with Wac Arts. (2014). My life at school: Understanding the experiences of children and young people with special educational needs in residential special schools. London, UK: Office of the Children’s Commissioner.