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Current PhD students

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Barah Alallawi


Email: B.Alallawi@warwick.ac.uk

My PhD is focusing on the support needs of Arabic families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) living in the UK. I am also working in collaboration with Calthorpe Academy in Birmingham to evaluate an intervention to teach numeracy skills to pupils with ASD (including Arabic pupils). Additionally, I will translate the numeracy intervention into the Arabic language to conduct a pilot evaluation with Arabic speaking children with ASD.

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Magda Apanasionok

Email: M.Apanasionok@warwick.ac.uk

My PhD will focus on evaluating interventions to teach numeracy and science to children with Intellectual Disability. I will work in collaboration with Calthorpe Academy in Birmingham to investigate current practice in special school setting and to extend and develop research evidence on teaching of numeracy and science to pupils with Intellectual Disability.

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Lorena Beqiraj

Email: Lorena.Beqiraj@warwick.ac.uk

The main focus of my PhD research will be on the implementation and outcomes of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) for pupils with Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism in special education settings. Positive Behaviour Support is a multicomponent framework that combines evidence-based behaviour management with evidence-based teaching and learning strategies to help pupils reach their potential. The research project is in collaboration with the Ambitious about Autism charity and will employ a mixed methods design. More specifically, the Ambitious about Autism services will be used as case studies, with evaluation focused on quantitative data collection and qualitative research with stakeholders. Additionally, I will conduct further studies of school-wide PBS implementation in various special education contexts, and gather larger scale survey data to inform policy-influencing and uptake of PBS models across the UK.

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Nikita Hayden


Email: N.Hayden@warwick.ac.uk

The predominant focus of my PhD research will be to explore the educational and psychological outcomes of siblings of children with intellectual (learning) disability/autism. Throughout the project I will be working collaboratively with Sibs - a charity which helps siblings of disabled children to access information and support. I will be approaching the research using mixed methods: analysing quantitative data, conducting qualitative interviews, and evaluating aspects of Sibs’ school-based interventions.

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Mikeda Jess


Email: M.Jess@warwick.ac.uk

My PhD will focus on data obtained from a large scale survey study of 1,000 families of children with intellectual disabilities (including autism). I am investigating the role of maternal positivity in relation to their child with either an Intellectual Disability (ID) or Autism. I will also explore the implications of maternal positivity on maternal well-being and the well-being of the child with ID or Autism.

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Emma Langley


Email: E.Langley@warwick.ac.uk

I am working on the Cerebra 1,000 Families study, a large scale survey study of families of children with intellectual disabilities (including autism). My research questions relate to family systems, looking at how the well-being of different family members may be related to or dependent on others’ well-being. I am particularly interested in exploring the psychological adjustment of fathers and the behaviour and emotional welfare of siblings.

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Jane Margetson

Email: J.Margetson@warwick.ac.uk

The focus of my PhD is to further understand the risk and protective factors for behavioural and emotional problems in children with developmental disabilities across a wide age range (between 4 and 15 years 11 months of age) in a large sample study (1000 families).

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Caitlin Murray

Email: C.Murray.7@warwick.ac.uk

My PhD focuses on the family context for children with learning disabilities, particularly focused on autism and Down’s syndrome. I am interested in the wellbeing and mental health of children with autism and/or learning disabilities, and will be drawing on the Cerebra 1,000 Families Study to explore these areas. I am also working with Suzi on the Support in the
Early Years Study.

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Andreas Paris

Email: A.Paris.1@warwick.ac.uk

For my PhD I will be looking into the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in special education settings in the UK.
I will focus on special education staff training on EBPs and on the analysis of information regarding the barriers to implementation in special education settings with learners with autism and/or intellectual disabilities. This will enable the identification and compilation of potential contextual variables that may affect EBPs implementation in general but may also provide data/reasons for the difficulties in implementing more specific EBPs, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Different factors of the system's implementation will thus be investigated, including pre-requisite or pre-session environmental and contextual factors, common mistakes during implementation, common implementation difficulties, and core components and knowledge of the protocol.

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Louise Rixon

Email: L.Rixon@warwick.ac.uk

My PhD will examine the siblings of children with severe to profound autism, focusing on sibling resilience and whether
this differs depending on the nature and severity of the autism. I will be studying part-time at CEDAR.

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Ronaldo Luis Rodas Jara

Email: Ronaldo-Luis.Rodas-Jara@warwick.ac.uk

I am a full time PhD student from Yhú, Paraguay.The purpose of my PhD research is to investigate the effectiveness of numeracy and literacy interventions for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities in low income countries. My research will analyze the factors that contribute to interventions to be effective, particularly in low income countries. I also plan to explore evidence based practices for students with intellectual disabilities to examine the implication of the application of
evidence based practices at mainstream schools.

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Suzi Scott

Email: S.Scott.8@warwick.ac.uk

The purpose of my PhD research is to improve access to early intervention and support for young children with intellectual (learning) disabilities and/or autism. My research will focus on exploring the factors associated with access to early intervention followed by designing and evaluating an intervention to facilitate access and enhance outcomes of early intervention. The research is in collaboration with charities Cerebra, Mencap and Ambitious about Autism.

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Michelle Underwood

Email: M.Underwood.4@warwick.ac.uk

The focus of my PhD is to develop a model of support for children starting mainstream school. This is aimed at children with
developmental delay who are missing essential school readiness skills and involves small group teaching which is then generalised across classroom and home settings. I currently work for the Centre for Behaviour Solutions in a
Wiltshire-based clinic. The company directors are co-supervisors on this project