I undertake most of my research with a small team of like-minded colleagues, most of whom are as independent of any university or other educational establishment as I am. The team is known as THE INDEPENDENT AUTISM RESEARCH GROUP. We all like to think that the team as a whole is worth considerably more than the sum of its parts!


Here are brief biographical details of the other team members

Joanna Baker-Rogers is an independent autism researcher who also teaches in higher education. Joanna's interest in the world of autism stems from the diagnosis of her son with Asperger syndrome. In 2006 she graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with an MA in the Education of Children and Young People with Autism.  She is currently writing her Thesis for her doctorate on the meaning of sociality and friendship for persons with autism.  Her interests in the field of autism include: social barriers, special educational needs, the lived experience of persons with autism, and the phenomenon of friendship and autistic sociality. Joanna is a founder-member of the 'High Achievers' research team.

Pam Byrne advocates for, and supports students with autism within a college of Further Education in England. With a background in Fine Art at degree level, a Post Graduate Certificate in Autism and Asperger Syndrome, and a particular interest in special educational needs, Pam is committed to enabling students to reach their full potential. Pam has experience of supporting students within Further and Higher education settings and is also a work supporter at a community interest company in Warwickshire, which supports adults with autism and learning differences in work based activities, and provides opportunities to develop work, life and social skills.

Kleio Nicola Cossburn is a former police officer and parent of two children with autism. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Kleio is currently developing her research skills prior to undertaking doctoral studies. Her particular interests in the field of autism concern operational policing, and autistic service user involvement in professional training. Kleio is a founder member of the 'High Achievers' research team.

Elizabeth (Liz) Hughes is a former civil servant and IT systems designer/analyst who has a child with Asperger syndrome. She has an academic background in economics at degree and post graduate levels but more recently has studied autism, various qualifications including a Post Graduate Certificate in Asperger Syndrome. She is a school governor with particular interests in special educational needs and autism. Liz advocates for and supports individuals with autism, and runs an online support group for people who live with autism and hypermobility. She is a founder member of the High Achievers autism research group.

Julia Leatherland is currently writing up her doctoral thesis which explores the school experiences of mainstream secondary pupils with a diagnosis of autism. She has designed and developed a new system to communicate individual pupil’s classroom support needs to teachers via the class register and an evaluation of this system (FAMe™) is an integral part of her PhD. Julia has a BSc in Psychology and started her career as a psychology assistant before becoming a researcher at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and then leaving work to be a full-time parent. Since 2010 all five of Julia’s children have received an autism diagnosis and she has focused on furthering her understanding of autism, completing a Post-Graduate Certificate in Asperger Syndrome, and an MA in autism. She has written and contributed to a number journal articles and book chapters. Julia is passionate about undertaking research in areas considered to be a priority by the autistic population and has a particular interest in education - barriers to learning and successful outcomes; children and young people; and mental-health and well-being. Julia represents a local parent support group, working with the Local (education) Authority Autism Team, helping to shape future strategy and practice to best meet the needs of autistic children and young people in Sheffield schools.