Professor Sarah Parsons BSc, PhD
Professor of Autism and Inclusion, Director of Research
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Sarah Parsons is Professor of Autism and Inclusion within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.
Sarah joined the School in 2011. She has significant research experience in disability related projects and particular interests in the use of innovative technologies for children with autism, the views and experiences of disabled children and their families, evidence-based practices in autism, and research ethics relating to children and young people. Sarah is especially interested in working in collaboration with others in the context of participatory design and inclusive research. Following a PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Nottingham, Sarah has led and managed research encompassing a range of methodological and analytical approaches, using qualitative and quantitative techniques, and is skilled in the development and application of child-centred methodologies for accessing the views of children with special educational needs. Sarah is regularly invited to national and international conferences to talk about her research including invitations to Russia, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Spain, Sweden and France.
Current and recent research includes:
- An ESRC-funded seminar series focusing on innovative technologies for autism: http://digitalbubbles.org.uk/
- The Horizon2020-funded project ProSocialLearn focusing on developing serious games for supporting inclusion: http://prosociallearn.eu/
- A pilot evaluation of the use of more accessible information in police custody incorporating Widgit Symbols: http://www.widgit.com/sectors/health-emergency-justice/hampshire-constabulary-research/index.htm
- The PRICE project exploring the feasibility of developing an online Timebank for supporting inclusive research: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13645579.2016.1179469
Previous research includes the COSPATIAL project funded by the European Commission (€1.65M) which explored the use of innovative technologies for supporting social skills and collaborative working for children with and without autism: http://cospatial.fbk.eu/; research on using immersive and desktop Virtual Reality for supporting social skills and understanding for children on the autism spectrum; researching the ‘voices’ of disabled children about their experiences of mainstream and specialist education in the UK; and investigating ‘good adult outcomes’ for the Autism Education Trust: http://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/outcomes. Sarah was also co-Investigator on the ‘Shape Project’ funded by the ESRC which uses digital stories to explore how teachers embed innovative technologies in their curriculum: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/education/acer/research/shape/index.aspx