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The University of Southampton
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Dr Hanna Kovshoff BA, MSc, PhD

Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology, Deputy Head of School - Education

Dr Hanna Kovshoff's photo

Dr Hanna Kovshoff is an Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Southampton and the Deputy Head of School – Education.

Through my initial training in School Psychology at McGill University in Canada to my more recent work in understanding educational and developmental outcomes and experiences of neurodivergent children and families, the focus of my research has consistently been on identifying, understanding, and ameliorating barriers to educational attainment and positive educational experiences for children and young people with neurodevelopmental differences.

More recently, my work has aimed to include participatory and co-construction approaches to inform research questions and methodologies. With Prof Sarah Parsons in the Southampton Education School, I co-direct the Autism Community Research Network @ Southampton (ACoRNS -, a unique research-practice partnership that brings together researchers, practitioners and other key stakeholders (autistic people/families) to jointly develop projects of direct relevance to autism practice and policy. ACoRNS focuses on the transitions and trajectories of autistic children and young people, and places children’s views and voices at the centre of this work.

Research interests

  • Developing and using novel and creative methodologies to access the views and voices of neurodivergent children and those with special educational needs
  • Understanding educational experiences and the social and psychological factors that lead to successful and unsuccessful educational transitions for autistic children, children with disabilities, and those with special educational needs
  • Co-production and participatory approaches to developing research questions and conducting research in practice
  • Understanding the wider family experience when one member of the family has additional needs – in particular I am interested in the sibling experience

Affiliate research group

Centre for Innovation in Mental Health (CiMH)

Research project(s)

On-Line Parent Training for the Initial Management of ADHD referral (OPTIMA)

ACoRNS Digital Stories – Autism Transitions

This project is about changing the way we think and talk about autistic children in order to develop a more holistic understanding of who they are as a person. We do this through the creation of Digital Stories with children, families and staff members.

Epilepsy Surgery Pathway: The Lived Experience of Children with Epilepsy, their Parents and Siblings

We know very little about how these families feel about waiting for a decision, surgery and their hopes and fears. Understanding patient and family experiences is vital to ensure that health and education services can provide appropriate support for patients and their families through this process.

'Our Stories...': co-constructing Digital Storytelling methodologies for supporting the transitions of autistic children

Digital Storytelling is an accessible and inclusive methodology that supports the sharing of views and experiences in visual, video form.

"The Secondary Spy": Creating a graphic novel targeted at young autistic people transitioning from primary to secondary school (ACoRNS Voices)

This project aims to use existing qualitative data and research group networks to develop and promote knowledge exchange in an accessible way for this difficult-to-reach/ marginalised group.

Autism Community Research Network @ Southampton (ACoRNS)

The English and Romanian Adoption Study (ERA)

It has received funding from the Department of Health, ESRC, MRC, Jacobs Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, and the Waterloo Foundation. It was set up and led by Professor Sir Michael Rutter. The recent phases are led by Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke.

  • Research Director for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology
  • Deputy Head of the School of Psychology - Education

Doctorate in Educational Psychology:

  • Research Director for the Doctorate in Educational Psychology
  • Coordinate activities associated with the Research Thesis (PSYC8022) on the Doctorate in Educational Psychology; Module coordinator for
  • Dissemination and User Engagement (PSYC8039)

Undergraduate Programme:

Module Coordinator (Joint with Jana Kreppner) for Developmental Psychology (PSYC2007)
I also lecture on Developmental Psychopathology (PSYC3053), and support student research through supervision of BSc in Psychology projects including the Literature review (PSYC3003) and Empirical Project (PSYC3005)

Supervision of students in BSc Psychology, MSc programmes, Doctorate in Educational/Clinical Psychology, and PhD programmes.

Dr Hanna Kovshoff
Building 44 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 44/3075

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