Member Profiles

Helen Basu Chaudhuri (Director of SHARP)
Email: am a Doctoral Researcher investigating the association between anxiety, alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing emotions) and interoception in autistic people. I am interested in most areas of research on autism but especially sensory processing, anxiety, alexithymia, hyperfocussed (obsessive) interests, social and educational support for autistic people and their families and the broader autism phenotype.Previous experience includes co-founding and managing a support group for families of autistic children and running a monthly children’s club and Assistant Psychologist with the Learning Disabilities Team at Sheffield CAMHS. I have a child with autism as well as other family members.
Professor Nick Hodge (Co-Director of SHARP)
Twitter: @goodchap62I am Professor of Inclusive Practice in the Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam. Prior to joining the University in 1998, I was a special education teacher, supporting disabled children and their families in schools for over 15 years. My research interests focus on the attitudinal and structural barriers that lead to disabled children and their parents and carers becoming marginalised, disempowered and excluded within the educational system. Much of my work has involved challenging deficit led models of disability that mark children and young people as disordered and other. A critical element of my work is ensuring that my research impacts on school practice and I work in close partnership with teachers and other educators through research partnerships and professional development to effect change. I am currently researching into how school staff conceptualise and respond to the autistic self and also proposing ways of thinking about autism differently.I am a Governor at Rowan School, Sheffield and a trustee of the Sheffield Autistic Society.
More information on Nick can be found here.
Dr Lisa Reidy
I am a Principal Lecturer in Psychology and Faculty Head of International. This work includes helping to set up a new version of the SHU-National Autistic Society’s PGCert Autism and Asperger’s syndrome, especially for international students.For my PhD, I investigated autism and the skill of calendar calculation. My post-doctoral research was on the cognitive profiles of autistic individuals and their relatives, as part of a molecular genetic study of Autism (Institute of Psychiatry). I was also a researcher on a case-control study of autism and the MMR vaccination (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). More recently I have developed my understanding of the social model of disability, through engagement with Sheffield Hallam’s Autism Centre. This has led to various research projects on autism in an educational context. More broadly, I have a strong teaching and research interest in developmental psychology, which includes the study of social and emotion processing in teenagers and older age adults.
Emma Rice (Doctoral researcher)
Twitter: @ejr88
I am a full-time doctoral student at the Sheffield Institute of Education, within Sheffield Hallam University. My PhD, “Sense of Self and Autism: the mainstream secondary school experience”, explores how autistic pupils negotiate their sense of self within mainstream secondary school, including the barriers and enablers within this environment. Additionally, my research explores autistic pupils’ views of the participatory research methods employed within the research programme. Before joining the PhD programme, I spent 6 years as an English teacher at a high achieving mainstream secondary school. The school was known for its mainstream autism provision and I worked closely with the SEN department, whilst completing my SENCO qualification and MA in applied professional studies. Throughout these qualifications, my work has focused on inclusive practice and on identifying and addressing the barriers SEN and low achieving pupils face in the mainstream secondary curriculum. This approach is something continued in my PhD work, which aims to improve mainstream school practice for autistic pupils. My research interests include: education, school practice and policy, autism, sense of self and self-esteem, special educational needs and inclusive practice, and participatory and emancipatory methodologies.
Amanda Willcox (Advisory Group Leader)


I am a part-time Doctoral Researcher looking at parents experiences of using the communication method Intensive Interaction. My main areas of interest are pre-verbal autistic people, social interaction, emotional well-being and educational/social support for autistic people and their families.

I also work part-time as a teaching assistant at a special school for children with autism and I am an active member of the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum. I have a teenage autistic son who is pre-verbal.

Dr Shalini Vohra: Senior Lecturer in Marketing
Twitter: @docsvohra

I am Senior lecturer in Marketing at Sheffield Business School. My research interests include autism and it’s portrayal in children’s/young adult fiction, consumer psychology and emotions. My article ‘Why there need to be more autistic characters in children’s books’ featured in The Conversation and was part of the Editor’s note. The research area has generated interest among autistic individuals, parents, academics, authors, publishers, educators, as well as organisations that are run by or for autistic individuals. I have been invited by the Sheffield Institute of education as well as the University of Cambridge to deliver a session on my work. I am passionate about neurodivergence in mainstream children’s fiction and interested in research and projects that work towards this.

Dr Alan Patterson

I am the Principal Lecturer in Human Geography in the Dept of the Natural & Built Environment at SHU.  My teaching and research interests are in local and regional governance, and urban geography.  More information is available here.

I joined SHARP because our son is autistic and has severe learning difficulties, and I hope to learn more about his condition.  Although he attended mainstream infant and junior schools he now attends Bents Green specialist school.  Our family also benefits from the support of the NHS staff at Ryegate Children’s Centre and the Speech and Language therapists, and from actively participating in a number of voluntary organisations including the Sheffield Family Support Group.

Thomas W. Price

I am a Doctoral Researcher focusing on the fundamentals of autistic communication. I am approaching autism from a linguistic background; which allows me to expose underlying communicative assumptions that have been made in previous autism studies. Through testing these foundations, I aim to contribute to our growing understanding of autism.

My interest in autism is born from my time as a teaching assistant where I worked primarily with autistic children in main stream education. After my role as a teaching assistant I obtained a first-class degree at SHU, where my dissertation focused on autistic communication in joint activities. I have recently started my PhD at the same institute, where I am an active member of Sheffield Hallam Autism Research Partnership.

Diarmuid Verrier

I am a senior lecturer in psychology with the Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Politics at Sheffield Hallam University. In my research, I use quantitative methods and an individual differences perspective to look at the impact of personality and motivation on real world outcomes.

I have done a number of studies with autistic children and adults looking at psychological processes with a social influence component, including conformity, social facilitation, and peer pressure.

Rebecca Denniss am a doctoral researcher at Sheffield Hallam University investigating the effect of micronutrients on cognitive outcomes in mild-moderate post-acute traumatic brain injury. I have a broad range of experience in administering cognitive test measures to a broad range of individuals.I have a son on the autism spectrum and have an interest in all areas of autism research, particularly in the perceptions of ASD individuals of the label of ‘autism’ and how it impacts their feelings of self, their relationship with the wider world and how they feel the label affects how they are perceived by others.

Jonathan Drury
Twitter: @autismdialogue

I have a PGCert Autism Spectrum and a BA (Hons) Contemporary Fine Art. I am founder of Autism Dialogue, a practice whose main aims are to improve well-being of autistic people and cohesion of autism networks using a participatory group dialogue method. I am on the MSc Coaching & Mentoring at Sheffield Hallam Uni.

I’ve an extensive background in creative practice, employment research and socially engaged art.  I’ve devised and managed personal development and employability workshops for minority groups using practices rooted in creativity and mindful dialogue, funded by ERDF and local govt.  I have strong interests in communication, the autistic voice in research and how autism emerges in different cultures. I am on Sheffield Autism Partnership Board and I am a member of the Academy of Professional Dialogue.