Bristol Autism Research Group
The Bristol Autism Research Group (BARG) is a loose affiliation of researchers and professionals with a research interest in Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
BARG has been set up to provide a networking and research sharing forum for researchers and professionals in Bristol and the local area. We aim to facilitate a series of meetings where people can meet, share details of their research and raise topics of interest within the field of autism.
After completing a PhD at the University of Sheffield examining the pretend play of children with autism, Chris moved to a post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge where he carried out research into working memory in autism. He moved to Bristol in 1996 where he has continued to work on the psychology of autism and other developmental conditions. In 2000 he was awarded the British Psychological Society’s Neil O’Connor Award for research in developmental disabilities. He is a member of the National Autistic Society, and one of the University’s nominated governors at Venturers’ Academy school for children on the autism spectrum.
Melissa's research broadly focuses on symbolic understanding and language development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and typically developing children. She studies how children learn pictures and words as symbols, and the factors that mediate this process (e.g. social-pragmatic and intentional cues, associative learning). Melissa is also interested in learning and engagement from digital technology and storybooks, linguistic alignment, children's drawings, and other issues of typical and atypical cognitive development.
Philippa Howard is a cognitive psychologist interested in language, communication, and visual cognition. Philippa’s research is primarily focused on understanding how autistic and typically developing people read. To study this, Philippa uses using eye tracking methods, which provide insight into the on-going mental processes involved in comprehending text.
Dr Felicity Sedgewick is a developmental psychologist whose research interests focus on gender differences, relationship experiences of all kinds, mental health, and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ voices. She has a strong commitment to participatory research, and her current projects are co-designed studies with a range of autistic advisors.
Nura Aabe is a PhD candidate and a researcher at the University of Bristol. She is a psychologist by training and the founder of Autism Independence (AI). For years Nura has challenged the SEND system to be culturally responsive for the autism community.