Our group aims to deliver participatory and creative research and knowledge exchange, focusing on relationships of neurodivergent people and their mental and physical health. To achieve this, we are collaborating with internal and external researchers, scientist practitioners and experts by experience.
With your support, we can expand our projects and our community impact. You can help us in a number of ways. Through collaborating with us if you are an individual who is interested in conducting and managing a research project alongside GRRAND, through taking part in our research, or through funding and co-running GRRAND activities.
Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou
Founder and Director of GRRAND, Flow Unlocked co-founder
Doctor in Developmental Psychology and Mental Health, University College London
UKCP training Psychotherapist, Accredited Autism Consultant
Georgia has expertise in behavioural, phenomenological and participatory techniques together with a developmental approach to understand social determinants of autistic mental health (stress, loneliness, low mood, family experiences, social belonging, school experiences, sexuality and relationships). Georgia is committed to creative participatory health and educational research, co-producing work with community members. Georgia has been leading national and international Short Courses for mental health practitioners who work in educational and NHS systems with YP with atypical development, funded by Health England Education. Georgia has received funding by Autistica (CI), The John and Lorna Wing Foundation-National Autistic Society (PI), BERA (CI), Higher Education Innovation Knowledge Exchange (CI) and UCL Culture (PI) to involve autistic people with and without a learning disability and other co-occurring conditions (e.g. ADHD) and their families in collaborative mental health research. Georgia has also received three UCL Knowledge exchange grants to involve autistic people in exploring relationships during and after the lockdown and understanding how school- aged children experience their school environment and the impact of school life in their wellbeing. Georgia has been awarded as Co-Investigator by MRC/AHRC/ESRC Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind a research award focusing on coproducing research with Youth Panel and colleagues from Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Kings College London and UCL IOE. This 4 years project focuses on prevention of depression in ASC/ADHD youth and translational mental health research in school settings.
Professor Spiridon Soulis
Autism and Developmental Disabilities
University of Ioanninwn, Greece
Authority in SEND education, child development, school relationships.
Research associate of the Panhellenic Federation of Societies of Parents and Guardians of Disabled People (P.O.S.G.A.me.A.).
Spyridon-Georgios Soulis is a Professor in the University of Ioannina, Greece. His research focuses on autism and learning disability. He studied in Greece and Germany, at the University of Cologne - as a scholar of the State Scholarship Foundation - where he received a PhD in Special Educational Needs. He has published articles, researches and studies in Greece and abroad, which refer to: a) Pedagogy and Teaching of Persons with Disabilities, b) Pedagogy of Inclusion, c) Teacher Education, d) Education of Parents of Persons with Disabilities disability/or special educational needs, e) students diagnosed with Autism and f) gifted students.
He has extensive experience of undertaking research with disabled teachers and children as Principal Investigator and has contributed in 10 funded Research Projects (Leonardo Da Vinci, Comenius-C21 etc) with a real world impact in classrooms. Spiros has published numerous papers in international peer reviewed journals.
Dr Amy Pearson
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Sunderland Co-editor of the British Psychological Society Developmental Forum
Member of Experimental Psychology Society and International Society for Autism Research
Amy Pearson is a Developmental Psychologist who is interested in social determinants of autistic wellbeing, in particular the role of interpersonal relationships and the impact of masking/stigma on identity. She has experience using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and has a background in experimental cognitive developmental psychology. Her current work draws upon a critical neurodiversity paradigm, and she is passionate about developing interdisciplinary research and the use of creative research methods. Amy has recently been awarded funding from the Experimental Psychology Society to conduct research into ‘Understanding the Relationship between Contextual Identity and Monotropism in Autistic Adults'.
Dr. Myrto Kakoulidou
Doctor in Developmental Psychology in ADHD and motivation
Myrto is passionate improving children's learning and wellbeing at school using innovative and child centred mixed methodologies to generate knowledge that may have an impact in real life settings. Myrto is leading with members of our group a Train and Engage programme engaging children, their teachers and parents in dialogues around their school wellbeing, The project is funded by UCL Train and Engage Team.
Dr. Nina Polytimou
Doctor in Developmental and Experimental Psychology.
Nina is particularly interested in whether musical engagement can have a positive impact on language, cognitive and socio-emotional development in young children and infants over and above the effect of other types of enrichment activities. Currently, I am collaborating in a project led by Goldsmiths University designing a randomised controlled trial study that will look at the effects of a musical intervention for mothers and infants from disadvantaged backgrounds. In another line of inquiry, I have investigated the relationship between musical engagement and socio-emotional skills such as empathy. Surveys that have been launched cross-culturally (Cyprus, UK), have shown promising results with respect to an association between home musical interactions and parent-child attachment in families with typically and atypically developing children.
Dr. Christina Malamateniou
Doctor in Radiography.
Christina has worked as an academic and researcher in Medical Imaging for the last 19 years, having worked previously as an MRI radiographer in the University Hospital of Athens, Greece, where she qualified. She was awarded her PhD from imperial College London, having carried out her research on perinatal MRI at the Robert Steiner MRI Unit at Hammersmith Hospital. She has received the clinical MRI prize and Leonard Levy prize of the British Institute of Radiology for her research presented at UKRC in 2006. She was awarded the City extraordinary women award for 2023 https://www.city.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2023/03/christina-malamateniou-extraordinary-women-2023. Christina has presented her research nationally and internationally and published extensively at many high impact factor journals since 2004. She has received research funding as a co-applicant or main applicant of a total £2.8mi, and is actively involved in improving professional practice and research capacity in radiography through her many leadership positions and research networks.
Accredited Educational Psychologist, Adolescent and Adult Therapist
Autism IAPT and Supervision in Child Wellbeing Psychological Services Clinical Tutor at Anna Freud Centre
Julia experienced psychologist with specialist training in neurodevelopmental conditions, educational/cognitive assessments and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches. She has acquired her experience working and training in the NHS in a variety of services: Great Ormond Street Hospital, North East London Community Mental Health Team, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team at the University College Hospital and South West London and St George’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Learning Disability Service. She has also worked in several private settings: Capio Nightingale Hospital in London, Cygnet Hospital in Harrow, and The Child and Family Practice in London. She specialises in the assessment and intervention for neurodevelopmental conditions and in comprehensive cognitive/educational assessments. Julia is currently a Clinical Tutor at the Anna Freud Centre for Families, University College of London, where she is conducting tutorials and delivering lectures and training to the Autism Spectrum/Learning Disabilities IAPT Postgraduate Course and training supervisors in child and adolescent wellbeing services. Julia is currently working with our team on school experiences of autistic children and their siblings.
FlockUnlocked Co-Founder, Autistic autism trainier, advocate, researcher and artist
As a self taught autistic artist & polymath Jon works cross-platform, including digital and analogue image making, illustration, sound, performance, written and spoken word whilst always referencing my autistic experience, synaesthesia & dyslexia plus include autobiography, science and hidden metaphor. The result is a unique visual perspective of systemising and recording history, time and place. Jon studied geology at Kings College London becoming a geological book illustrator branching out into history and then conceptual artwork. His national profile includes creating work across a wide range of genres with organisations such as Parliament, Institute for Cosmology and Gravitation, Autism Research Centre Cambridge, London2012 and with Sir Peter Brook. Jon has received Wellcome Leverhulme and Arts Council England funding. Jon is especially interested and has been commissioned to make socially engaged art and also does not shy away from making challenging work. He is also artistic director of the first Neurodivergent equality & diversity charity ‘Flow Observatorium’ calling for parity and recognition of neurodiversity within the arts. As a research fellow, Jon has been published in peer reviewed cultural and autism research papers including peer participation in ‘autism research’. He has actively support ongoing research as an expert by experience into autistic wellbeing, trauma and Mental health and presented at INSAR in 2019 as part of a team working on 'Suicide in autistic people'. Jon supports research that involves autistic people from inception looking at issues within the autistic community but not research that seeks to heal or cure us. Jon is not sure if he is a scientist who likes drawing or an artist with an interest in sciences but puts him not in a unique position as a translator and innovator for both sides.
Autistic autism trainer, author and advocate
Kieran Rose was diagnosed as Autistic in 2003 and is parent to three children, two of whom are diagnosed Autistic.
He is a published Mainstream and Academic Author and International Public Speaker, whose essays at www.theautisticadvocate.com have been read by over 1.5 million people. With a background in both SEND Education and service delivery for Autistic children and adults, Kieran delivers his own specialist Autism trainings to families and Professionals; and provides private consultancy for charities and organisations across the UK and the world. Kieran has lectured at Universities across the UK and has a specialist interest in Autistic Masking, Identity, Culture and the impact of stigma on all those things.
A big thank you to our collaborators, past and present:
A2nd Voice (Charity Organisation)
Sibs Charity (Charity Organisation)
The John and Lorna Wing Foundation (Charity Organisation)
The Sleep Charity (Charity Organisation)
Lambeth National Autistic Society Branch (Charity Organisation)
London Autism Charity (Charity Organisation)
UCL Culture Engagement Team
UCL ChangeMakers Team
UCL Train and Engage team
Sibling Research Advisory Network co-founders at Great Ormond Hospital
Stergios Notas, Clinical Psychologist, Director at Specialised Unit at Children’s Genaral Hospital “Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou”. Athens, Greece
Ann Memmott, Autism trainer
Jo Billington, University of Reading
Dr Ruth Moyse, University of East London
Dr Amy Pearson, University of Sunderland
Dr Caroline Oliver, UCL Institute of Education
Dr Damian Milton, University of Kent
Dr Anna Stenning, University of Leeds
Dr Rebecca Wood, University of East London
Dr Chris Papadopoulos, University of Bedfordshire
Community Impact Collaborators
Dr Nadia Ladopoulou, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Director, Athens Community Mental Health Centre for Children and Adolescents, and Department of Mental Health,
Athens General Children’s Hospital “Pan. & Agl. Kyriakou”
Former Lecturer of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Part-time academic staff member, School of Social Studies, Hellenic Open University, teaching at the Master’s Program “Health Care Management” and Bachelor Program “Public Administration”
Specialization in Infant Psychiatry and Brief Mother/Parents-Infant Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Geneva, directed by Prof. Bertrand Cramer.
Special interests: Psychotherapies, Trans-cultural Psychiatry
CEO and Founder of The Sleep Charity, Author, Public Speaker
Vicki Dawson is CEO and Founder of The Sleep Charity, a national charity using evidence-based information to support those with sleep issues. Prior to setting up the charity Vicki worked with youngsters who had SEND as a teacher in special schools and as a SENDCO in primary education. She also worked as specialist advisory teacher for a Local Authority as was part of the diagnostic team. Vicki is passionate about embedding sleep support nationally so that individuals can meet their full potential. She has been involved in a number of research projects, published books and was a TEDx speaker in 2019.
CEO and founder of Autistic Girls Network
Cathy took over the helm of the Autistic Girls Network in late 2019. She runs her own businesses from home and is mum to 2 autistic teens, both late diagnosed. Cathy’s daughter Freya was diagnosed at 13 amid a massive mental health crisis and it was Freya’s story which led Cathy to FIGS.
CEO and Founder of A2nd Voice
Vanessa is working with experts by science and experts by experience to raise awareness and understanding from different perspectives, outreaching also to the Africa, Caribbean, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities (ACAME) and Dual Heritage Communities in tackling the taboos and myths around Autism.
Multiawarded FilmMaker and Photographer
Briony works with photography and video, to tell stories about who we are and how we understand each other. She shoots promos, documentaries, events and campaigns for arts, education, research and social innovation clients. She also teaches and facilitates collaborative and participatory projects
Briony is co- facilitating Flow Unlocked, an autistiic led community collaborative looking at autistic people's relationships before and during the pandemic.
Wieke Vink is currently finishing her MSc Child Development at the UCL Insitute of Education. She enjoys creative and qualitative projects and her interests are in child psychology, interpersonal processes and community psychology. She combines her study of child development with work in the human rights field, and has a background in law.
Nastassja Brennan De Vine
Doctor candidate in Educational Psychology
Nastassja has a real passion working with neurodivergent people and their families and teachers. She studies at UCL at the full-time doctoral programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the professional training of educational psychologists. Nasstasja is an accountable scientist practitioner who is able to integrate theory, research and practice effectively to accomodate the needs of neurodivergent students and their families.. Nastassja's Doctoral thesis is examining the sense of scchool belonging and wellbeing experiences of autistic girls of all genders in mainstream secondary. schools.
MSc candidate in Psychology of Education
Deanna is passionate about research that can improve autistic adults' lives and her current work is examining autistic adults social belonging and feelings of loneliness before and during the pandemic.
MSc Educational Psychology, Educational Consultant,
Practice Tutor, Family Coach
Claire's work is examining Autistic CYP video gaming and online networking. Her work emphasises the fact that online gaming experience provides a rich source of satisfaction for autistic teenagers. Video games provide an uncomplicated space to express themselves, connect with peers and a rich source of fulfilment from situations that are often not satisfied in their real world.
MSc in Psychology of Education, SEND practicioner
Elizabeth is passionate working and researching with children and young people with neuroatypicalities and their family members. She is currently finalising a paper examining loneliness and sleep of siblings of disabled children and young people. This project has been supported by Sibs Charity and The Sleep Charity.
MSc Candidate in Educational and Developmental Psychology
Hanna's current work focuses on autistic adults' relationships and roles with their neurotypical and neurodivergent brothers and sisters.
MSc Candidate in Educational and Developmental Psychology
Her work examines the experiences, perspectives and needs of Black autistic young people and their parents. This project has been supported by A 2nd Voice Charity.
Maria- Patrao Areal De Rothes
MSc in Child Development
Maria's current work focuses on understanding the perceptions, experiences, and needs of family carers of autistic CYP during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, on understanding personal and social circumstances that were challenging and/or positive during this period, the impact and adequacy of the available legislation and information and the experiences of engagement with formal and informal sources of support.