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Biography - Sarah Parsons Ph.D.

Sarah Parsons Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow
School of Education, University of Birmingham

Phone: +44 (0) 121 414 4819






Sarah is Deputy Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. She has significant research experience in disability related projects and particular interests in the use of innovative technologies for children with autism and the views and experiences of disabled children and their families. 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. She is currently a partner on the COSPATIAL project funded by the European Commission which explores the use of innovative technologies for supporting social skills and collaborative working for children with and without autism (2009-12). The project includes partners in Nottingham, Italy and Israel. Previous projects have included research on using immersive and desktop Virtual Reality for supporting social skills and understanding for children on the autism spectrum, and researching the ‘voices' of disabled children about their experiences of mainstream and specialist education in the UK.
Sarah has recently guest-edited a special issue on Autism of the Journal of Assistive Technologies focusing on research and practitioner experience in applying technologies to support children and young adults on the autism spectrum. She supervises and examines postgraduate students on a range of topics and is external examiner for the Masters degree in e-Inclusion (Learning, Disability & Technology) at King's College London. Sarah is also Vice-Chair of the University of Birmingham's Arts and Social Sciences Ethics Committee.

Selected publications

Wallace, S., Parsons, S., Westbury, A., White, K., White, K. & Bailey, A. (in press) Sense of Presence and Atypical Social Judgments in Immersive Virtual Reality: responses of adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Autism

Parsons, S. & Lewis, A. (2010) The home-education of children with special needs or disabilities in the UK: views of parents from an online survey. International Journal of Inclusive Education,14(1), 67-86.

Parsons, S., Guldberg, K., MacLeod, A., Jones, G., Prunty, A. & Balfe, T. (2009) International review of the literature of evidence of best practice provision in the education of persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. National Council for Special Education: Ireland. (

Parsons, S., Lewis, A., Davison, I., Ellins, J. & Robertson, C. (2009). Satisfaction with educational provision for children with SEN or disabilities: A national postal survey of the views of parents in Great Britain. Educational Review, 61(1), 19-47.

Parsons, S., Lewis, A., & Ellins, J. (2009). The views and experiences of parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder about educational provision: comparisons with parents of children with other disabilities from an online survey.European Journal of Special Needs Education, 24 (1), 37-58.