ACER’s extensive research expertise on educational interventions is unique. We combine decades of experience across health, social services and education, within the state, voluntary and independent sectors, working with both children and adults. This breadth of expertise has led us to recognise the diversity of the autism spectrum population and adopt an eclectic person-centred ethos. Our research and training activities involve collaboration with service users, with practitioners and carers and through partnership with key policy makers. We work interactively with institutions both inside and outside of higher education and we actively encourage prospective partners locally, nationally and internationally.   

Recently funded research and development work 

Using new technologies at school: working with pupils with autism and additional complex needs

This study (2015-2016) explores the use of Monoma by children with autism and additional complex needs at school. The research combines new technologies and music to enrich the skills of the target population.

Transforming Educational Practice in Autism: enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of teachers in the UK, Italy and Greece

The Transforming Educational Practice in Autism: enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of teachers in the UK, Italy and Greece project, also known as 'Transform Autism Education,' is a research and development project (2014 - 2016) funded by the European Commission, to gather together a community of researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the UK, Italy and Greece to research current educational practices in autism in those respective contexts and to create professional development programmes in Greece and Italy.

SHARE-IT: School-Home Autism Research Environment through Intelligent Technologies

The SHARE-IT project (2012 - 2014) systematically investigated how personal and mobile devices could be used individually and together to create a scalable intelligent learning environment for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs).

Robots in the classroom for children with autism.

The aim of this project in 2013 was to establish a bridge between groups in the School of Education, the School of Computer Science and the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, thus providing the basis for a high impact collaboration between researchers within University of Birmingham.

Shaping the future of educational technologies today: from prototypes to practice

The aim of this ESRC funded project (2012-2013), was to contribute to shaping the future landscape of technology use for children on the autism spectrum in the classroom, and through this to contribute to educational advancement, emotional wellbeing and positive outcomes for children.

Educational provision and outcomes for people on the autism spectrum

A group of researchers led by Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer from ACER, were commissioned by the Autism Education Trust in 2011 to map out educational provision in the field of autism and to identify the challenges in ensuring good educational outcomes for children and young people.

ECHOES II: Improving Children's Social Interaction through Exploratory Learning in a Multimodal Environment

ECHOES II was a three-year project (2009-2012) which aimed to develop a multimodal technology-enhanced learning environment in which both typically developing children and those with Asperger syndrome at key Stage 1 (5-7) could explore and improve social communication, interaction and collaboration.

Other Research

National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

ACER team members worked under the direction of Associate member Dr Sarah Parsons to conduct a literature review on educational interventions for children with autism. This is an international review of the literature of evidence of best practice provision in the education of persons on the autism spectrum submitted to NCSE, the funding body.

International Review of the Literature of Evidence of Best Practice Provision in the Education of Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders 


In May 2008 Dr Glenys Jones secured funding from DCSF for ACER to develop two important national resources: the DCSF’s national Inclusion Development Programmes in autism. Dr Glenys Jones led the development of the content for the Primary/Secondary resource and Dr Karen Guldberg led the development of the content for the Early Years resource. The IDP resources was launched nationally to all schools and early years settings in England in April 2009, and became available internationally through the web.

Educational interventions and provision

  • Department for Education (1998): Literature review of research evidence for educational interventions in ASD (1998)
  • Scottish Office Education and Industry Department: Survey of educational provision for children with ASD (1996)
  • Nottinghamshire County Council: Evaluation of a new secondary unit for children with ASD  (2002)

Provision of good quality information for practitioners

NHS NES Scotland Web Resource created for Primary Health Care professionals, see  (2006)

Ascertaining the current situation with respect to policy and provision

Commissioned by the Council of Europe to survey the governments of member states to ascertain policy and practice in the diagnosis, education and social inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders; collect and disseminate examples of good practice; and make recommendations.

Ascertaining the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) researching stakeholder views of support and services for 10 to 18- year-olds with Asperger syndrome (2007).

Information and communication technology

  • Collaborative projects in Virtual and Augmentative Reality with the Institute of Robotics, the University of Valencia.
  • Reactive Colours Project with Wendy Keaybright and team at University of Wales Institute Cardiff. Current research and consultancy involves evaluation and the development of a learning pack.

E-learning, Continuing Professional Development and Good Autism Practice

  • Kaleidoscope European project: European network of excellence, together with Dr Rachel Pilkington from the School of Education. The Webautism programme was accepted as a Case Study for our ERT (European Research Team).
  • Evaluation of student’s response to e-delivery of autism spectrum training.