Charlotte Brooks

Doctoral Researcher

charlotte brookesContact details

Current status

First year

Research Topic

Facilitating inclusion in secondary schools for nonbinary autistic young people: Stakeholder views and the role of autistic masking

Research Summary

Non-binary people represent a large proportion of the autistic population (19% compared with 0.06% in the general population; Reuben, Self-Brown and Thomas, 2022; Office for National Statistics, 2023), though little is known about their experiences. This doctoral project will be looking into autistic masking and inclusion from an intersectional perspective by considering the experiences of nonbinary autistic people. Throughout, the research process will be informed by collaborating with other community members to guide decisions and conclusions that are drawn from the findings.

Autistic masking describes an adaptive response where natural behaviours are suppressed and new ones are adopted in response to stigma, invalidation and marginalisation (Pearson and Rose, 2021). In this project, I will consider how nonbinary autistic people experience masking with a particular focus on the role of the school environment. An intersectional perspective hopes to produce novel insights into how experiences of masking may be influenced by being subject to multiple and overlapping systems of oppression.

This project will also look at what nonbinary autistic young people themselves and school staff believe are facilitators and barriers towards social inclusion in secondary schools. Bringing together different viewpoints will help to identify approaches for inclusive and gender-affirming education practices in secondary schools.


  • BSc (Hons) in Psychology with Neuroscience, University of Sussex (2016)
  • PGCE in Primary Teaching, University of Sussex (2017)
  • MEd in Autism (Children), University of Birmingham (2020)
  • MA in Social Research Methods, University of Birmingham (2022)


Charlotte (she/they) is an ESRC-funded doctoral researcher. They started their career as a primary school teacher and always felt a strong affinity with autistic students in their class. This developed into an interest for understanding autistic experience, and how neurodivergence can be supported and celebrated in the classroom and beyond. As an intersectional feminist, Charlotte has always been drawn to understanding experiences where multiple marginalised identities overlap. This interest and their own experiences in the autistic community kindled their interest in the perspectives of gender diverse autistic people. One of Charlotte’s principles as a researcher is to put lived experience at the centre of the work they do. As such, as part of their MA in Social Research Methods, Charlotte sought the views of nonbinary autistic people on current and future research that involves them. This work produced principles they are using to guide their doctoral studies, where they will engage further in participatory methods.

Research interests

  • Participatory methods
  • Intersectionality
  • Autistic experience
  • Critical Autism Studies
  • Neurodiversity
  • Neuroqueer theory
  • Queer phenomenology




Dr Prithvi Perepa and Dr Andrea MacLeod.


Brooks, C. (2023) ‘Exploring Views on Future Directions of Research Involving Nonbinary Autistic People Through Lived Experience’. INSAR 2023 Annual Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden, 4 May.