Dr Lila Kossyvaki

Dr Lila Kossyvaki

School of Education
Lecturer in Severe Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Dr Lila Kossyvaki is a lecturer in Severe Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education.

Lila is a chartered psychologist and a SEN teacher. She has a strong interest in school and home-based interventions to promote social communication and play skills in children with autism and learning difficulties. She primarily uses participatory action research designs working in close partnerships with participants in real world settings. Lila has worked on a number of research projects exploring Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) in typically developing children and children with autism (i.e. ECHOES, The Shape project, Share-It). She has also worked as a Regional Tutor in the Autism DE courses supervising students from undergraduate to Masters levels. Before she commenced her PhD, she worked for a research centre in the University of Athens and as a lecturer in the Public Institute of Vocational Training (Greece). Lila has also worked in special schools and day care settings for adults in Greece and the UK. During her PhD studies she worked as an academic and social support worker for the disability and learning support services in the University of Birmingham. She is part of the advisory team of http://www.specialeducation.gr/ and a governor in charge of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Hamilton School. She is also a member of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) based in the School of Education.


  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • M.Ed., University of Birmingham  Special Education: Autism (children) 
  • B.Ed., National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece)  Philosophy-Pedagogy-Psychology (Major: Psychology)


Lila leads on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties programme.

Postgraduate supervision

Lila currently supervises the following students:

Rebecca Grant (EdD)

Former students who have completed their PhD

Mayra Muller Spaniol  PhD ''Attention control in adults with high autistic traits and attention training in children with autism'  www.linkedin.com/in/mayra-spaniol-27a50735.

Patricia Pérez-FusterPhD  'Enhancing skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorder through technology-mediated interventions' ' https://www.linkedin.com/in/patricia-pérez-fuster-88056b85/?ppe=1

Doctoral research


Lila’s main research interests are:

  • The impact of adult style on the communication of young children with autism
  • Autism and severe learning difficulties

  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
  • Technology enhanced learning environments for individuals with autism
  • Play skills
  • Staff and parents' training
  • Cultural differences and autism

She has worked or is working on the following research projects:

Meeting the needs of pupils with autism in Qatar: moving forward, raising awareness and building capacity

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) - an initiative of the Qatar Foundation, has commissioned ACER to examine current access to and quality of education provided to individuals with autism in Qatar (PI: Dr Karen Guldberg/ CI: Dr Lila Kossyvaki). The ACER team visited Qatar at the end of March to conduct 1:1 and focus group interviews with stakeholders to capture the practical strategies in place in Qatar, covering the range of provision offered to students with autism, as well as the practices, resources and training available. The report is going to be presented in the in WISE summit in November 2017. https://acertheblog.wordpress.com

Using new technologies at school: working with pupils with autism and additional complex needs. Innovate UK funded 
Transform Autism Education: enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of teachers in the UK, Italy and Greece. European Commission Funded (November 2014- August 2017).

SHARE-IT: School-Home Autism Research Environment through Intelligent Technologies, EPSRC funded (July 2013- July 2014). 

SHAPE: Shaping the future of technology use in the classroom, ESRC Follow on funding (May 2012- June 2013). 

ECHOES 2: Improving children’s social interaction through exploratory learning in a multimodal environment, EPSRC/ESRC, TLRP-TEL funded (May- December 2011).


Muller Spaniol, M., Shalev, L., Kossyvaki, L. and Mevorach, C. (under revision) Attention training in autism as a potential approach to improving academic performance: a school-based pilot study 

Kossyvaki, L. (2018) Adult Interactive Style Intervention and Participatory Research Designs in Autism: Bridging the gap between academic research and practice. Routledge Research in Special Educational Needs. 

Kossyvaki, L., Jones, G. and Guldberg, K. (2016) Training teaching staff to facilitate spontaneous communication in children with autism: Adult Interactive Style Intervention (AISI), Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 16(3): 156-168. DOI: 10.1111/1471-3802.12068

Kossyvaki, L. and Papoudi, D. (2016) A review of play interventions for children with autism at school, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 63(1): 45-63DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2015.1111303

Kossyvaki, L., Jones, G. and Guldberg, K. (2014) Training teaching staff to facilitate spontaneous communication in children with autism: Adult Interactive Style Intervention (AISI), Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 16(3): 156-168. DOI: 10.1111/1471-3802.12068

Kossyvaki, L.(2013) Adult interactive style and autism: reviewing the literature to inform school practice, Good Autism Practice,14(2) 23-32. Abstract

Kossyvaki, L., Jones, G. and Guldberg, K. (2012) The effect of adult interactive style on the spontaneous communication of young children with autism at school, British Journal of Special Education, 39(4): 173-184. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8578.12001

Avramides, K., Bernardini, S., Foster, M.E., Frauenberger, C., Kossyvaki, L.and Mademtzi, M. (2012) ‘State of-the-art in TEL to support social communication skill development in children with autism: a multi-disciplinary review’, Int. J. Technology Enhanced Learning, 4 (5/6): 359–372. DOI: 10.1504/IJTEL.2012.051819

Kossyvaki, L.(2011) Autism, play and social interaction by Gammeltoft, L. and Sollok Nordenhof M (2007). Book reviewed in Good Autism Practice, 12 (1), 94.