Dr Lila Kossyvaki

Dr Lila Kossyvaki

School of Education
Lecturer in Severe Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

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 Disabilities in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education. She is also a member of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER).

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 disabilities. 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 children with autism. 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 of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and as a lecturer at the Public Institute of Vocational Training (Greece). Lila has also worked in special schools and day care settings in the UK and in Greece. During her PhD studies she worked as an academic and social support worker for the disability and learning support services at the University of Birmingham. She is currently a governor in charge of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Hamilton School.


  • PGCHE, University of Birmingham
  • 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 Disabilities programme. 

More specifically she is in charge of the following modules:

  • Reflective Practice
  • Enhancing Quality
  • Developing Innovations
  • Special Studies in Special Education and Educational Psychology
  • Dissertation.

Postgraduate supervision

Lila currently supervises the following students:

Former students who have completed their PhD

Lila currently supervises the following students:

Former students who have completed their PhD

Doctoral research


Lila’s main research interests are:

  • Autism and severe or profound learning disabilities
  • Adult Interactive Style and its impact on the communication of children with autism and/or learning disabilities
  • Technology enhanced learning environments for individuals with disabilities
  • The development of play skills in children with disabilities
  • Staff and parents' training
  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
  • Cultural differences and disability

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

Tablet based attention training in schools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Funded by ESRC Impact Acceleration Account-User Engagement Fund (October 2017 - June 2018).

Meeting the needs of pupils with autism in Qatar: moving forward, raising awareness and building capacity
Funded by The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) - an initiative of the Qatar Foundation (February - August 2017). 

Using new technologies at school: working with pupils with autism and additional complex needs
Funded by Filisia Interfaces (April 2015 - August 2016).

Transform Autism Education: enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of teachers in the UK, Italy and Greece
Funded by the European Commission(November 2014 - August 2017). 

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

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

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

Other activities

Lila is a Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society).  

She is also an accredited Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) practitioner and trained in Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) administration and coding.  

Lila is an external examiner for the University of East London. She is in charge of the courses BA in Early Childhood and Education and MA in Child Psychology for Education at their European partner Metropolitan College (Greece).

She is honoured to be a governor at Hamilton School



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

Book chapter

Papoudi, D. and Kossyvaki, L. (2018) Play and Children with Autism: Insights from Research and Implications for Practice. In P. Smith and J. Roopnarine (Eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Play: Developmental and Disciplinary Perspectives (pp. 563-579). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Journal papers

Kossyvaki, L. (2019) Why is research important? Reflections for professionals and parents. PMLD LINK, 31(2): 19-20.

Kossyvaki, L. and Curran, S. (2018) The role of technology-mediated music-making in enhancing engagement and social communication in children with autism and intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities https://doi.org/10.1177/1744629518772648

Spaniol, M.M., Shalev, L., Kossyvaki, L. and Mevorach, C. (2018) Attention Training in Autism as a Potential Approach to Improving Academic Performance: A School-Based Pilot Study. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 48(2): 592-610. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3371-2 

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

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 

Research reports

Guldberg, K., Achtypi, A., Angelidi, E., Baker, L., Bradley, R., Colombo, M., Critchley, S-J., Cumino, R., D’Alonzo, L., Folci, I., Giouroukou, E., Hadjipateras-Giannoulis, K., Huggett, S., Kerem, M., Kokounaras-Liagkis, M., Kossyvaki, A., Laskaridou, K., Milton, D., Molteni, P., Sala, R., Simpson, P., Sofianopolou, K., Wood, R. and Zanfroni, E. (2017) Transform Autism Education: Final Report. ERASMUS PLUS KA2: Cooperation and innovation for good practices.  

Guldberg, K., Ashbee, E., Kossyvaki, L., Bradley, R. and Basulayyim, A. (2017) Meeting the needs of pupils in Qatar: moving forward. WISE, Qatar. 

Media Impressions

Kossyvaki, L. (2019) Real-world action research in SEND: its significance and ideas on how to enhance rigour. American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Student and Early Career Professional Special Interest Group (AAIDD SECP), 20th May 2019.

Kossyvaki, L. (2019) How to bridge the gap between theory, research and what’s unravelling in the everyday life of individuals with autism? Social Sciences Birmingham, 8 April 2019. 

Kossyvaki, L. (2018) Lessons learnt from the trip to MalaysiaInclusive Schools, Inclusive World, 9 December 2018.

Giannadou, K. (2017) Creative play. Special Children: meeting children’s additional educational needs, April.  

Kossyvaki, L. (2017) On World Autism Day 2017, a dispatch from Qatar. The Autism Centre for Education and Research blog, 2ndApril. 

Griffiths, A. (2014) The robot teacher connecting with autistic childrenThe Telegraph, 14thFebruary. 

Book reviews

Kossyvaki, L. (2018) Maria and me: a father, a daughter (and autism) by Gallardo, M. and Gallardo, M. (2017). Book reviewed in Good Autism Practice. 19(1): 76.

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.

View all publications in research portal