Dr Penelope Hannant

Dr Penelope Hannant

School of Education
Programme Lead : Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Having worked in biochemical research for a short period of time, Penny’s career began as a class teacher progressing very quickly to senior management and ultimately headship, where she became an outstanding headteacher.

During her 26 years in education, she became specifically interested in how children learn and how to support difficulties in the classroom and so became a specialist teacher working in the autism outreach team, in addition to widening her skills as a speech, language and communication specialist and a specific learning difficulties assessor. Her interest led her to take qualifications in psychology and counselling and so her academic career began.

Penny has completed her doctorate in development psychology, specialising in neurodiversity and with a focus on assessing and supporting children holistically. Penny takes her research and practice to her teaching where she trains in the area of special educational needs, disability and inclusion to a wide range of students including SENCOs, and specialists in the areas of literacy and dyslexia.


  • PhD in Developmental Psychology, Coventry University
  • AMBDA: British Dyslexia Association
  • MSc in Psychology, Coventry University
  • Certificate of Competence in Educational Psychometric testing (CCET), Dyslexia Action
  • Counselling Children and Adolescents Level 4 Diploma, Distinction
  • CPCAB Certificate in Counselling Studies Level 3
  • National Qualification for Headteachers, National College of School Leadership
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Warwick University
  • BSc Biochemistry (Including a period of Industrial Placement, First Class Degree with Honours (1:1)

Doctoral research

PhD title
The Role of Sensorimotor Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Conditions


Recent publications


Hannant, P 2024, 'Holistically bridging the gap between education and healthcare: A case study model of assessment', British Journal of Special Education. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12512

Hannant, P, Gartland, R, Eales, H & Mooncey, S 2023, 'A tool to profile neural, sensory and motor development in children at school entry, identifying possible barriers to learning and emotional well‐being in early childhood', Support for Learning. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.12455

Hannant, P 2021, 'Ineffective pathways and the price of conjecture', Support for Learning, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 356-379. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.12368

Hannant, P & Mundy, I 2020, 'Exploring the Phonological Profiles of Children with Reading Difficulties: A Multiple Case Study', Dyslexia, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 1-16.

Hannant, P, Cassidy, S, Renshaw, D & Joyce, A 2019, 'A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised-designed GABA tea study in children diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions: a feasibility study clinical trial registration: ISRCTN 72571312', Nutritional Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1080/1028415X.2019.1588486

Hannant, P 2018, 'Receptive language is associated with visual perception in typically developing children and sensorimotor skills in autism spectrum conditions', Human Movement Science, vol. 58, pp. 297-306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2018.03.005

Hannant, P, Cassidy, S, Weyer, RVD & Mooncey, S 2018, 'Sensory and motor differences in autism spectrum conditions and developmental coordination disorder in children: a cross-syndrome study', Human Movement Science, vol. 58, pp. 108-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2018.01.010

Cassidy, S, Hannant, P, Tavassoli, T, Allison, C, Smith, P & Baron-Cohen, S 2016, 'Dyspraxia and autistic traits in adults with and without autism spectrum conditions', Molecular Autism, vol. 7, 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13229-016-0112-x

Hannant, P, Cassidy, S, Tavassoli, T & Mann, F 2016, 'Sensorimotor difficulties are associated with the severity of autism spectrum conditions', Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, vol. 10, 28. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2016.00028

Hannant, P, Tavassoli, T & Cassidy, S 2016, 'The role of sensorimotor difficulties in autism spectrum conditions', Frontiers in neurology, vol. 7, 124. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2016.00124

Commissioned report

Carroll, J, Bradley, L, Crawford, H, Hannant, P, Johnson, H & Thompson, A 2017, SEN support: A rapid evidence assessment.

View all publications in research portal