Dr Andrea MacLeod

Andrea MacLeod

School of Education
Associate Professor in Autism

Contact details

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

Before joining the University Andrea worked in the voluntary sector, supporting adults with disabilities. She developed and managed models of support (including supported living, employment, peer support and community inclusion) for adults with Asperger syndrome within the West Midlands region.


  • MEd
  • BA (Hons)
  • PhD 


Programme Co-ordinator for the Distance Education Programme Autism (Adults) Programme and Co-ordinator for the Webautism University Certificate.

Postgraduate supervision

Her research interests are as follows:

  • Inclusive practice for autistic adults and young people
  • models of support and self-advocacy
  • higher autistic students in higher education
  • participatory methodologies
  • collaborative approaches to research and practice

Doctoral research


Models of support for adults, specifically those with Asperger syndrome and models that promote self-advocacy and autonomy.

Project: Enhancing Outcomes for Autistic Students. The ‘AuVision’ project was a peer-to-peer project co-ordinated by academic staff and an independent mentor from Student Support Services from the University of Birmingham. Source of funds: Centre for Learning and Development, University of Birmingham.

Project: An international review of the literature of evidence of best practice provision in the education of persons on the autism spectrum. Sarah Parsons, Karen Guldberg, Andrea MacLeod, Glenys Jones, Anita Prunty and Tish Balfe. Source of funds: National Council for Special Education (NCSE), Ireland.

Project: Enabling students with Asperger syndrome to participate in the development of an online model of peer support. Andrea MacLeod. Source of funds: Staff Development Grant.

Project: Development of Inclusion Development Programme national web-based resource on autism. Glenys Jones, Karen Guldberg, Andrea MacLeod, Mitzi Waltz and Lynn Plimley.  Source of funds: Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Project: Review of the needs and services for children and young people with Asperger syndrome in Northern Ireland.  Glenys Jones, Jean Ellis, Karen Guldberg, Rita Jordan, Andrea MacLeod, Lynn Plimley. Source of funds: Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Project: Development of a national web-based resource for primary health care practitioners on autism. Rita Jordan, Karen Guldberg, Glenys Jones, Lynn Plimley and Andrea MacLeod. Source of funds: NHS Education for Scotland.


Recent publications


MacLeod, A 2024, 'Exploring 'lifeworlds' with the autistic community' The Psychologist, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 39-42. <https://www.bps.org.uk/psychologist/exploring-lifeworlds-autistic-community>

MacLeod, A, Sandland, B, Hall, N & chown, N 2023, 'Accommodation through personalisation: ensuring the autistic student has an equal opportunity for success in the PhD viva voce', Journal of Further and Higher Education, vol. 47, no. 10, pp. 1404-1419. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2023.2250740

Sandland, B, MacLeod, A & Hall, N 2023, 'Neurodiverse students within higher education: initial thoughts from a collaborative project', Good Autism Practice, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 13-22. <https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bild/gap/2023/00000024/00000002/art00004#>

Sandland, B, MacLeod, A & Hall, N 2023, 'Neurodiverse students within higher education - initial thoughts from a collaborative project', Education in Practice, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 26-37. <https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/hefi/documents/public/journal/v4-i1/neurodiverse-students-within-he.pdf>

Irvine, B & MacLeod, A 2022, 'What are the challenges and successes reported by autistic students at university? a literature review', Good Autism Practice, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 49-59. <https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/bild/gap/2022/00000023/00000001/art00008>

MacLeod, A 2020, 'The AuVision project: a collaboration between autistic students and non-autistic staff to understand the student experience within a higher education institution.', Good Autism Practice, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 5.

Searle, KA, Ellis, L, Kourti, M, MacLeod, A, Lear, C, Duckworth, C, Irvine, D, Jones, H, King, M, Ling, J & Simpson, J 2019, 'Participatory autism research with students at a UK university: evidence from a small-scale empirical project', Advances in Autism, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 84-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-05-2018-0018

Kourti, M & MacLeod, A 2018, '‘I don’t feel like a gender, I feel like myself’: Autistic individuals raised as girls exploring gender identity', Autism in Adulthood, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1089/aut.2018.0001

MacLeod, A, Allan, J, Lewis, A & Robertson, C 2017, '‘Here I come again’: the cost of success for higher education students diagnosed with autism', International Journal of Inclusive Education, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1396502

MacLeod, A, Robertson, C & Lewis, A 2013, '"“Why should I be like bloody Rainman?!” Navigating the autistic identity"', British Journal of Special Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12015

MacLeod, A, Lewis, A & Robertson, C 2013, '‘CHARLIE: PLEASE RESPOND!’ Using a Participatory Methodology with Individuals on the Autism Spectrum', International Journal of Research and Method in Education . https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2013.776528

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

MacLeod, A 2024, Collaboration in Action – Lessons from a collaborative project with autistic students. in C Lindmeier, B Lindmeier, K Ehrenberg, T Taulien & R Böcker (eds), Autismus und weibliche Adoleszenz. Pädagogik im Autismus-Spektrum, vol. 5, Kohlhammer, Halle.

MacLeod, A 2017, Overcoming Barriers to Educational Opportunities post school. in R Jordan, J Roberts & K Hume (eds), Autism & Education . SAGE Publications.

Other report

Guldberg, K, Wallace, S, Bradley, R, Perepa, P, Ellis, L & MacLeod, A 2021, Investigation of the causes and implications of exclusion for autistic children and young people. University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/acer/research/index.aspx>

Review article

MacLeod, A 2019, 'Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) as a tool for participatory research within Critical Autism Studies: a systematic review', Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, vol. 64, pp. 49-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2019.04.005

View all publications in research portal