Wafa Alshami

Wafa Alshami

School of Psychology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Wafa is undertaking doctoral research into the early manifestation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is using quantitative methods to compare scores from video analysis of infants and toddlers with ASD as well as those with typical development, viewed at two frames per second.  

In particular, she is interested in examining the integration of several socio-cognitive behaviours for the initiation, maintenance, and termination of social interactions in infants, toddlers and children with ASD. Further, whether or not that can predict an ASD diagnosis in children younger than three years of age. She has recently presented part of her results at the Doctoral Research Conference at the University of Birmingham.


Wafa earned her BA in Human Development from Mount Vernon College, Washington DC; MA in Special Education from the American University, Washington DC; and MS in Psychology from Walden University, Minnesota, and completed PhD course work in health psychology also at Walden University. 

She has undergone additional graduate course work and received clinical training in Cognitive and Personality Assessment and Evaluation of Children and Adults at the University of Indiana, USA. Wafa is also trained in the administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). 


Wafa is funded by Saudi Ministry of Higher Education: King Abdullah Scholarship program. She has 15+ years of experience in working with children with special needs. Her work over the past years has focused on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. 

She has managed Educational Departments for various schools dealing with children with Special Needs, conducting psychological assessments, participating in Individualized Education Plans (IEP) development and meetings, and providing training to parents and professionals. She has consulted for the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs, the Saudi Ministry of Education, and the Saudi National Autistic Society. 

She took a lead role in developing the curriculum for a BA degree in Special Education: Autism Spectrum Disorder at Dar Al Hekma University, Saudi Arabia. She has also designed a two-year training program for professionals and paraprofessionals working within the field of ASD for the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs, graduating 200+ individuals, and participated in overlooking the program’s implementation. She is the recipient of the Saudi National Autistic Society prize for significant contributions to the advancement of the field of ASD in Saudi Arabia, 2010.


Wafa has authored three 400+page textbooks on autism in Arabic, which are currently used as required texts in universities and other training programs in Saudi Arabia, as well as other countries in the Middle East.  Prior to joining the laboratory, Wafa was a Lecturer at Dar Al Hekma University, Saudi Arabia, teaching courses in Psychology and Special Education and doing consultation work in various cities in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.  

She has received clinical training in assessment in both the USA and London, UK, including experience working on the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS) study at the Institute of Education, London, from 2011 to 2012.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Socio-Cognitive Integration in Infants and Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


Research interests

Early manifestation; screening and early diagnosis; and early intervention in ASD

Research supervisors

  • Linda Wheeldon
  • Joe McCleery
  • Amanda Ludlow


Three 400+page textbooks on autism in Arabic: Autism TextBookSeries: facebook.com/khafaya.altawahud

Alshami, W. (2004). Khafaya Altawahud. Al-Obeikan Publishing: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Alshami, W. (2004). Simat Altawahud. Al-Obeikan Publishing: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Alshami, W. (2004). Ilaj Altawahud. Al-Obeikan Publishing: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

A second printing will be published in 2015.