Dr Rebecca Wood

Dr Rebecca Wood

School of Education
Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Rebecca is an experienced teacher and trainer who has worked in both the mainstream and special educational needs (autism) sectors. She completed her first degrees at the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN). Rebecca was Project Manager for the Transform Autism Education (TAE) project, a three year research and development project involving Greece, Italy and the UK and funded by the European Commission through their Erasmus Plus programme. She was also a doctoral researcher in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and was supported by a full scholarship from the School of Education. The focus of Rebecca’s PhD is on the inclusion of autistic children in mainstream primary schools.

Rebecca has given presentations at both national and international conferences and seminars such as Autism Europe 2016 and the Globalisation of Autism: Historical, Sociological, and Anthropological Reflections 2017. A keen ‘The Archers’ fan, she has presented at the ‘Academic Archers’ conferences at the University of Lincoln 2017 and the British Library in 2018.

Rebecca inputs into post-graduate programmes in DISN as a visiting lecturer and in providing supervision.


  • M.A.: University of Edinburgh
  • M.st.: Jesus College, Oxford University
  • PhD: University of Birmingham


In her professional work, Rebecca’s focus was on the training of staff who support autistic children in pre-school and primary school settings by devising and delivering her own programmes which aimed to engender a holistic, informed and positive approach to the education of autistic children. She worked within a diverse and multi-cultural environment and was also involved with the assessment and diagnosis of autistic children as part of a multi-disciplinary team, as well as providing individualised education programmes and running support and information groups for parents of newly diagnosed children.

In her research, Rebecca’s core aspiration is to facilitate the inclusion of autistic children in mainstream school settings by enabling school staff to understand how autistic children might think, learn and communicate. In a multi-perspective account which includes the views of autistic children, their parents, school staff and autistic adults, her PhD study considers not only how and if autistic children are participating in the different aspects of school life, but how effectively they are being supported, the ways in which this is experienced by them and what their aspirations are. In addition, her study incorporates an analysis of how participants perceive and understand autism, and whether this impacts on their attitudes towards the education of autistic children.

Rebecca is passionate about helping to create greater understanding about the needs, rights and abilities of autistic children through research and practice, and her goal is to realise this through both her research.

Since completing her PhD, Rebecca has been focusing on developing her findings and exploring further issues relating to autism, communication and interpretation.

Doctoral research

PhD title
The inclusion of autistic children in the curriculum and assessment in mainstream primary schools Her PhD supervisors were Dr Karen Guldberg (Lead), Professor Gary Thomas, Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer.


Wood, R. and Milton, D. (2018) ‘Reflections on the value of autistic participation in a tri-national teacher-training project through discourses of acceptance, othering and power’, British Journal of Special Education, doi: 10.1111/1467-8578.12216

Wood, R. (2018) ‘The Wrong Kind of Noise: Understanding and Valuing the Communication of Autistic Children in Schools’, Educational Review (in press)

Wood, R. (in preparation) Thinking differently, thinking better about autism and inclusion in mainstream schools, (commissioned book, Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

Runswick-Cole, K. and Wood, R. (2017) ‘Bag of the Devil: The Disablement of Rob Titchener’, in Courage, C. and Headlam, N. (eds) Custard, Culverts and Cakes: Academics on Life in The Archers, Bingley: Emerald Publishing

Articles in online media: Network Autism (2016); Times Education Supplement (2016a and 2016b); Birmingham Brief (2017); The Conversation (2017 and 2018).

View all publications in research portal