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Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson

Chancellor's Fellow

Education, Community and Society (ECS)


Tel: +44 (0)131 651 6356


St Johns Land (Rm 2.02)


I first became interested in developmental disabilities, and autism in particular, through my work with the Oundle School Mencap Holiday, an organisation I've been volunteering with since 1997 and of which I am now a trustee. I took a degree in Psychology at the University of St Andrews, and then went on to a Masters and PhD at Durham University, supervised by Professor Sue Leekam. My PhD research explored the spontaneous social attention of adults and adolescents with ASD, using a range of methods, including eye-tracking. Since then I have worked under the mentorship of Professor Helen McConachie including a recently-completed Nuffield Fellowship. In this project, called Click-East, we designed an educational iPad and then trialled it with more than fifty children with autism. The trial phase is now complete and we are working to publish our findings by the end of 2013. I am also associated with a range of other projects at Edinburgh in the field of developmental psychology.  These include: MRI and eye-tracking in infancy; exploring the experiences of siblings of children with autism; and developing better understanding of how families use technology at home. You can find out more at my research site, DART.


  • BSc (hons) Psychology, University of St Andrews (first class), 2003
  • MA, Developmental Psychopathology, Durham University (with distinction), 2004
  • PhD., 'Understanding social attention in adults with and without autism spectrum disorders', Durham University, 2008


Member of the Edinburgh Child and Adolescent Psychology Network , or ECAP

Member of the Scottish Autism Research Group, or SARG

Member of the Developmental Psychology in Education group, or DPiE

Member of the Learning and Adaptive Environment Research Lab, or LaerLab

Affiliated to the BASIS and COST ESSEA research networks.

Principal interests

Research interests include:

  • Cognitive and behavioural approaches to understanding typical and atypical development
  • Social attention; visual attention; motion processing; processing stimulus complexity; sensory integration; all in persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically-developing children and adults
  • Interventions: computer-based intervention and education for individuals with ASD; Theory of Mind based interventions for ASD
  • Methodology: eye-movement recording; change blindness; methods in the study of attention in typical and atypical development
  • Early identification of cognitive and behavioural difficulties in infancy (including the use of MRI and eye-tracking)
  • Developing employment skills and opportunities for people with autism
  • Outcome measures for clinical research with individuals with ASD

  • Performance art for the very young

Research Supervision:
I would be interested in co-supervising students on any of the topics listed above.

I am second supervisor to Joy Tsai, co-supervised with Evelyn McGregor and Katie Cebula

I am second supervisor to Emma Moore, whose first supervisor is James Boardman


Research supervision

Projects supervised by Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson

Current and recent research

  • CLICK-EAST: Computer-based Learning in Children: the Edinburgh Autism Social-attention Trial
  • Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship, 2013.
  • Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, 2012-2013 "In utero MR biomarkers of abnormal brain development – a proof of concept study"
  • Challenge Investment Fund, 2013, "AWARE: Autism Software, how to get it out there"
  • Nuffield New Career Development Fellowship, 2010-2013, 'Intervention for Social Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorders'.
  • NHS Sustainability and Development Funding, 2009-2010, 'Developing the Social Orienting Continuum and Response Scale for use as an outcome measure for interventions with children with autism'.
  • ESRC Post-doctoral Fellowshhip, 2008-2009, 'Social Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorders'.



Publications list for Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson

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