Dr Alyssa M. Alcorn

Postdoctoral fellow


PhD Human-computer interaction, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics (2016)

MSc Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics (2010)

BA Psychology, Mills College, California (2009)

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at the UCL Institute of Education

Research summary

  • Designing and evaluating interactive technologies for children on the autism spectrum, particularly those supporting education, communication, and social skills development.

  • Technology use, attitudes, and practices in schools

  • Neurodiversity issues in education

  • Participatory design methodologies (specialising in PD for children and in school settings)

  • Use of video annotation to derive behavioural data

  • Ethics of research with children, particularly issues around child consent/assent

Current research interests

Participatory design of educational resources

Past research interests

Educational games for children on the autism spectrum, using games to facilitate communication, social robotics, robotics and autism

Project activity

I am the lead researcher for the Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) project This project is developing educational resources for teaching about neurodiversity in mainstream primary schools (age 8-11). These resources will include both information and activities for children, and guidance to support school staff in delivering the materials. It is based on a broad view of neurodiversity, as the concept that there are many varieties of human brains in the world, just as biodiversity describes the many varieties of animals and plants in the world.  This project has a major participatory design components, working with experienced educators and people with lived experience of neurodivergence in order to develop the resource content. 

The LEANS project is fully funded by a Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre Scientific Advisory Board Research Grant. You can access a copy of the original grant proposal at this link.

Invited speaker

  • 2017 Invited keynote at the National Autistic Society autism and technology conference (Manchester)
  • 2017 Invited panelist, "Building resilience with vulnerable groups" at the EU's Safer Internet Forum conference (Brussels)


  • 2018 Workshop co-organiser, “Keep calm and robot on: practical tips from DE-ENIGMA for working with robots and autistic children”, Autism Europe Congress, (Nice, France)
  • 2018 Workshop co-organiser, “The near future of children’s robotics”, Interaction Design and Children conference (Trondheim, Norway)
  • 2013-2015 Co-chair, co-organiser,  International Meeting for Autism Research Special Interest Group (2013-2015) on Technology and Autism