Carrie Ballantyne

Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

  • Visuo-spatial hierarchical processing in autistic children and children with fragile X syndrome
  • Sociocognitive profiles neurodiverse children and children with developmental disabilities
  • Inclusive practices within the classroom and employment practices
  • Perceptual – action miscouplings of older adults with fragile X syndrome and autism

Current research activities

My research area is interested in linking core social and cognitive processes to health and wellbeing outcomes in neurodiverse groups (i.e. autism, intellectual disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorders). I am also interested in other extraneous variables (i.e. parental coping, teacher efficacy and trauma) and the role they may play in the relationship between socio-cognitive processes and mental health outcomes.  I am interested in the impact of inclusion of individuals with atypical development within the community, specifically education and adult services. I have worked with a range of neurodevelopmental disabilities, but my focus is particularly in autism, ADHD and fragile X syndrome. I have carried out cross cultural research looking at different pedagogical approaches in inclusive education, as well as working directly with teachers in assessing their knowledge and attitudes towards inclusive education. My recent work focuses on inequalities in education and access to services, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am also involved in research understanding lifespan development on the cognitive visuo-spatial processes on typical and atypical development. Importantly, what aspects of visuo-spatial processing impact on learning and communication and how this can be adapted to suit the child.

Desired research direction

I aim to continue and extend my work in looking at factors that affect neurodiverse individuals and people with neurodevelopmental disorders in terms of overall wellbeing and addressing inequalities. 

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Work with practitioners (ie teachers, carers, police)  on inclusive practices for neurodiverse people and those who have intellectual disabilities throughout the lifespan.



I graduated with a PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2010, looking at visuo-spatial hierarchical processing biases of children with typical and atypical development. I then took on a postdoctoral position at Glasgow Caledonian looking at links between mood and diet in middle aged men. Shortly thereafter, I joined Heriot Watt University as a teaching fellow and Edinburgh University as a lecturer in the department of education. In August 2014 I took on a lectureship at the University of the West of Scotland and became a reader in August 2022.

My teaching interests lie in the areas of neurodevelopmental disorders child development, biological psychology and research methods.

My research interests lie in the area of neurodiversity and lifespan development, including gender and employment inequalities, alongside sociocognitive profiles. I have secured funding through the Scottish International Education Trust and The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland in order to investigate processing biases in children with autism and fragile X syndrome. More recently, I have been involved in projects funded by the British Academy/Leverhulmev Trust and ESRC. 

Target collaborative companies

Companies and organisations that provide support to families with developmental disabilities

Target collaborative organisations

Education and health care providers for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or neurodiversity.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


  • BF Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Autism
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Atypical Development


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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