Developmental Psychology

Developmental Psychology covers development across the whole of the lifespan and as such is closely allied with other key areas of research such as Play and Play Therapy, health behavior in specific age groups, etc. Research in Developmental Psychology ranges from research on children’s reading and spelling through to changes in intellectual functioning in old age. Members of the Department have published widely in these areas.

We foster a broad outlook on development with regards to research techniques used and specific areas of research. We encourage not just theoretical but also applied research, and welcome collaborative work with industry and government as well as a diverse range of topics in research degrees. For example, recent commissioned research includes a study of the effects of ageing on adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the efficacy of screening for speech and communication difficulties in young offenders in Wales.

Recent doctoral research supervision topics include: the effect of size of genetic deletion on abilities of children with Williams syndrome; implicit attitudes towards ageing; and emotional intelligence in Omani schoolchildren. Above all else, we are a friendly and flexible unit, and welcome enquiries.

Recent research

Supporting older people with autism
Prof. Ian Stuart-Hamilton was commissioned by the Welsh Government via Autism Cymru to conduct a quantitative survey of problems faced by older adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A report for the Welsh Government led to a further research paper (Stuart-Hamilton, I. & Morgan, H. (2011) ‘Older adults with autistic spectrum disorder’, Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 5, 22-28). Its impact includes change to Welsh Government policy for older adults; change to WAG policy for people with learning disabilities and the publication of several awareness-raising booklets on identifying older adults with ASD for care home workers and other appropriate professional groups. Read more…

The development of the first adult screening tool for Developmental Coordination Disorder
Prof Amanda Kirby, developed the Adult Developmental Coordination Disorder Checklist (ADC), the first screening tool developed specifically to identify the difficulties experienced by adults with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). DCD was previously regarded as a childhood disorder. However, increasing evidence suggests that the motor difficulties experienced in childhood persist into adulthood. Previously, little information was being collected about how these difficulties present in emerging adulthood or their impact on everyday living and there was no standardised screening tools for assessing the level of functional impairment in adults. Read more…