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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Presentations: Challenging stereotypes: Novel perspectives on autism 

BSMS > Research > Neuroscience > Presentations: Challenging stereotypes: Novel perspectives on autism

Presentations: Challenging stereotypes: Novel perspectives on autism

Welcome to our presentation page. All of the presentations on this page are part of the 'Challenging stereotypes: Novel perspectives on autism' symposium (May-June 2020). This symposium seeks to challenge stereotyped views of autism, harnessing the lived experience of people with autism. 

This webpage contains a number of video presentations and slideshows from our speakers, as well as biographies on everyone so you can find out more about their research. Scroll down the page to watch them all. 


Jenny Csecs and Geoff Davies

Jenny Csecs and Geoff Davies are Clinical Psychologists working on ADAPT – Altering Dynamics of Autonomic Processing Therapy. ADAPT is a research study that is a collaboration between Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which is working to develop and test a novel treatment for reducing anxiety in hypermobility. They have both worked in this post since October 2019. Previous to this they trained as Clinical Psychologists at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 2016 – 2019. Jenny is increasingly interested in the interaction between brain and body which includes how neurodiversity impacts on these. Geoff also works at the Royal Alexandra children's hospital in Brighton. He works in the paediatrics complex systems team with functional presenting symptoms.

Stephanie Daley 

Dr Stephanie Daley is a Senior Lecturer in Older People’s Health & Education at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Stephanie is the programme and evaluation lead for the Time for Dementia and Time for Autism programmes. Stephanie completed her PhD at Kings College London in 2014. Stephanie is an Occupational Therapist by background.

Dowload Stephanie's presentation here >



Jessica Eccles

Jessica Eccles trained in medicine at University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, completing a BA in The History and Philosophy of Science, sparking a keen interest in philosophy of mind and brain-body interactions, and since graduation from medical school has pursued a combined academic clinical path at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. As an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow she recently completed her PhD in the relationship between joint hypermobility, autonomic dysfunction and psychiatric symptoms and is now a Clinical Senior Lecturer. She holds honorary clinical contracts with both Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. Jessica is also a Patron of Sussex Ehlers-Danlos and Hypermobility Support (SEDS) in Sussex.

Download Jessica's presentation here >



Rachel Fricker

Rachel is a psychology graduate and doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex. She has a particular interest in autistic strengths. Having previously researched the relationship between dual-process theory and autism, her funded PhD research concentrates on the relationships between autism, ADHD and hyperfocus. As a late-diagnosed autistic adult, Rachel found that understanding this diagnosis from a neurodiversity perspective improved both her mental health and overall wellbeing. A nuanced understanding of the interdependence of strengths and challenges associated with autism was key to developing greater self-acceptance. This nuanced perspective informs Rachel’s approach to her current research, which investigates these interdependencies. Rachel enjoys running peer to peer workshops facilitating positive spaces for autistic peers to explore, with one another, their own neurodiverse experiences.

Download Rachel's presentation here >



Sarah Garfinkel

Sarah Garfinkel is a Professor of Clinical and Affective Neuroscience at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex. In September 2018, Sarah was named by the journal Nature as one of 11 "Rising Star" researchers, across all STEM disciplines internationally, and the only scientist to be selected from the UK. She completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology the University of Sussex, before undergoing a training fellowship in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. Her current work focuses on brain-body interactions underlying emotion and cognition, with a particular focus on the heart. Also adopting a translational perspective, she investigates altered cardiac-neural mechanisms in different clinical conditions such as anxiety. Sarah is also involved in the public engagement of science. She contributes to science programmes on BBC Radio 4 and her work has been featured in the New Scientist and Wired.  

Download Sarah's presentation here >


Jane Green 

Jane is an advocate for equality, diversity, human rights and co-production in education, health, employment, social care, police and transport (airport) accessibility for visible and invisible disabilities/conditions. She is a disabled, single parent of two adult children and carer to her eldest autistic child. Despite an unusual educational background she became the lead autism educationalist in the UK and Assistant Head Teacher but retired early in 2015 due to chronic ill health and disability. Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes in 2015 followed by autism in 2016 after many years of disbelief. She still volunteers and advocates on various roundtables, charities and organisations as Trustee for CarersSWS, Social Care Institute of Excellence, SCIE co-production steering group and involved in DHSC Covid19 guidances and resources. She founded and is Chair of Sussex Ehlers-Danlos and Hypermobility Support group (SEDS) in Sussex. 

Download Jane's presentation here >



Lisa Quadt

Lisa is a research fellow II working at the Neuroscience and Psychiatry Department of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Her work focuses on the interaction between bodily arousal (such as fast heart beats when anxious) and psychological symptoms in neurodivergent patients with mental health conditions. Lisa has managed and conducted a large clinical trial with over 120 autistic adults testing a novel training therapy against anxiety symptoms based on increasing accurate perception of bodily signals. In her free time, Lisa enjoys walks with her little dog, learning about social justice issues, and listening to audiobooks. 

Download Lisa's presentation here >


Rebecca Simmons

Rebecca Simmons is Nursing Lead for the Neurodevelopmental Service, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She is autistic and has ADHD and has adult children who are also autistic with ADHD. Rebecca's work involved listening, thinking and talking about autism and ADHD. Pretty much like her personal life. She has written this in an attempt to blend and represent just some of the shared experiences she hears about every day. 

Download Rebecca's blog post here >

The art in the video below is by Beth Sutton, an autistic artist who also has ADHD. She is one of the women who inspires the Neurodevelopmental Service. 



Gemma Williams

Gemma Williams is a cognitive linguistics PhD Studentship awardee at the University of Brighton. Her research investigates the breakdowns in mutual understanding that can occur between autistic and non-autistic people, via a synthesis of interdisciplinary tools and theories, largely influenced by Relevance Theory. 

Following eight years teaching English as a Foreign Language to international business users and the ‘settled community’ of asylum seekers, migrant workers and refugees, Gemma completed a Masters in ELT (English Language Teaching) at the University of Sussex. Gemma has also spent several years as a recording and internationally touring musician. 

A piece of Gemma's autoethnographic creative writing from her PhD thesis, 'We're All Strangers Here', was awarded Honorable Mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology 2019 Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Prize and is published in Anthropology and Humanism in July this year.

Gemma's talk addresses communication and 'other minds' in a clinical setting.

Download Gemma's presentation here >