Doctoral students

Carolina Gaona (

Carolina Gaona is a PhD student at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Special and Inclusive Education at the University of Roehampton. Her research project focuses on post-16 education and employment experiences of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders under the new Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice. She trained as an educational psychologist in Argentina and obtained a Master of Arts in Special and Inclusive Education from the University of Roehampton, University of Oslo (Norway) and Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). She has worked in different settings in neurocognitive assessment and intervention across age groups, and as a primary school teacher. Her main interests are related to transition to adulthood and adulthood outcomes in people in the autism spectrum, disability rights, and special education policy.

Gaona, C. The voices of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder in post-16 Education following the introduction of the new Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (Vice-chancellor scholarship). Supervisory Team: Dr Susana Castro, Dr Olympia Palikara and Professor Debbie Epstein (DoS).

Vasiliki Eirinaki (

Vasiliki Eirinaki’s doctoral research on the effect of maternal postnatal depression on infants’ verbal and nonverbal communication skills is funded by the Froebel Trust. Postnatal depression (PND) affects approximately 20% of women following childbirth and could have detrimental effects on the relationship between mother and infant. Research shows that children whose mothers suffer from PND are at increased risk of poor developmental outcomes. The present study focuses on infants’ development and mother-infant interaction through the lens of a particular subcategory; mothers with severe PND who have been jointly hospitalized with their babies in a Mother-Baby Unit. The main aim of this research project is to explore the effect of maternal PND on infants’ development, with a specific focus on language development. Videotapes that contain footage of mothers with and without PND and their babies interacting during play, maternal singing and face-to-face contact will be analysed and compared. The comparison will be made to illustrate the real differences – strengths and difficulties –both in the interaction between mothers with PND and their infants and in infants’ verbal and nonverbal communication skills.