Dr Alexandra Sturrock

Clinical Lecturer (Teaching Focused)

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Ongoing autism and sex/gender research (2020+)

We have started developing a questionnaire, that can screen for subtle language and communicaiton difficulties. This may be particularly helpful for identifying support needs for autistic girls and other individuals with subtle presentation of difficulties. This has been developed through through careful consultation with the autistic female community, and is ready for trailing with a large population.

We have also begun hosting a series of masters projects with the first exploring contributing factors to autistic females best life outcomes.


Ongoing subtle language and communication difficulties research (2020+)

We have been collecting data on the typical development of language related to emotions. This data has been collected using our novel measures of expressive and receptive emotion vocabulary, with typically-developing children aged between 5 and 13 years. This data will be used to provide face validity for the EVER measure (Emotion Vocabulary: Expressive and Receptive) leading to a full trial of the measure for clinical application.

We have also been working on interpreting qualitative data from parents of autistic children without learning disabilities. The aim is to explore findings from the parent data, and reflect on the similarlities and differences with the child data on the same subject (already established from the PhD work). This body of work continutes to evidence the potentially significant impact of subtle language and communication difficulties on autistic boys and girls without learning disabilities.  


The SPAACE project: Speech Perception by Autistic Adults in Complex Environments (2020+)

This is a co-production project with research questions generated by and research undertaken with autism@manchester. The main aim is to shed light on autism-related differences in speech perception

First steps have included exploratative design, consulting with the autistic community through interviews and questionnaires. The next step will work towards developing discrete listening tasks and researching hypotheses based on autistic insights.


PhD Research (2014-2020 P/T)

The focus of my PhD research has been on the language and communication differences of autistic females without learning disability. This has brought together areas of clinical interest through my role as a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in autism diagnosis and support. The study brings together two strands of research; understanding the presentation of autistic females, and the communicative difficulties of autistic individuals (girls and boys) without learning disability. In this way results have clinical implications for the more timely diagnosis of autistic females and therapy provision for autistic children more generally.

The study is divided into three stages: Firstly females and males with and without autism will be compared on a direct assessment of structural language and pragmatics. This will be undertaken in middle childhood during primary school.

The second stage considers how parents, clinicans and teachers as well as the children themselves report functional communication using checklists and observation measures (this is with the same group of children as in Study one).

Finally study three qualitatively investigates the impact of communicative difficultiesas reported by the autistic children themselves.

Dr Catherine Adams & Dr Jenny Freed 


Clinical lecturing

Lead for Developmental Speech and Language Disorders A (2019-ongoing)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Overseeing course module; lecture content, summative and formative assessment and marking


Teaching on Linguistics Phonetics and Language Development (2017-ongoing)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Developing course and examination content and presenting material on phonetics, socio-linguisitcs, sentence structure, sentence function, semantics and pragmatics


Teaching on Lifelong Disability A (2018-ongoing)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Developing and presenting course content on autism spectrum disorder: assessment and intervention


Teaching Clinical Professional Practice 1, 2 & 3 (2017-ongoing)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Presenting a workshop on a day in the life of an SLT working in specialist autism provision, developing and presenting material within similated learning activities


Teaching Clinical Linguistics (2018-ongoing)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Writing and presenting material on the clinical application of linguistic teaching in client populations


Membership of programme and student commitee, curriculum planning, exams board,  (2017-on-going)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Active contribution to department management meetings


Lead for Developmental Language Disorders 1 (2017-19)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Overseeing course module; lecture content, summative and formative assessment and marking


Teaching on Children with Developmental Disabilities (2017-18)

BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Developing and presenting course content on autism spectrum disorder: assessment and intervention




External positions

External Examiner, University College London (UCL)

1 Sep 2020 → …

Autism Diagnostician/Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, The Roundway Centre

1 Jul 2020 → …


  • Speech & Language Therapist, PhD researcher, Clinical Lecturer, Language and communication in autism, Sex/gender difference in Autism

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2019 - Higher Educational Award: Fellowship, The Higher Education Academy
  • 2014 - Post Graduate Diploma: Autism Spectrum Conditions, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
  • 2009 - Masters in Medical Science: Human Communication Disorders, The University of Sheffield
  • 2005 - BA Hons - Linguistics & Spanish, The University of Salford

Related information

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