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NIHR Advanced Fellowship

Brain in greyscaleDr Alexandra Hendry, Scott Family Junior Research Fellow in Autism, has been awarded an NIHR Advanced Fellowship to co-develop and pilot an intervention to support the development of executive functions in toddlers with a family history or autism and/or ADHD.

Dr Hendry‘s research centres on the development of “executive functions”: the skills that help us control our attention and behaviour in order to achieve goals. These skills include the ability to stop ourselves from doing something (inhibitory control), to keep some information in mind whilst also adding to or changing it (working memory) and the ability to switch our actions or attention during a changing situation (cognitive flexibility). The long-term aim of her research is to find out why some children go on to develop strong executive function skills and not others, which will be useful for identifying which children may need early support to nudge their development towards a more positive outcome.

She completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London where she investigated the early development of Executive Functions and attentional control skills in infants with an increased likelihood of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), because they have an older sibling who has been diagnosed. This work was part of the ongoing STAARS project. In January 2018, she joined the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford to work on a project investigating executive functions from infancy into early childhood, led by Dr Karla Holmboe, developing new games and tasks to measure executive functions in infants as young as 10 months.

You can follow Dr Hendry’s work on Twitter.

Published: 6 April 2021

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