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Durham University

Centre for Developmental Disorders

Centre for Developmental Disorders

Vision Statement

Research conducted by members of the Centre for Developmental Disorders focuses on a broad range of neurodevelopmental conditions that impact upon daily living across the lifespan; for example understanding cognition, behaviour, education and intervention. The Centre encompasses research across numerous developmental disorders such as Autism, Williams Syndrome, Language and Literacy Disorders, Down Syndrome, Dyscalculia, and ADHD, to name a few. Drawing together multi-disciplinary insights allows the researchers to better understand potential intervention strategies and taking a cross-syndrome approach allows consideration of how best to adapt intervention or educational strategies to the needs of the individual. Researchers within the Centre are focused on a range of issues, from theoretical interpretations of cognitive atypicalities to highly impactful work supporting families in their everyday lives.

The Centre brings together academics, researchers, students, clinicians, mental health workers, UK charities (including the Williams Syndrome Foundation and the North East Autism Society) and non-academic partners, and has affiliated international members from a variety of countries across the world, including the US, Japan and Australia. Work within the Centre will pull together multi-disciplinary insights from the fields of Psychology, Education, Neuroscience and Biological Sciences.

Director – Professor Deborah M Riby (Department of Psychology)

Associate Director – Dr Mary Hanley (Department of Psychology)


We use this image to represent key aspects of our work:

  • We take a lifespan perspective to development
  • We consider the 'whole' individual and how the puzzle pieces fit together
  • We appreciate that everyone is different
  • We aim to understand the mechanisms underlying aspects of behaviour and cognition
  • We consider the relationship between performance 'in the lab' and the 'real world'
  • We aim to contribute to both theory and practice
  • We endeavour to listen to as many different voices as possible
  • We are dedicated to disseminating our work to diverse audiences

Contact Details

Department of Psychology
Science Site
South Road