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Dr Rachel Collum

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Lecturer in Psychology

I joined the University in May 2021 after working in research support (with a specialism in research ethics) and the voluntary neonatal sector for the past several years. I graduated from Newcastle University with my PhD looking at social-cognitive profiles in autism and Williams syndrome in 2014 and worked as an RA at Newcastle and then teaching fellow at Durham University following this.

My research (and personal, as the mum to a baby born 11 weeks early) interests are in promoting and improving Family Integrated Care for families on the neonatal unit, and developing a model of support for the wider family when they transition to home. My particular focus is on babies who come home without additional or complex medical needs and the long-term development of these babies as they enter school.

I work closely with the charity Tiny Lives and also have interests in advocacy for parents and am looking forward to being involved in parent and carer groups at the University.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on the following UG and PG modules:

  • PSY261 Future Selves
  • PSY266 Investigating Complex Issues in Psychology
  • PSY267 Cradle to Grave: Integrated Perspectives on Development
  • PSYM62 Non-Experimental Design and Analysis in Psychology
  • PSYM65 Cradle to Grave: Stability and Change

I am also personal academic tutor for years 2 and 3, and currently have five undergraduate third year project students and am happy to take on postgraduate projects.

Research interests for potential research students

  • Life on the neonatal unit and beyond
  • Wellbeing and mental health in families who have had a NICU stay
  • Developmental trajectories
  • New ways of exploring neurodiversity
  • Cues and salience in neurodiverse populations
  • Complexities of eating disorders and body image


My research focus is on exploring and evidencing effective models of support for families on the neonatal unit with a poorly or pre-term baby and how we can support the wider family to transition to home and beyond.

I also have research interests in the social-cognitive profiles of individuals with developmental disorders and in the value of moving away from deficit models. I am particularly interested in identifying salience in neurodevelopmental groups and how cues can be utilised in everyday functioning.


Jump to: Article
Number of items: 5.


Collum, Rachel (2021) Stuck inside a hall of mirrors: facets of mum guilt on the SCBU. Infant, 17 (6). pp. 257-260. ISSN 1745-1205

Hanley, Mary, Khairat, Mariam, Taylor, Korey, Wilson, Rachel, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel and Riby, Deborah M. (2017) Classroom displays—Attraction or distraction? Evidence of impact on attention and learning from children with and without autism. Developmental Psychology, 53 (7). pp. 1265-1275. ISSN 0012-1649

Pickles, Andrew, Le Couteur, Ann, Leadbitter, Kathy, Salomone, Erica, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Tobin, Hannah, Gammer, Isobel, Lowry, Jessica, Vamvakas, George, Byford, Sarah, Aldred, Catherine, Slonims, Vicky, McConachie, Helen, Howlin, Patricia, Parr, Jeremy R, Charman, Tony and Green, Jonathan (2016) Parent-mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism (PACT): long-term follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 388 (10059). pp. 2501-2509. ISSN 0140-6736

Riby, Deborah M., Hanley, Mary, Kirk, Hannah, Clark, Fiona, Little, Katie, Fleck, Ruth, Janes, Emily, Kelso, Linzi, O’Kane, Fionnuala, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Allday, Marianne Hvistendahl, Hocking, Darren, Cornish, Kim and Rodgers, Jacqui (2013) The Interplay Between Anxiety and Social Functioning in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44 (5). pp. 1220-1229. ISSN 0162-3257

Cowan, Richard, Donlan, Chris, Shepherd, Donna-Lynn, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Saxton, Matthew and Hurry, Jane (2011) Basic calculation proficiency and mathematics achievement in elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103 (4). pp. 786-803. ISSN 0022-0663

This list was generated on Sat Dec 3 05:39:55 2022 GMT.
  • Developmental psychology
  • Standardised assessments in psychology (including ADOS II and ADI-R)
  • Social-cognition and social-perception in autism and Williams syndrome
  • Models of Family Integrated Care in the neonatal sector
  • Mental health and peer support
  • Research ethics
My office hours are Tuesdays 15:00-16:00 and Wednesdays 09:00-11:00. Please email to make an appointment for an online or in person chat or you can catch me on Teams during those times.

Last updated 30 September 2021