Posted by Admin March 1st 2019

Today Jo gave a talk at the Centre of Educational Neuroscience. You can find a short video about her talk here:




Posted by Admin, November 26, 2018


So pleased to be part of the Royal Society's pairing scheme and learn more about policy making and evidence this week at Westminster.


Posted by Admin, November 13 , 2018


Great to see so many teachers and professionals for our workshop on "Autism in the classroom"


Posted by admin, September 13, 2018

Today I am presenting our work on "Parental views on special educational needs provision for neurodevelopmental disorders" at the Special Interest Group (SIG15) for the European Association for Learning and Instruction (EARLI) at the beautiful University of Postdam.


Posted by Admin July, 24, 2018


Our latest CDLD newsletter can be found here! In this newsletter you can find out more about the outcomes of our research and how to get involved as well as some practical tips.


Posted by admin, July 10th 2018

Our latest publication from the RASE study can now be downloaded for free (for 50 days only)

Parental views on special educational needs provision: cross-syndrome comparisons in Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorders




June 11th 2018, posted by admin

My latest published research is freely available online:

A cross-sectional and longitudinal study of novel metaphor and metonymy comprehension in children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, by  Jo Van Herwegen, Gabriella Rundblad, published in Frontiers in Psychology, section Cognitive Science.

To view the online publication, please click here:


Williams Syndrome Foundation Convention May 2018

I presented  2018 our recent and current research about Williams Syndrome and processes and implementation




Posted by Admin April 3rd, 2018

Outcomes from our 'Improving Preschoolers' Number Foundations' study

This study has now been completed and you can read the full report about our findings here!




Posted by Admin March 31st 2018

Improving number abilities in low achieving preschoolers: Symbolic versus non-symbolic training programs

Our latest publication on symbolic and non-symbolic interventions in preschoolers is now freely available for 50 days! Just use link below





Posted by Admin, February 21 2018,


CDLD's very first Open Lecture!


Very exited about our first open lecture with prof David Messer from the Open University who will be talking about children and new technologies!



Posted by Admin, January 10th 2018


Our final Webinar will take place on Wednesday 17th of Janaury 2018 at 7.30-9 pm

Negotiating the SEND code of practice: evidence from Williams syndrome, Down  syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders


In this webinar we will discuss out latest findings from the RASE study:

  • Do children with WS, DS, and ASD, attend mainstream or specilist schools?
  • What type of specialist provision do they receive?
  • How do parents eprceive the EHCP process and what are the difficulties?
  • How can we coproduce EHCPs?

To register go to





Posted by Admin January 1st 2018





Posted by Admin December 4th 2017

Research impact: Royal Society and Parliament


Dr Jo Van Herwegen spent a day at Parliament learning about how research can make an impact on policy and legislation.



New webinar coming soon: registration open now


Wednesday 29th of November 2017: 7.30-9pm Online webinar: 

Navigating through the new special educational needs framework: implications for children with Williams Syndrome. 
This webinar will provide an introduction to the changes that occurred by the latest special educational needs framework including the development of the Education, Health and Care Plans. These issues will be discussed in relation to the implications that they have for supporting children with Williams Syndrome in schools. The webinar will take 1 hour followed by a question-and-answer session. This is a free event. To register go to:




Posted by Admin July, 19th 2017

Webinar: Learning in Williams syndrome and the classroom. 

Last night we presented our first webinar on Learning in Williams syndrome and the classroom. We received some excellent questions and feedback and had people tune in from all over the world including Australia, Europe and Tanzania! The next webinar will focus on education, health, and care plan and will take place in the autumn 2017 so stay tuned!



Posted by Admin June 30th 2017

We organised the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar 2017 (NDAS17) at Kingston University in June 2017. Our team presented the latest findings of our studies: including mathematical development in Williams syndrome and Down syndrome (Erica Ranzato), Stress in parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (including Williams syndrome) by Maria Ashworth, Emotion recognition in ASD using eye tracking (Hayley Hunt), and Dr Petri Partanen presented a poster on factors that predict being at risk for mathematical development in preschoolers. We surely have been busy!

Below is a photo of Maria presenting our hot-of-the-press data on stress in parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. We hope to post a summary of our findings soon.



Posted by Admin May, 20th 2017


Williams syndrome awareness weekend

I wasn’t able to run or bake cakes this year for the Williams Syndrome (WS) awareness week. However, I would like to spread the word about WS and want to especially highlight the parents of children with WS.

WS is a rare disorder that is caused by a micro deletion on the long arm of chromosome 7. This causes general learning difficulties, specific sensory difficulties and, especially, a number of medical issues. People with WS are very friendly and I feel very privileged to work with them. Every person with WS I have known and worked with over the past 15 years has made me smile, or amazed me in some way. However, today I want to say how amazed I am by the parents who look after a child with WS.  WS parents are often faced with a child with complex and severe medical, educational, and behavioural needs and issues. However, very few professionals really know about WS which means that parents often have to fight the system and need to become their own expert, whilst often sleep deprived (many children with WS do not sleep well even when older). This is why it is so important, for parents as well as people with WS themselves, that more people and professionals are aware of Williams syndrome. So share your heart during the Williams syndrome awareness weekend.




Posted by Admin March 15 2017

Very proud of my students presenting their data on a new haptic task to assess mathematical abilities in preschoolers at the Kingston University Undergraduate Conference.




Posted by Admin February 20 2017

This week I am presenting the latest results from our training study on number foundations in preschoolers (funded by the Nuffield Foundation) at "The origins of numerical abilities" conference at the Royal Society in London.


Posted by Admin November 11 2016

MATHAUTISM is our latest project lead by Erica Ranzato.She is trying to make a real change to the lives of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 

Erica would like your help by completing a short questionnaire - only 5 questions! Please click on the following link:

This questionnaire will help her to shape her research and she would like the questionnaire to be completed by as many people as possible, independently of your experience or knowledge about ASD.

If you would like to know more about Erica's project please see flyer here or click here.



Posted by Admin September, 2 2016

Very excited to start our new project with Dr Olympia Palikara, University of Roehampton: 

RASE WS: Raising awareness and meeting the needs of children and young people with Williams Syndrome under the new SEND Code of Practice in the UK

This project is funded by the Williams Syndrome Foundation




Posted by Admin, June 28 2016

Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar 2016

Last week some members of my research team and myself attended the NDAS 2016 at UCL, London. Beth and Hiwet presented a poster on children at risk for mathematical learning difficulties (see photo below). This research is part of a large project that examines number foundations in preschoolers and is funded by the Nuffield Foundation. I gave a talk on numberline abilities in people with Williams syndrome (WS). This data is part of the study that exmaines number abilities in WS and Down syndrome and is funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme small research grant. Luckily there is no photo of me giving a talk but we did get a photo with some colleagues from Kingston University.


Hiwet and Beth presenting the poste (shying away from the camera)


Some of the research team with colleagues from Kingston University

(Apologies for poor photo quality: poor blackberry camera)



Posted by Admin June, 16 2016

Our new book 'Pracitical Research with Children' is out now!



Posted by Admin April, 14 2016

Any parents who are looking for free activities for their kids during next half-term?

We at Kingston Psychology are organising our very first 'Young Scientist Days'. During these days children can come to the university and learn about science and what psychologist do. It is free and there are lots of other fun activities to keep children entertained. Find more info here: 


Posted by Admin February, 26 2016

During the second week of January 2016 Rui Pedro Coelho, a Portuguese Master student from the School of Psychology from the University of Minho visited the lab. During this time Rui conducted a study on the mechanisms underlying cognate visual word recognition. Specifically, the study aimed to test humans’ brain capability to encode letters’ positions. For that purpose, two groups were tested: a group of European Portuguese-English bilinguals (experimental group) from University of Minho and a group of English monolinguals (control group) from Kingston University. Results will be analyzed and interpreted according to the postulates of the Bilingual Interactive Activation Plus Model (Dijkstra & van Heuven, 2002).



Posted by Admin September, 21 2015

Very exciting about our new project funded by the British Academy:

The influence of domain-general abilities on domain-specific development in neurodevelopmental disorders: Evidence from eye tracking



Posted by Admin, September 06 2015


NEW PhD Opportunity

I am looking for a new PhD student with an interest in number development in ASD. If you are interested please get in touch.



Posted by Admin August, 08 2015

Our latest research:

Van Herwegen, J., Smith, T., & Annaz, D. (in press). Looking behaviour in children with Williams syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders during Theory of Mind tasks. Research in Developmental Disabilities.


Posted by Admin July 2nd, 2015

On Monday 22nd of June 2015 Conor gave a talk about reading abilities in Williams syndrome at the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Seminar Series 2015 in Oxford.




Posted by Admin June 19th, 2015

My latest journal article: 

Williams syndrome and its cognitive profile: the importance of eye movements.




Posted by admin May 15th 2015

Today is the first Williams Syndrome Awareness day!

All WS people tend to be talkative and excessively friendly (particularly towards
adults) – hence the #SayHello awareness campaign on May 15th


If you would like to help, please donate via 


Posted by Admin September, 05 2014

NEW BOOK: Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Research challenges and solutions. Edited by Jo Van Herwegen and Deborah Riby. Routledge.

For more information and orders, please visit:


Posted by Admin April, 1 2014

Launch of Child Development and Learning Difficulties unit

On 27/03/2014 we launched the new Child Development and Learning Difficulties unit.

This unit focuses on cognitive, behavioural, and emotional development in both typical and atypical   population across a wide age range, including infants, children and adolescents.

In addition to carrying out internationally excellent  research, CDLD also translate the latest findings into effective and practical assessments and interventions. This enables us to provide information, advice and support to parents, carers, and professionals. We also publish our work in peer reviewed scientific journals and present our work at national and international conferences.

CDLD Activities

We organise a range of activities, including:

1. A range of daily workshops for professionals, parents, carers and academics

2. Research Day for children: during the summer holidays we organise a day where children can come to the university to take part in research, get to know the university and have fun.

3. Assistance for children with special needs: our team of academic experts can provide advice and help for parents and professionals about statements, therapies, educational progress etc.

 more information:

Posted by Admin March, 10 2014


Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 5th of April until 16th of June 2014 we will be carrying out live research at the Science Museum in London. 
Come and say hello or even take part! 

Live Science, Who am I? gallery
First floor, Wellcome Wing

More info and updates:

Posted by Admin January, 28 2014

My latest research: Production of emotion in Williams syndrome

In this study we compared emotion production during narratives in individuals with Williams syndrome to typically developing controls and we found that, although those with WS produced a similar amount of emotion words to controls, they produced more emotion words about sadness.


Posted by Admin November, 08 2013

My latest research: Theory of Mind abilities in Williams syndrome

In this study we compared performance on verbal and low-verbal tasks theory of mind (ToM) tasks and we found that performance on ToM tasks in WS is not necessarily hindered by their delayed language abilities but rather by the task administered.



Posted by Admin November, 06 2013

PLUS games improve maths abilities in preschoolers

The results are currently written up for publication but our research has already been picked up by the media and stakeholders:



Posted by Admin September, 1 2013

Visit our poster at the CogDev2013 conference on Wednesday 4/09/2013: Landmark knowledge and route-learning strategies in Williams sydnrome: Evidence from eye-tracking.

We've only just started to analyse our data so it's hot of the press!



Posted by Admin June, 18 2013

The World’s Funniest Joke Project: Participants needed!


In our new project we explore what makes children with and without developmental disorders laugh!

Of course, this is both fun and interesting, but we think it is also important for understanding the development of good social and communication skills. For this part of our project, we want you to tell us your son/daughter’s favourite joke. In addition, we will ask you 4 short questions about your child. This survey will take only 5 minutes of your time.

Please follow the link:



Posted by Admin June, 10 2013


On Saturday 8th of June 2013 we organised an information session about the PLUS preschool number learning scheme. During this event Dr Uller and I explained the research we have been carrying out in local preschool setting across the Royal Borough Kingston and how parents can play the PLUS games at home with their children. Don't worry if you have missed this event, we will be providing an online training resource on this website that you can download by the end of July 2013.


Posted by Admin April, 23 2013


From June 24th to June 28th 2013, my students and I will be collecting data at the Rose theatre, Kingston as part of Kingston Connections. For further details, please see: Feel free to pop in and participate in this fun, short project!


Posted by Admin April, 03 2013

Neurodevelopmental seminar series

The final seminar in the neurodevelopmental disorder seminar series will go ahead on Wednesday 20/03/2013. For more information please see Hope to see you all in Newcastle!