Over the last year I have been working on a project that examines transitions from primary to secondary school in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (TRANSCEND). More recently I have also been working on a project to qualitatively analyse the Education Health and Care plans of children with Down syndrome and Williams syndrome (RASE project). In May, 2019, I will start another part-time role at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at the Institute of Education to develop a research passport tool.

I graduated from the University of Kent with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (2.1) in 2015 and an MSc in Social and Applied Psychology (distinction) in November, 2016. Shortly after graduating I started working with Dr Jo Van Herwegen on a project about raising awareness in special education for Williams syndrome (RASE). I have also undertaken numerous volunteering posts related to mental health and individuals with special educational needs during University and alongside my part time role on the RASE project at a bereavement charity, Holding on Letting Go, Mind in Camden and a placement in Sri Lanka with SLV Global.

 I am also currently applying for funding to start a PhD that will address bullying at school in children with Williams syndrome and Down syndrome and the impact on mental health and educational outcomes.



  • Ashworth, M., Van Herwegen, J., & Palikara, O. (2019). Comparing parental stress of children with neurodevelopmental disorders: The case of Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities.DOI:10.1111/jar.12594
  • Palikara, O., Ashworth, M., & Van Herwegen, J. (2018). Addressing the educational needs of children with Williams syndrome: a rather neglected area of research? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-4.
  • Van Herwegen, J., Ashworth, M., Palikara, O. (2018). Parental views on special educational needs provision: cross-syndrome comparisons in Williams syndrome, Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 80, 102-111.




  • Ashworth, M., Van Herwegen, J., & Palikara., O. (July, 2018). Special Educational Needs provision in England for children with Down’s syndrome, Williams syndrome and Autism spectrum disorders. Paper presented at The World Down Syndrome Congress, Glasgow, UK.
  • Ashworth, M., Van Herwegen (September, 2017). Capturing the voices of children and young people with complex needs in the Education, Health, and Care plans: the case of Down syndrome. Paper presented at The Down Syndrome Research Forum, Hertfordshire, UK.
  • Ashworth, M., Van Herwegen, J., & Palikara., O. (September, 2017). Stress and Coping in Parents of children with Williams syndrome: a cross-syndrome comparison. Paper presented at The British Psychological Society Developmental Section, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.
  • Ashworth, M., Van Herwegen, J., & Palikara., O. (June, 2017). Stress and Coping in Parents of Williams Syndrome Children. Paper presented at The Annual Neurodevelopmental Seminar, Kingston University, London, UK.


Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/maria-ashworth-a16977129