I graduated 2013 with a First Class Honours Degree in Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She completed her third year dissertation project with Prof. Chris Oliver at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, investigating social anxiety and social motivation behaviours in Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. This led to a PhD also at the Cerebra Centre, investigating the developmental trajectory of social behaviours and sociocognitive skills, such as theory of mind, across rare genetic syndromes, specifically Cornelia de Lange, Fragile X syndrome and Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome.
I now oversee a Baily Thomas funded project with Dr Jo Moss, characterising social behaviours and socio-cognitive profiles in autistic children and children with Fragile X syndrome and Cornelia de Lange syndrome.
Prior to joining this project, my first postdoctoral position was at Aston University and the Aston Brain Centre as part of the PROBIt project. The aim of the project was to create a model including risk and resilience factors that can predict individual long-term neurobehavioural outcomes in children with early brain insults, by combining computational modelling, neuroimaging and clinical neuropsychology.
My research aims to understand social and emotional difficulties experienced by individuals with genetic syndromes associated with intellectual disability and autism. To date, my research has focused on how differences in social cognition, as well as sensory processing, may underpin differences in social and emotional functioning observed in these groups. I hope to develop sensitive diagnostic tools and targeted interventions based on detailed descriptions of causal mechanisms between genetic abnormality, to neurobiological and cognitive phenotypes, and behaviour within each syndrome.
Ellis, K., Lewington, P., Powis, L., Oliver, C., Waite, J., Heald, M., Apperly, I., Sandhu, P., & Crawford, H. (2020). Scaling of early social cognitive skills in typically developing infants and children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04449-9
Ellis, K., Oliver, C., Stefanidou, C., Apperly, I., & Moss, J. (2020). An observational study of social interaction skills and behaviors in Cornelia de Lange, fragile X and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04440-4
Oliver, C., Royston, R., Crawford, H., Moss, J., Waite, J., Arron, K., Burbidge, C., Ellis, K., Nelson, L., Ross, E., Russell, H., & Welham, A. (2019). Informant assessments of behaviour and affect for people with intellectual disability. University of Birmingham
King, D., Ellis, K. R., Seri, S., Wood, A. G. (2019). A systematic review of cross-sectional differences and longitudinal changes to the morphometry of the brain following paediatric traumatic brain injury. Neuroimage clinical, 23, doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101844
Background Individuals with genetic syndromes show unique profiles of repetitive behaviours and restricted interests (RRBs). The executive dysfunction account of RRBs suggests that in autistic (AUT) individuals executive function impairments underpin RRBs, but not communication and social interaction autistic characteristics. Aims To 1) describe profiles of behavioural manifestations of executive function (EF behaviours) and 2) explore the relationship between EF behaviours and autistic traits across individuals with Cornelia de Lange (CdLS), fragile X (FXS) and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes (RTS), and AUT individuals. Method Carers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Preschool Version and the Social Communication Questionnaire. Data reporting on 25 individuals with CdLS (Mage = 18.60, SD = 8.94), 25 with FXS (Mage = 18.48, SD = 8.80), 25 with RTS (Mage = 18.60, SD = 8.65) and 25 AUT individuals (Mage = 18.52, SD = 8.65) matched on chronological age and adaptive ability were included in analyses. Results All groups showed impairments across EF behaviours compared to two-to-three-year-old typically developing normative samples with no differences between groups. Different EF behaviours predicted RRBs in the syndrome groups with no associations found in the AUT group. Conclusions Syndrome related differences should be considered when developing targeted interventions that focus on EF behaviours and/or RRBs in these groups.