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Biography

Dr Rosa Hoekstra is a Senior Lecturer at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. After finishing her PhD in Behaviour Genetics at the VU University in Amsterdam, she continued her research through a postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre. Since 2009 she combines her autism research with teaching in the field of Psychology, first at The Open University (2009-2015) and now at King's College London (2015-present).

Her research interests broadly cover two themes:

  1. Furthering the understanding of the heterogeneity of autism, by developing and validating quantitative instruments to assess the variable expression of the autism phenotype and its cognitive characteristics, and exploring the underlying mechanisms underpinning this heterogeneity, including genetic, socio-cultural, sex/gender and environmental explanations.
  2. Global perspectives on autism with a specific focus on Africa. RH is PI on three projects involving children with developmental disorders in Ethiopia: i) the ASTA research project exploring social and cultural factors on autism in Ethiopia; ii) the HEAT+ project, evaluating the effectiveness of mental health training on increasing autism awareness and general mental health awareness among rural community health workers in Ethiopia; iii) a comprehensive pilot of WHO’s Caregiver Skills Training (CST) programme for caregivers of children with developmental disorders, testing the feasibility and acceptability of implementing the CST programme in urban and rural Ethiopia.

 

Research Interests:

  • Global perspectives on autism and other developmental disorders 
  • Heterogeneity of autism 
  • Gender and cultural influences on autism 

Teaching:

  • Psychology & Development (BSc Psychology year 1) 
  • The Origins of Individual Differences (BSc Psychology year 2) 
  • Research project supervisor (BSc Psychology year 3) 
  • Study Abroad Tutor  

Expertise and Public Engagement:

As expert commentator for the Science Media Centre Rosa regularly provides comments on autism news stories in the popular media. Since 2015 Rosa works with the World Health Organization to provide input on their Caregiver Skills Training (CST) programme for caregivers of children with developmental disorders. She has contributed both to the core CST intervention materials as well as to the outcome measures used to evaluate the programme.