Lamya Alfadhel


I gained my BA degree in Special Education, specifically in the field of ‘behavioural disorders and autism’ from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During this time, I trained to work with children with autism in special institutions and schools and I started to build my interest in this field. As part of this, in collaboration with colleagues I published a booklet about autism characteristics to raise awareness about autism in the country and volunteered to work with children with autism during summer programmes and activities. After that, I started my career as a teaching assistant at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University and this provided me with an opportunity to work with undergraduate students in lectures and in the field (special and mainstream schools). I supervised students and linked what was learned at university with what they practiced in autism education. 

I started my postgraduate journey by studying an MA at the University of Nottingham. While I worked on my MA dissertation “Saudi teachers’ challenges in teaching students with Autism”, I discovered that the beliefs of people close to individuals with autism play an important role in the development of services to support them. I also recognised that the field of autism needs more development, specifically that studies related to the teachers and parents practices and their understanding and believe of individuals with Autism. This motivated me to focus on teacher and parent experiences and attributions towards children with autism.  

Research interests

My PhD thesis focuses on how parents and teachers perceive behaviours that could be seen as challenging in children with autism. I am investigating how teachers of these children understanding and experience ‘challenging behaviours’ and how this could influence their educational practice in primary school settings. Families - playing a vital role in the successful education of children with autism - are also involved to share their experience of their children’s behaviours. I am using mixed methods to develop a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon.

There is a summary of my research interests:

  • Perceptions and attitudes of teachers and parents.
  • Children with Autism.
  • Challenging Behaviours.
  • Inclusive practice.
  • Special education teachers.
  • Supporting parents of children with Autism.


  • MA Special Needs
  • BA Special Education, Behavioural Disorders and Autism

Research groups and institutes

  • ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre