Kat Farrell

Kat Farrell


I am a qualified teacher and have worked with children whose emotional and behavioural expression signals distress, and also worked in both a mainstream and special school environment.  I’ve been on the North Yorkshire Parent and Carer committee, representing parent carer voice within the Local Authority and progressing SEN issues through coproduction with the Local Authority, including the coproduction of the North Yorkshire Inclusion Conference. I have been Vice Chair of Governors in a Leeds Primary School in Seacroft for many years and am a Youth Leader for St John Ambulance – providing specific support to young people with additional needs who join us. I assist in a support group for socially anxious girls, that is part-funded by the Harrogate branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) and am I currently involved with the local NAS committee.

I provide voluntary support to families in my region going through their diagnostic or special educational needs journey, including representation at tribunal where necessary. I am a member of the Dyspraxia Foundation, the National Autistic Society, Autism Europe, and ACAMH (Association of Child & Adolescent Mental Health).

I am a part-time EdD student and returned to University as a mature student. 

I complete some contract work in SEN, seeking appropriate school placements, identifying school support provision, parental advocacy support, and direct one to one work with children on specified targets. The majority of my training is in autism generally, with specifics in - autism and girls, autism and mental health, autism and eating disorders, PDA profile, autism and sensory with sensory profiling, NADP specialist support for autistic University students, SEN law, and I’m a Makaton sign language user to professional level. I am a qualified Youth Mental Health First Aider and Compass Buzz level 3 trained in early help and intervention for mental health. I am trained in, and a supporter of, the Low Arousal approach to autism – focused on promoting and maintaining low stress environments and positive and supportive emotional regulation.

I am married and we have two school aged children, a son and a daughter, both autistic, who have additional diagnoses of DCD and anxiety. 

Research interests

My EdD research seeks to understand the barriers for autistic pupils in attending mainstream schools and how autistic non-attendance first occurs, whilst considering its similarities or differences to the non-attendance of neurotypical pupils. It also seeks to challenge the neurotypical understanding of neurodivergent experience in school. My wider research interests stem from working in a special school and also from experience with my own children and include autism and mental health, autistic voice – especially of young people and having the ability to identify and direct their own support. I have experience in using physical activity and movement to support good mental health in autism and have a research interest in Physical Education and physical activity in autism, and extra-curricular community sports and other community-based group memberships and the benefits for autistic young people. I also have an interest in how autistic girls are supported with managing and living with anxiety.

Research groups

ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre

CRAE (Centre for Research in Autism and Education)

PARC (Participatory Autism Research Collective)


  • MBA
  • BEd (hons)
  • PG Dip SEN