Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Professor Ann Le Couteur

Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry



Ann Le Couteur is the Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Newcastle University and has more than 25 years experience in assessment, diagnosis, management and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other complex mental health disorders in children, young people, adults and families/carers.  She is an Honorary Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust where she leads the North East Regional Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorders Service and lead Lifespan ASD and Transition services within Newcastle Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Her clinical and research work has focused on understanding the aetiology, assessment, diagnosis, management and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other complex mental health disorders (such as Early Onset Bipolar Disorder) in children, young people, adults and their families/carers. She co-leads the Newcastle University Autism Research Team within the Lifecourse, Development and Ageing Group, Institute of Health & Society, co-ordinating programmes of work studying the genetics of ASD and the broader autism phenotype; the development of assessment and outcome measures across the lifespan; evaluation of interventions for children and families; and the promotion of evidence based models of best practice for ASD services including transition to adult services.  She leads clinical and research training courses in use of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) both in UK and further afield. 

Professor Le Couteur is one of the authors of Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)(1996,2003), an internationally recognised trainer for the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and led the British Twin Study of Autism (1995,1996). She chaired the work for The National Autism Plan for Children (2003) in the UK; is a member of two ASD NICE guideline development groups (2011; 2013), and was an external advisor to the Department of Health Adult Autism Strategy/Statutory Guidance (2009,2010). She sits on the scientific/medical advisory board of several UK research charities for individuals  young people with complex needs (including Autism Spectrum Disorders).



BSc. (Hons) Psychology London University          1974

MBBS (London)                                                 1977

MRC Psych.                                                       1982

FRC Psych.                                                        1997

FRCPCH                                                            1998

GMC Number 2406055

Approved Clinician under Mental Health Act, 2011 – 2016


Previous Positions

1987 – 1990 Lecturer in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Honorary Consultant in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, The Maudsley Hospital, London.

1993 – 2002 Honorary Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, London.

1990-1995 Consultant in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Enfield Community Care NHS Trust & Honorary Senior Lecturer, Royal Free Hospital Medical School & Tavistock Clinic, London.

1995 - Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Newcastle University. Visiting Professor of Child &Adolescent Psychiatry, Durham University. Honorary Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust.



Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health.
Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
British Medical Association.
Child Psychiatry Research Society.
Young Minds.



Research Interests

Research interests include the study of ASD and other complex mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan. The ASD research team has a number of related on-going programmes of work including: autism genetics; the investigation of repetitive behaviours in normally developing children and individuals with ASD; possible cognitive underpinning of co-morbid disorders particularly anxiety; the development and evaluation of both diagnostic assessment procedures and robust outcome measures ( including identifying appropriate modifications for individuals with hearing impairment) and the identification of evidence based models for effective service provision  for young people with ASD and other complex healthcare needs as they transition to adult services . The research team also undertake evaluation studies of interventions for children, young people with ASD and their families, and the management of co-morbid mental health disorders.


Postgraduate Supervision

Three PhD (one awarded 2012 and one 2015) and two MD students (one awarded2015). Prof Le Couteur supervises students on the Clinical Doctorate course in Clinical Psychology and senior trainees on the Northern Regional Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training Scheme.


Esteem Indicators 

  • Member of the MRC College of Experts (2006 - 2009).
  • Member of DfES Autism Research Co-ordination Group (2006 - 2009).
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Research Autism (2006 -).
  • External advisor and expert peer reviewer for the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN): ASD guideline and the New Zealand ASD Guideline (2006 - 2009).
  • Independent Autism Specialist for North East Autism Consortium (2008).
  • Member of DH External Reference Group for the Adult Autism Strategy (2008 - 2010).
  • Member of Research Advisory Group, UK Brain Bank for Autism & Related Developmental Research (2008 -).
  • Member of Medical Advisory Group, Contact a Family (2008 -).
  • Chair, Child & Adolescent Family Public Education Board (CAFPEB), Royal College of Psychiatrists (2009 -).
  • Member of External Reference Group, Young People's Mental Health Transition Project, National Mental Health Development Unit. (2010 - 2011).
  • Member of National Advisory Board, Transition to Adult Services & Adulthood for Young People with ASC, Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) York University (2010-2012).
  • Member of ASD Strategy Group and Trust lead for Transition, NTW NHS FT (2010 -).
  • Member of Scientific Review Panel Member, Autistica (2010 -).
  • Member of NICE GDG on Autism Spectrum Disorders in children and young people, recognition, referral and diagnosis (CG 128) (2009 - 2011).
  • External Advisor to the National Autistic Society Child and Adolescent Mental Health Research Project (2009 - 2011).
  • Member of NICE GDG on Management and support of children and young people with autism and their families from birth to 19 years (2011 - 2013).
  • Chair of the Science Committee for European Autism Action (2010 - 2011).
  • National Clinical lead for Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialist Services Commissioning Group (2012 -).
  • Academic Secretary for Faculty of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists (2012 -).
  • Member of Evidence Update Advisory Group (NICE) (2012-2013).
  • Member of Quality Standards Advisory Committee for Autism (NICE) (2013).
  • External Specialist for Programme Review - MSc Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Kings College London (2013).
  • Associate Editor for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (2014 -).


  • EME PACT G (3 site, led from Manchester) (co-applicant Newcastle PI) MRC (2016 -

  • ASD Lifecourse and Ageing: Diagnostic Services for adults with ASD (co-applicant) March 2015-2017). Autistica £164,395

  • Clinical Research Network (CRN) Division 4 Consultant Application - NIHR - North East and North Cumbria (2015-2016) - 2 PAs

  • ASD Lifecourse and Ageing: Learning about the lives of adults with ASD, and their relatives (co-applicant) 2014-2017. Autistica £199,976

  • RfPB - A feasibility study of a Randomised Controlled Trial of a Family Focussed Treatment (FFT-A UK NHS adaption) in the management of Early Onset (aged under 18 years) Bipolar Disorder (EOBD). (Co-applicant) NIHR (January 2014-January 2017) £247,424.

  • Pre-school Autism Communication Trial (PACT 7-11) Study. Newcastle PI: MRC (lead: Prof Jonathan Green, Unviersity of Manchester) 2013-2015 £672,637.
  • Diagnostic Instruments for Autism in Deaf Children Study (DIADS). Co-applicant: MRC (lead: Dr Barry Wright, York University) 2013-2016 £472,678.
  • Feasibility Study of new parent group intervention to manage repetitive behaviour in young children with ASD (MRB). Co-applicant: RfPB (lead: Dr Vicki Grahame) 2012-2015 £232,800.
  • How can health services contribute most effectively to facilitating successful transition of young people with complex health needs from childhood to adulthood? Co-applicant: NIHR Programme Grant. (lead: Allan Colver) 2012-2017 £1999,697.
  • India Database for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Co-applicant: Autistica. (lead Jeremy Parr) 2012-2014 £88,174.
  • MeASURe: Measurement in autism spectrum disorder under review. Co-applicant: NIHR HTA. (lead Helen McConachie) 2012-2013 £259,946.
  • Fifteen to twenty five years. Co-applicant: NHS North-East-SHA. (lead: Dorothy Newbury-Birch) 2010-2013 £58,481.
  • ASD Transition (PI): Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, NHS Trust. 2010-2011 £28,669.
  • How can health services contribute most effectively to facilitating successful transition of young people with complex health needs from childhood to adulthood? Co-applicant: NIHR Development Grant. 2009-2011 £96,315.
  • Effective therapy for anxiety in young people with autism spectrum disorder. Co-applicant: NIHR, RfPB. 2009-2011 £228,857.
  • Social Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Experimental Findings and Methodological Techniques. Co-applicant: ESRC. 2009-2011 £84,178.
  • Parents and professionals attitudes to dietary interventions in ASD (PADIA). (PI): Autism Speaks. 2008-2010 $109,658.
  • The Development of Repetitive Behaviours in Young Children. Co-applicant: ESRC. 2007. £46,402.
  • International Molecular Genetic Study of Autism Consortium (IMGSAC). Co-applicant. 2006-2010 40,025 Euros.
  • Test Foods Development Study. (PI): Research Autism. 2006-2009 £45,000.
  • The Pre-school Autism Communication Trial (PACT). Co-applicant: MRC, DfES. 2005-2009 £1,204,538 (NHS costs £517,704).
  • The development of algorithms for Autism and ASD. (PI): The Health Foundation. 2003-2007 £96,216.
  • Establishment of a Registry of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Northeast England. Co-applicant: Northern Rock Foundation. 2002-2009 £176,461.


Undergraduate Teaching

Professor Le Couteur oversees the Medical student curriculum teaching in Child & Adolescent Mental Health within Child Health stage 3 & 4/5 Teaching Modules and supervises 3-6 option student placements on diagnosis and management of Autism Spectrum Disorders and severe mental health conditions in children and young people within the Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorder Service.


Postgraduate Supervision

She is academic lead for the Northern Regional Senior Training Scheme in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.