School of Psychology

Staff Profiles

Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott

Lecturer (Research & Academic Tutor)


Dr Gullon-Scott (nee Scott) holds a doctorate in psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London (1996) focussing on Reasoning and Imagination in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Following her PhD she held a lectureship at the University of Greenwich in the department of psychology, then moved to spend 7 years at the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre working with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. After her departure from there in 2005, Dr Gullon-Scott retained Honorary Visiting Academic status with the ARC through til 2012, and subsequently an Honorary Senior Lectureship with the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, a post which she still holds, and within which she provides teaching and academic supervision to undergraduate and postgraduate students on the Autism Studies courses. Her current role with Newcastle University as Research & Academic Tutor on the DCLinPsy course sits alongside this. Dr Gullon-Scott has also had several years collaborating with Prof Terry Brugha and his team at the University of Leicester exploring epidemiology of adults with autism spectrum disorders.

As well as her academic interests, Dr Gullon-Scott works as a consultant psychologist in the field of autism spectrum disorders across the lifespan. She has an Independent clinical practice specialising in ASD assessment and professional training, and has undertaken locum and consultancy work with the NHS relating to ASD services and assessment, and ASD training. Alongside her post within the DClin PSy programme, Dr Gullon-Scott provides sessional work as an Honorary Clinical Psychologist with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, working in the paediatric neurodevelopmental disorders service.

As an International Trainer for ADOS, ADOS-2 and ADI-R Dr Gullon-Scott has travelled all around the World as well as widely throughout the UK, delivering training and providing consultancy to various groups, including the Singapore Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, Sendai Health Service and the University in Japan, and autism services in Malta, Portugal, Hungary, and Finland to name but a few.

Dr Gullon-Scott is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with the BPS, a Clinical Psychologist registered with the HCPC, a Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine, and a member of the Society of Expert Witnesses.

Research interests include screening, identification and understanding of women and girls with ASD; exploration of cognitive processes in autism; epidemiology and screening of autism spectrum and asperger syndrome in child and adult populations; cognitive and neuropsychological processes in ASD, and forensic risk and presentation in ASD. During her academic career she has published many articles and book chapters, developed a DVD on asperger syndrome, designed and validated a screening tool for autism spectrum in mainstream children, been involved with the All Party Parliamentary Group for autism, the National Initiative for Assessment and Screening in Autism, a Department of Health report on Asperger Syndrome, many television, radio and newspaper articles on autism spectrum conditions, and has reviewed and refereed for many journals.

Area of expertise

  • Autism
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders

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In the early part of my career my research interests were largely around the cognitive psychology of autism. This included exploration of reasoning skills and of imagination in autism, and research into local versus global visual processing preferences in autism. We still know little about imagination in autism, it is poorly defined, and this remains an area that would benefit from further exploration. Currently my interest in cognitive areas is being re-explored with research looking into predictive coding in autism.

After my PhD I then developed a research interest in screening, identification and epidemiology in autism, first in children then in adults. Whilst at the University of Cambridge I designed and validated a screening tool specifically to look for autism spectrum disorder in more able children in mainstream settings, who were still only aged 4-11 years, as part of a drive to improve identification of the Asperger Syndrome end of the spectrum at an earlier age. This tool, the CAST, is now widely used as an screen in many ASD services and CAMHS services across the UK, and has also been translated and used in Spain and more recently in China. The focus on epidemiology continued through collaboration with Prof Terry Brugha at the University of Leicester looking at prevalence of ASD in adults, both in the community and in residential placements.

In addition to the cognitive research into predictive coding outlined above, my current research interests focus on female presentation of ASD and on improving identification. I am co-supervising a PhD student at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, who is working on piloting a new screening tool - the FAAST (Female Adult Autism Spectrum Tool) - which we are developing to help adult MH services and GPs more quickly identify adolescent and adult women who may be presenting with an ASD. I am also co-supervising a Masters student conducting qualitative research interviewing women with ASD diagnoses about their experiences, strengths and difficulties. There is a lack of established or validated instruments that might be useful for assessment and diagnosis with women, we miss many cases, and our understanding of female presentations is less established than the typical 'male' profile.

A third developing area of research interest is looking into forensic presentations and overlaps in autism, both in males and females, and am involved in collaborative research with colleagues from the forensic psychology masters team here at Newcastle. 


 Within the DClin Psy programme I am the Course Lead for Neuropsychology and Child and Adolescent elements of the programme, joint lead on the Older Adults course, lead on the self-directed learning sessions, and co-facilitate the Research Methodology teaching. In addition I deliver some undergraduate teaching around psychopathology, as well as supervisory roles to undergraduate and masters students from the wider Psychology school, and supervisor to some of our doctoral trainees for their Large Scale Research Projects.

I also hold a concurrent Honorary Senior Lecturer position with the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, where I am involved in developing and delivering materials for the undergraduate and postgraduate Autism courses, teaching seminar groups within those courses, co-supervising PhD and masters students, and have recently developed a new online MOOC on autism on the Futurelearn platform.


  • Brugha T, Bankart J, McManus S, Gullon-Scott F. CDC autism rate: misplaced reliance on passive sampling?. The Lancet 2018, 392(10149), 732-733.
  • Gale E, Bradshaw J, Gullon-Scott F, Langdon P. Female experiences and behavioural presentations of Autism Spectrum Conditions: A Systematic Review. In: Fifth International IASSIDD Europe Congress. 2018, Athens: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Gullon-Scott FJ, Bass C. Munchausen by proxy: under-recognition of autism in women investigated for fabricated or induced illness. Good Autism Practice 2018, 19(2), 6-11.
  • Brugha T, Spiers N, Bankhart J, Cooper SA, McManus S, Scott FJ, Smith J, Tyrer F. Epidemiology of autism in adults across age groups and ability levels. British Journal of Psychiatry 2016, 209(6), 498-503.
  • Brugha T, Tyrer F, Scott FJ, Bankhart J, Cooper SA, McManus S. The Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adulthood. In: Volkmar, F, Reichow, B, McPartland, J (Eds.), ed. Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Yale, New Haven, CT, USA: Springer, 2014, pp.299-314.
  • Brugha T, McManus S, Bankart J, Jenkins R, Smith J, Scott F. The Proportion of True Cases of Autism is not Changing. BMJ 2014, 348, 3774-3774.
  • Scott FJ. The Development of Imagination in Children with Autism. In: Taylor, M, ed. Development of Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Brugha TS, McManus S, Smith J, Scott FJ, Meltzer H, Purdon S, Berney T, Tantam D, Robinson J, Radley J, Bankart J. Validating two survey methods for identifying cases of autism spectrum disorder among adults in the community. Psychological Medicine 2012, 42(3), 647-656.
  • Brugha T, McManus S, Bankhart J, Scott FJ, Purdon S, Baron-Cohen S, Smith J, Meltzer H. The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder in adults in the community in England. Archives of General Psychiatry 2011, 68, 459-466.
  • Baron-Cohen S, Scott FJ, Allison C, Williams J, Bolton P, Matthews FE, Brayne C. Estimating autism spectrum prevalence in the population: A school-based study from the UK. British Journal of Psychiatry 2009, 194, 500-509.
  • Williams JG, Allison C, Scott FJ, Bolton P, Baron-Cohen S, Matthews FE, Brayne C. The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST): Sex Differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2008, 38, 1731-1739.
  • Allison C, Williams JG, Scott FJ, Stott C, Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Brayne C. The Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST): Test-retest reliability in a high scoring sample. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice 2007, 11, 173-185.
  • Baron-Cohen S, Scott FJ, Humphrey A, Allison C. Asperger Syndrome: A Different Mind. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.
  • Baron-Cohen S, Scott FJ, Wheelwright S, Johnson M, Bisarya D, Desai A, Ahluwalia J. Can Asperger Syndrome be diagnosed at 26 months old? A genetic high-risk single case-study. Journal of Child Neurology 2006, 21, 351-356.
  • Williams JG, Allison C, Scott FJ, Stott C, Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Brayne C. The Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST): Test-retest reliability. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice 2006, 10, 415-427.
  • Scott FJ. No Looking Back. In: Ariel, C; Naseef, R, ed. Voices From the Spectrum. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005.
  • Williams JG, Scott FJ, Stott C, Allison C, Bolton P, Baron-Cohen S, Brayne C. The Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test: Test accuracy. Autism: Interntional Journal of Research and Practice 2005, 9, 47-58.
  • Brosnan M, Scott FJ, Fox S, Pye J. Gestalt processing in autism: Failure to process perceptual relationships and the implication for understanding context. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2004, 45, 454-469.
  • Scott FJ. Review of Frith's 'Autism: Explaining the Enigma'. Psychological Medicine 2004, 34, 1140.
  • Scott FJ. Review of Gillberg's 'Guide to Asperger Syndrome'. Psychological Medicine 2003, 33.
  • Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Brayne C. Brief Report: Prevalence of autism spectrum conditions in children aged 5-11 years in Cambridgeshire, UK. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice 2002, 6, 231-237.
  • Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Brayne C. The CAST (Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test): Preliminary development of a UK screen from mainstream primary school-age children. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice 2002, 6, 9-31.
  • Craig JS, Baron-Cohen S, Scott FJ. Drawing ability in autism: A window into the imagination. Israel Journal of Psychiatry 2001, 38, 242-253.
  • Scott FJ. Review of Hale's 'My World is not Your World'. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice 2000, 4, 212-213.
  • Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S, Leslie A. If Pigs Could Fly: A test of counterfactual reasoning and pretence in children with autism. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 1999, 17, 349-362.
  • Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S. Imagining Real and Unreal Things :Evidence of a dissociation in autism. Cognitive Neuroscience 1996, 8, 371-382.
  • Scott FJ, Baron-Cohen S. Logical, analogical and psychological reasoning in autism: A test of the Cosmides Theory. Development and Psychopathology 1996, 8, 235-245.