Dr Becky Stancer

Dr Becky Stancer

Associate Professor, Early Childhood

Plymouth Institute of Education - School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies 

Programme leader for PgCert Education: Autism


BA (Hons) Social Anthropology and Visual Studies
BSc (Hons) Psychology
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
MA Fine Art
PhD Conditional reasoning in autism spectrum disorder: activation and integration of knowledge and belief



Teaching interests

Developmental psychology
Autism and related conditions



Research interests


Family dynamics
Developmental psychology
Systemic practice
Thinking and reasoning

Research groups

Other research

Current research projects

Development of the Welcome Research Hub, an interdisciplinary research centre working with vulnerable children and families. The Welcome Hub includes academics from faculties of Arts and Humanities, Psychology and the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry. External partners also include The Brandon Trust, Plymouth Child Development Centre, Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust and the Peninsula Trials Unit.

Collaboration with The Thrive Project, Glasgow exploring early interactions between infants at risk of developing autism and their carers.

Development of Systemic Autism-related Family Enabling (SAFE) in partnership with the SAFE Family Consultation Group. SAFE is a Family Therapy based intervention for families of children with autism.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Dallos R, Grey B & Stancer R (2022) 'Anger without a voice, anger without a solution: Parent–child triadic processes and the experience of caring for a child with a diagnosis of autism' Human Systems: Therapy, Culture and Attachments 3, (1) 51-71 , DOI Open access
Dallos R, Carder-Gilbert H & McKenzie R (2021) 'Developing bonds: An exploration of the development of bonds between mentors and young people' Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 26, (4) 1214-1226 , DOI Open access
Hudson M, Nicholson T, Kharko A, McKenzie R & Bach P (2021) 'Predictive action perception from explicit intention information in autism' Psychonomic Bulletin and Review , DOI Open access
McKenzie R, Dallos R, Vassallo T, Myhill C, Gude A & Bond N (2021) 'Family Experience of Safe: A New Intervention for Families of Children with a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder' Contemporary Family Therapy 44, (2) 144-155 , DOI Open access
Grey B, Dallos R & Stancer R (2021) 'Feeling ‘like you’re on … a prison ship’ – Understanding the caregiving and attachment narratives of parents of autistic children' Human Systems: Therapy, Culture and Attachments 1, (1) 96-114 , DOI Open access
McKenzie R, Dallos R, Stedmon J, Hancocks H, Vickery PJ, Barton A, Vassallo T, Myhill C, Chynoweth J & Ewings P (2020) 'SAFE, a new therapeutic intervention for families of children with autism: a randomised controlled feasibility trial' BMJ Open 10, (12) e038411-e038411 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Yazici MS & Stancer B (2020) 'Influences, Views and Practices Associated with Life Skills Education for Children with Autism in Two Cities in Turkey and England' International Journal of Disability, Development and Education 69, (6) 2010-2024 , DOI Open access
Vassallo T, Dallos R & Stancer R (2020) 'Parent and Teacher Understandings of the Needs of Autistic Children and the Processes of Communication between the Home and School Contexts' Autism-Open Access 10, (4) 0-0 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Bond N, Dallos R & McKenzie R (2020) 'Doing things differently: Exploring attachment patterns and parental intentions in families where a child has a diagnosis of autism' Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 25, (4) 766-777 , DOI
McKenzie R, Dallos R, Stedmon J, Hancocks H, Vickery PJ, Ewings P, Barton A, Vassallo T & Myhill C (2019) 'SAFE, a new therapeutic intervention for families of children with autism: study protocol for a feasibility randomised controlled trial' BMJ Open 9, (5) e025006-e025006 , DOI Open access
Montaque I, Dallos R & McKenzie R (2017) '“It feels like something difficult is coming back to haunt me”: An exploration of ‘meltdowns’ associated with autistic spectrum disorder from a parental perspective' Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 23, (1) , DOI Open access
Hudson M, Dallos R & McKenzie R (2017) 'Systemic-attachment formulation for families of children with autism' Advances in Autism 3, (3) 142-153 , DOI Open access
McKenzie R & Dallos R (2017) 'Autism and attachment difficulties: overlap of symptoms, implications and innovative solutions' Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry , DOI Open access
Smalley V, Dallos R & McKenzie R (2016) 'Young Women’s Experience of Anorexia, Family Dynamics and Triangulation' Contemporary Family Therapy 39, (1) 31-42 , DOI Open access
Dallos R & McKenzie R (2016) 'I just like Lego' Context Open access
Dallos R, Lakus K, Cahart M-S & McKenzie R (2015) 'Becoming invisible: The effect of triangulation on children's well-being' Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 21, (3) 461-476 , DOI Open access
Bunday L, Dallos R, Morgan K & McKenzie R (2015) 'Foster carers’ reflective understandings of parenting looked after children: an exploratory study' Adoption & Fostering 39, (2) 145-158 , DOI
Roser ME, Aslin RN, McKenzie R, Zahra D & Fiser J (2015) 'Enhanced visual statistical learning in adults with autism' Neuropsychology 29, (2) 163-172 Author Site , DOI Open access
McKenzie R, Evans JST & Handley SJ (2011) 'Autism and performance on the suppression task: Reasoning, context and complexity' THINK REASONING 17, (2) 182-196 , DOI
McKenzie RK (2011) 'A different way to think about creativity: the case of autism and Outsider Art' Open access
McKenzie R, Evans JSBT & Handley SJ (2010) 'Conditional reasoning in autism: activation and integration of knowledge and belief' Dev Psychol 46, (2) 391-403 Author Site , DOI
Parker-Rees ROD; Leeson C (2015) Early Childhood Studies. 4th London Sage/Learning Matters Limited 1Publisher Site
Stancer R & McKenzie R (2023) 'SAFE, a Manualised Version of Attachment Narrative Therapy Designed for Families of Children with an Autism Diagnosis' in Rudi D Attachment Narrative Therapy: Applications and Developments London Palgrave Macmillan Cham 139-160 , DOI
Vassallo T (2023) 'Fostering Home-School Relationships: SAFE with Schools (SwiS)' in Dallos R Attachment Narrative Therapy Applications and Developments Switzerland Palgrave Macmillan 195-228 , DOI
Other Publications
Stancer R & Dallos R (2020) SAFE Manual. University of Plymouth Open access


Conferences organised

2007 Member of the organising committee for the BPS Developmental Section Conference 

2014 Organiser of The one day workshop 'Joining in' 

2015 Organiser of 'Autism and Technology' conference in collaboration with the Plymouth Autism Network and Toyota

2016 Organiser of 'Autism and Alternative Therapies' conference in collaboration with Positively Autistic

2017 Co-organiser of one day workshop for service providers and people with autism in collaboration with Living well with Autism

Other academic activities

Organiser of the Plymouth Autism Network (PAN). 

PAN hosts annual events aimed at bringing academics and non-academics within the community together. PAN has more than 100 core members including teachers, support workers, parents, individuals with autism, health and social care professionals and academics.


Plymouth Autism Network