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Dr Jessica Hayton
25 Woburn Square
Dr Jessica Hayton profile picture
  • Lecturer in Psychology
  • IOE - Psychology & Human Development
  • UCL Institute of Education

I have a BA(Hons) in Psychology and Philosophy from Heythrop College, University of London, a MSc in Psychology of Education from the Institute of Education and a PhD in Psychology and Habilitation from UCL Institute of Education. I have previously worked in mainstream primary school settings as a teaching assistant, supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities, and also as a dance teacher. Whilst studying I became fascinated as to how the environment can influence our behaviour. My first project under the supervision of Dr Felix de Beaumont, examined the effects of media on women's self-esteem. Attending the Institute of Education shifted my interest into the world of vision impairment, where under the supervision of Dr Karl Wall, and later, Dr Dagmara Dimitriou I completed my MSc dissertation and PhD thesis on developing interventions to support independent living skills (specifically dressing) in children with vision impairment and children with Down Syndrome. 


During my PhD I began lecturing on the Graduate Diploma in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People). I then completed a post-doctoral research project examining sleep and anxiety in adolescents with Williams syndrome. I became Programme Leader of the Graduate Diploma in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People) in 2017, training students in achieving Qualified Habilitation Assistant or Qualified Habilitation Specialist status. I also teach on the Atypical Development module at Masters Level and Cognitive Psychology at BSc level. I currently supervise Masters dissertation students and students on the Doctorate in Educational Psychology. 

In 2018 I was awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant to conduct an examination of sleep in children with vision impairment. The project is now complete.

Research Summary

My current research interests are varied, but they centre around special educational needs and disability and maximising independence:

- Designing and evaluating interventions to support habilitation (orientation, mobility and independent living skills)

- Child development and the impact of sensory impairment (notably vision impairment)

- Assistive technology use to maximise independent living in children and young people with vision impairment

- Exploring accessibility of public settings in supporting inclusion of people with vision impairment

- The relationship between vision and movement

- Developing support strategies and documents to support parents/care givers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities 

Teaching Summary

 I am passionate about delivering current, research-based lectures exploring the multi-faceted nature of habilitation, vision impairment and psychology. It is a pleasure working with such dedicated and diverse students across the courses on which I teach. I was awarded Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2021, and draw upon various different teaching strategies to support content and challenge thinking. 

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