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Elizabeth Newson Centre History

Elizabeth Newson founded the centre in 1994 following a dedicated career working with young people and their families. In Liz’s early career, her and her husband John worked at the University of Nottingham, where they lectured and conducted several pieces of important research on child development. They went on to become joint directors of the Child Development Research Unit at the University in 1958.

In 1967, Elizabeth Newson founded the Early Years Diagnostic Centre at the University of Nottingham which she jointly directed with John Newson. Their assessment work placed an emphasis on engaging young people in natural experiences, such as play, and observing them whilst also conducting detailed interviews with parents, whom they saw as part of the assessment team.

In 1968, Elizabeth helped to set up Autism East Midlands (known as NORSACA at the time), and in 1970 was instrumental in founding Sutherland House school, an educational provision for young people with Autism. Continuing her work at the Early Years Diagnostic Centre and also acting as an advisor for Sutherland House school, Elizabeth began her pioneering work on “Pathological Demand Avoidance”, a term which she coined to describe patterns of behaviour associated with the extreme behavioural avoidance of demands and social expectations. Liz would go on to work with many young people and their families who faced thee challenges.

In 1994, Elizabeth founded the Elizabeth Newson Centre, a centre focusing on diagnostic assessment for young people with social communication difficulties, attached to Sutherland House school in Nottingham. The centre is proud to be continuing Elizabeth’s committed work by offering comprehensive assessments and psychological formulation to help young people and their families make sense of their behavior. 

As theory and understanding of social communication disorders has progressed, we have adapted our assessment procedures to be in line with best practice. We aim to complete a thorough assessment, taking into account all aspects of the individual’s life and background, and offer a comprehensive formulation to help to generate a holistic and informed understanding, along with recommendations and advice.