Honorary Psychology Assistant
Aishling Dempsey is a postgraduate student studying Clinical Health Psychology (MSc) at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Aishling graduated with a First Class Honours in BSc Psychology from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Here, Aishling developed a keen interest in qualitative research, disability studies and research surrounding disabled identities in particular. For her final year project, Aishling identified and explored an under-researched area within autism studies entitled: Exploring Identity and Self-Identifying Language among Autistic Adults.
Aishling has been committed to expanding and growing her skill set through work as a carer supporting both adults and children with disabilities both at home and out in the community. For two summers, Aishling worked with the Centre for Disabilities in New York in planning, implementing and conducting a wide range of activities for children and adults with varying, complex medical and communication needs. Aishling spent a year working with Lothian Autistic Society in Edinburgh as Deputy Leader of a social club for autistic teenage girls. Here, Aishling used her knowledge of positive autistic identities to create activities and sessions to support the girls in improving their self-esteem, friendship development and mental wellbeing. Throughout her time as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities, Aishling worked on support needs assessments and developed and implemented care plans for service users based on their needs.
Presently, Aishling is dedicated to developing her knowledge of psychological concepts and practice whilst earning her Masters in Clinical Health Psychology. Aishling is currently being trained by Professor Paul Flowers, one of the minds behind Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a renowned qualitative research method. Her current research will use IPA to investigate the diagnosis experiences of autistic women, a population which are underrepresented in the literature. In addition to this, Aishling has been appointed as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist with Inclusion Psychologists Ltd where she is assisting in the researching and writing of projects surrounding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role, Aishling is excited to be working on developing a training toolkit and manual for Continuing Professional Development in the area of diversity and inclusion for professionals working with children. For this, Aishling is adapting ‘The Six Stages Framework’, a psychological assessment tool aimed at improving understandings of diversity and inclusion to enhance understandings of neurodiversity and autism. With this, Aishling hopes to assist professionals in increasing their awareness of autistic rights, neurodiversity and the recognition of autism in girls.