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Dr Laura Pecora

Psychological Science

Biography

Laura is a lecturer in the Discipline of Psychological Sciences, and begun her teaching role at ACAP in 2021. She received her PhD at Deakin University in Melbourne, titled ‘The Sexuality of Autistic Females’. This research explored the sexual development of autistic females, and the experiences that are unique to many females as they come to arrive at their sexual identities and facilitate the sexual and romantic lives that best meets their needs. Prior to joining ACAP, Laura held research and teaching roles at Deakin University, where she specialised in the areas of developmental psychology, and individual/social development.

Research

Laura’s research interests are in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This includes an interest in how features of autism impact the social, romantic and sexual functioning of autistic individuals (particularly females), across the lifespan. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Autism and Sexuality/Sexual Diversity
  • Autism and Gender/Gender Identity
  • Sex differences in Autism
  • Autistic Females: Social, Sexual and Romantic (relationship) Functioning

Teaching / coordination responsibilities

Please include specific courses and/or unit responsibilities

PSYC3122: Abnormal Psychology and Intervention – Unit Coordinator and Lecturer

PSYC5332: Abnormal Psychology and Intervention Advanced – Unit Coordinator and Lecturer

Awards 

2020: ‘Gold letter’ for Meeting SETU Award Criteria, Faculty of Health Sciences, Deakin College

2018:  The Ψ Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Sessional Staff Member, Deakin University            

Research and scholarship (include grants and publications)

Publications

  1. Stokes, M.A., Pecora, L.A., Dewinter, J., Van der Miesen, A.I.R., Greaves-Lord, K., & Hooley, M. (2021). Gay, Lesbian and Gender Nonconforming Individuals with Autism. In J.L. Matson & P Sturmey (Eds.). Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. New York, USA: Springer Publishing.
  2. Pecora, L.A., Hancock, G.I., Hooley, M., Demmer, D.H., Attwood, T., Mesibov, G.B., & Stokes, M.A. (2020). Gender identity, sexual orientation, and adverse sexual experiences in autistic females. Molecular Autism, 11(57), 2-16. doi:10.1186/s13229-020-00363-0
  3. Pecora, L.A., Hooley, M., Sperry, L., Mesibov, G.B., & Stokes, M.A. (2020). Sexuality and Gender Issues in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 29(3), 543-556. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2020.02.007
  4. Sala, G., Pecora, L.A., Hooley, M., & Stokes, M.A. (2020). “As diverse as the spectrum itself”: Trends in sexuality, gender and autism. Current Developmental Disorders Reports. doi: 10.1007/s40474-020-00190-1
  5. Pecora, L.A., Hancock, G. I., Mesibov, G.B., & Stokes, M.A. (2019). Characterising the Sexuality and Sexual Experiences of Autistic Females. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(12):4834-4846.doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04204-9
  6. Pecora, L.A., Mesibov, G. B., & Stokes, M.A. (2016). Sexuality in High-Functioning Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(11), 3519-3556.doi: 10.1007/s10803-016-2892-4
  7. Stokes, M.A., Thomson, M., Macmillan, C., Pecora, L.A., Dymond, S., & Donaldson, E. (2016). Principals’ and Teachers’ reports of successful teaching strategies with children with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 32 (3-4). 192-208doi:10.1177/0829573516672969

Grants N/A 

Conference Presentations

  1. Stokes, M.A., Hancock, G., & Pecora, L. (2018). Dating Experience and Subjective Wellbeing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. International Society for Autism Research. De Doelen, ICC Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  2. Pecora, L., Hancock, G., Mezibov, G., & Stokes, M.A. (2017). Sexuality in Autism: The Female Profile. International Meeting for Autism Research. San Francisco, California, USA.
  3. Pecora, L., Mesibov, G.B., & Stokes, M.A. (2016). Sexuality in High-Functioning Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Australian Society for Autism Research. University of Western Australia, Perth.
  4. Pecora, L., Mesibov, G.B., & Stokes, M.A. (2016). Sexuality in High-Functioning Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Australian Society for Autism Research. University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.
  5. Macmillan, C., Pecora, L., Dymond, S., Donaldson, E., Thomson, M., & Stokes, M. (2016). A meta-analysis of educational interventions in children with ASD. XI Autism-Europe International Congress. Edinburgh, Scotland.