Ms Milani Pathmanathan

Research project: ASD Compensation Strategies in Theory of Mind


The factors affecting better outcomes in adulthood are still unclear, much of the current research focuses on children, and there is a sizable gap in the literature for adults with ASC -especially adult Theory of Mind (ToM). ToM refers to being aware of one's mental processes and that of others, and it is theorised that this is an area in which those with ASC may experience deficits. Therefore, investigating the strategies used to infer mental states is believed to help improve interventions in the future. However, current research focused on abstracted and non-natural tasks and gap which my research aims to remedy. The research I will be undertaking as part of my PhD further focuses on real-life Theory of Mind emeasures, which are a more realistic reflection of what individuals encounter day-to-day and mimic factors such as the environment, language, and pace of real-world situations.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: ASD Compensation Strategies in Theory of Mind
  • Research supervisor: Dr Elisa Back


After completing my Master's degree, I worked in Learning Support services with young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); I became increasingly passionate about improving their quality of life. My work as part of a team which supported these individual's further education and independence led me to my current research passion: how do we best support those with ASD once they leave these support services. This has become my main research interest and echoes the concerns of the ASD community and their families. I started at KU as a Research Assistant for the Developing Minds Lab , assisted organisation of Young Scientists days and exhibiting departmental research at the KU Civic Showcase. I am an ardent Support Worker for adults with ASD and learning disabilities and at KU, a Seminar Leader for the Level 5 & 6 Research Methods modules. 

Areas of research interest

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Theory of Mind (ToM)
  • Compensation Strategies
  • Realistic Measures of Social Cognition


  • MSc Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience at City, University of London
  • BSc Psychology (Hons), University of East London

Conference papers

Tapper, K., Seguias, L., & Pathmanathan, M. (2018). The effects of mindful eating on desire and consumption. Appetite, 123, 450.