School of Media, Communication and Sociology


We welcome new members. If you would like to join our group please email us. We are also happy to advertise research projects, conferences, books or other activities if they relate to CA/DA and autism. If you have something for the newsfeed, please drop us an email. If you have a new related publication, then we would like to add it to your membership profile.

Dr Michelle O'Reilly

Michelle O'reileyDirector CARA

Michelle O’Reilly is a Senior Lecturer of Psychology at the University of Leicester, working for the Greenwood Institute of Child Health. Her joint activities between the university and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust focus on qualitative research in child mental health. The focus of her research has been on family therapy interactions and child mental health assessments. Michelle uses discourse analysis and conversation analysis to look at the social construction of mental health and to explore in detail the interactions between health professionals, parents and children. Her current project is a collection of approximately 42 hours of psychiatric data with 28 families attending their first appointment at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Within this data there are nine cases where autism is discussed and this is being explored in detail.
Learn more about Dr Michelle O'Reilly

Publications related to autism

  • Karim, K., Cook, L., and O’Reilly, M. (2012). Diagnosing Autistic Spectrum Disorder in the age of austerity. Child: Care, Health and Development, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01410.x
  • O’Reilly, M., Cook, L., and Karim, K. (2012). Complementary or controversial care? The opinions of professionals on complementary and alternative interventions for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17 (4), 602-615.
  • Karim, K., Ali, A., and O’Reilly, M. (In press). A Practical Guide to Mental Health Problems in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: “It’s not just their autism!. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Child mental health publications

  • Antaki, C., and O’Reilly, M. (2014). Either/or questions in psychiatric assessments: the effect of the seriousness and order of the alternatives, Discourse Studies, 16 (3)?
  • Parker, N., and O’Reilly, M. (2013). Reflections from behind the screen: avoiding therapeutic rupture when utilising reflecting teams. The Family Journal: Counseling for Couples and Families, 21 (2), 170-179.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2013). “We’re here to get you sorted”: parental perceptions of the purpose, progression and outcomes in family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy  doi: 10.1111/1467-6427.12004
  • O’Reilly, M. and Parker, N. (2013). ‘You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’: Exploring children’s engagement and resistance in family therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy, 35 (3), 491-507
  • O’Reilly, M., Vostanis, P., Taylor, H., Day, C., Street, C., and Wolpert, M. (2012). Service user perspectives of multi-agency working: A qualitative study with parents and children with educational and mental health difficulties. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, X, XXX doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2012.00674.x
  • Parker, N. and O’Reilly, M. (2012). ‘Gossiping’ as a social action in family therapy: The pseudo-absence and pseudo-presence of children. Discourse Studies, 14 (4) 1-19.
  • O’Reilly, M. and Parker, N. (2012) “She needs a smack in the gob”: negotiating what is appropriate talk in front of children in family therapy. Journal of Family Therapy doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2012.00595.x
  • Vostanis, P. O’Reilly, M. Taylor, H., Day, C., Street, C., Wolpert, M., and Edwards, R. (2012). What can education teach child mental health services? Practitioners’ perceptions of training and joint working. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 17 (2), 109-124.
  • O’Reilly, M., Dogra, N. Williams, R., Edwards, R., and Vostanis, P. (2010). Turning policy into practice: an evaluation for and delivery of education and training for the staff of specialist child and adolescent mental health services in England. Evidence and Policy, 6 (4), 505-525
  • Hutchby, I. and O’Reilly, M. (2010). Children’s participation and the familial moral order in family therapy. Discourse Studies, 12 (1), 49-64.
  • Yadav, V., O’Reilly, M. and Karim, K. (2010). Secondary school transition: does mentoring help ‘at risk’ children? Community Practitioner, 83 (4), 24-28.
  • O’Reilly, M., Taylor, H., and Vostanis, P. (2009). “Nuts, schiz, psycho”: an exploration of young homeless people’s perceptions and dilemmas of defining mental health. Social Science and Medicine, 68, 1737 - 1744
  • O’Reilly, M. (2008). ‘What value is there in children’s talk?’ Investigating family therapist’s interruptions of parents and children during the therapeutic process. Journal of Pragmatics. 40: 507-524.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2008). “I didn’t violent punch him”: Parental accounts of punishing children with mental health problems. Journal of Family Therapy. 30: 272-295.
  • Edwards, R., Williams, R., Dogra, N., O’Reilly, M., and Vostanis, P. (2008). Facilitating and limiting factors of training available to staff of Specialist CAMHS. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 3 (3), 22-31.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2007). Who’s a naughty boy then? Accountability, family therapy and the ‘naughty’ child. The Family Journal: Counseling and therapy for couples and families. 15 (3): 234-243.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2006). Should children be seen and not heard? An examination of how children’s interruptions are treated in family therapy. Discourse Studies. 8 (4): 549-566.
  • Johnson, R., O’Reilly, M., and Vostanis, P. (2006). Caring for children with learning disability who present problem behaviours: a maternal perspective. Journal of Child Health Care 10 (3): 188-198.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2005). The complaining client and the troubled therapist: A discursive investigation of family therapy.  Journal of Family Therapy 27: 371-393.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2005). Active Noising: The use of noises in talk, the case of onomatopoeia, abstract sounds and the functions they serve in therapy. TEXT 25 (6): 745-761.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2005). “What seems to be the problem?” A myriad of terms for mental health and behavioural concerns. Disability Studies Quarterly. 25 (4) (online journal article)
  • Anderson, L., Vostanis, P., and O’Reilly, M. (2005). "Three-year follow-up of a family support service cohort of children with behavioural problems and their parents" Child Care, Health & Development. 31 (4): 469-477.

Relevant conference talks

  • O’Reilly, M., Karim, K., and Parker, N. (2013). “So when you ↓said that you were going to take a knife to yourself (0.99). Yeah (1.15) what were you ↓hoping would happen?”: an exploration of ‘you said’ questions in clinical encounters. Paper presented at ‘CA and Psychotherapy’ July conference. York: University of York.
  • O’Reilly, M., Parker, N., Stafford, V., and Karim, K. (2012). “I think the University is doing some project”: The challenge of convincing the NHS of the value of CA. Paper presented at ‘Discourse, communication, conversation: An anniversary conference’ March Conference. Loughborough: Loughborough University.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2007). Constructing children’s half-membership through question-answer sequences in family therapy. Paper presented at ‘Conversation Analysis of Questions and Answers: December conference’, Loughborough University.
  • O’Reilly, M. and Taylor, H. (2006). ‘T’ be ‘onest wiv ya: Explorations of orientations to honesty in the face of authority figures. Paper presented at ‘International Conference on Conversation Analysis: May conference: Helsinki University.
  • Anderson, L., Vostanis, P. and O’Reilly, M. (2005). ‘Three Year Follow-Up of a Family Support Service Cohort of Children with Behavioural Problems and their Parents: Parental perspectives.’ Poster presented at Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residential Meeting’: The Royal College of Psychiatrists. September Conference: Harrogate International Centre.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2005). ‘What Seems to be the Problem? Locating the Child as the Problem in Family Therapy’. Paper presented at ‘The Research Fair’ : June Fair in conjunction with Leicestershire NHS Trust.
  • Anderson, L., Vostanis, P., and O’Reilly, M. (2005). "Three-year follow-up of a family support service cohort of children with behavioural problems and their parents" Poster presented at ‘The Royal College of Psychiatrists Annual Meeting’. June Conference: Edinburgh International Centre.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2003). The Complaining Client and the Troubled Therapist. Paper presented at ‘The Research Fair’: December fair in conjunction with Leicestershire NHS Trust.
  • O’Reilly, M. (2001). ‘Accidental Violence’: Constructing Disability and Responsibility in Family Therapy. Paper presented at ‘language and therapeutic interaction: International Conference in Discourse Analysis and Conversation Analysis.’ August Conference: Brunel University.

Dr Jessica Lester

Jessica LesterAssociate Director CARA

Jessica Nina Lester is an Assistant Professor of Inquiry Methodology at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in the US. Much of her research focuses on how social interactions shape individual and collective experiences in schools, clinics, and communities. Within this line of inquiry, Dr Lester uses a form of discourse analysis that draws upon conversation analysis and discursive psychology, analysing both textual and conversational data. Over the last four years, she has collected over 300 hours of paediatric therapy data with therapists and children with autism labels. Her current analysis is focused upon:

  • the varied constructions of disabilities;
  • the ways in which “problematic” behaviours are dealt with in and through the therapeutic talk;
  • the management of unexpected communicative patterns of children with autism labels; and
  • the reframing of the nonverbal communication of children with autism labels as linguistically productive.

Publications related to autism

  • Lester, J. N., and Paulus, T. M. (in press). “I’m not sure I even know”: Therapists’ tentative constructions of autism. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal.
  • Lester, J. N. and Paulus, T. M. (2014). “That teacher takes everything badly”: Discursively reframing non-normative behaviors in therapy sessions. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(5), 641-666.
  • Lester, J. N. and Paulus, T. M. (2013). “That teacher takes everything badly”: Discursively reframing non-normative behaviors in therapy sessions. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 1-25.
  • Lester, J. N., and Barouch, A. (2013). Inviting the assent of children described as functionally nonverbal. In I. Paoletti, A. Duarte, I. Tomas, & F. Menéndez, Ethics in social science research. Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Lester, J. N. (2012). A discourse analysis of parents’ talk around their children’s autism labels. Disability Studies Quarterly. 32(4), Art. 1.
  • Lester, J. N. and Paulus, T. M. (2012). Performative acts of autism. Discourse & Society, 12(3), 259 - 273.
  • Lester, J. N. (2012). Researching the discursive function of silence: A reconsideration of the normative communication patterns in the talk of children with autism labels. In G. S. Cannella and S. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Critical qualitative research reader (pp. 329-340). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
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