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Jonathan Delafield-Butt


Reader in Child Development and Director, Laboratory for Innovation in Autism


Research interests

Jonathan Delafield-Butt is a Reader in Child Development and Director of the Laboratory for Innovation in Autism at the University of Strathclyde. He and his multidisciplinary team work between Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Child Psychology, Psychiatry and Education for the development of wearable and smart game technologies for children with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. His research advances knowledge of the embodied and affective foundations of child psychological development, with special attention to a subtle but significant motor disruption evident in autism spectrum disorder. His group is currently focused on a large, multi-site diagnostic trial of an iPad assessment at the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre and in Scotland. With colleagues at the GNC, he and his team seek to advance characterisation of the motor signature in ESSENCE conditions through bespoke wearable and smart technologies, for both theoretical gains in understand the aetiology and pathogenesis of autism and ESSENCE conditions, and practical gains in its early identification.



Delafield-Butt completed his Ph.D. in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, advanced to Developmental Psychology at Edinburgh and Copenhagen Universities, and held scholarships at Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh for philosophical scholarship into the mind-body problem. He trained pre-clinically in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Scottish Institute for Human Relations and is a member of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and the International Society for Autism Research. His work is funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, Carnegie Trust, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Capita, Scottish Government, generous philanthropic investment and by an EU H2020 SMEI award.



movement, embodiment, infant and child development, motor intentionality, agency, wearables and smart tech, machine learning and artificial intelligence, aetiology of ESSENCE


Grants and funding

2019-2023; -- ; Delafield-Butt, Rowe, Andonovic, Tachtatzis; Mr Duncan Hawthorne, UK £196,000

2019-2020; -- ; Delafield-Butt, Hua; Scottish Neurological Research Fund, UK £7,066

2018-2019; -- ; Phemister, Wheeler, Delafield-Butt; Royal Society of Edinburgh, UK £9,000

2017-2019; 756079; Delafield-Butt, Gillberg, Minnis, Wilson, Thompson, Rowe, McConnachie; EU H2020 SMEI €734,000.

2016-2019; -- ; Delafield-Butt, Rowe, Andonovic, Tachtatzis; EPSRC, UK £50,000



Tim McGowen, ESRC 3+1 PhD Studentship. Neonatal motor assessment 2018-2023

Yu Wei Chua, Capital PhD Studentship, Wearable motor assessment of autism. 2018-2022

Gordon Miles (EdD), Lego Therapy for Children with Autism. 2018-2020.

Omar Alawajee, Saudi Excellence PhD Scholarship. Smart Games for Social Learning in Autism. 2015-2019

Adam Mitchell, Capita PhD Studentship. Smart Games for Autism Motor Assessment. 2015-2019



Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology, University of Edinburgh (1998–2003)

M.Sc. Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh (1997–1998)

B.Sc. (Hons) Medicinal Chemistry, University of Leeds (1994–1996)

Pre-clinical Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Scottish Institute for Human Relations (2004–2009)


Professional awards and achievements

Strathclyde Medal for Best Team, Laboratory for Innovation in Autism (2018)

AERA Outstanding Reviewer Award (2017)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2015)

Danmarks Nationalbank, International Artists’ & Scholars’ Facilitation (2009)

Letter of the Month, Prospect Magazine, On the Rights of Babies (2009)

Foundation Award, University of Edinburgh (2003)

Best Business Award, Prince’s Trust, for the development of a community centre (2002)

Situated Perception and Cognition, University of Portsmouth, member

Perception Movement Action Research Consortium, University of Edinburgh, member

Brain and Behavior Research Group, Waseda University Tokyo, member



Director, Laboratory for Innovation in Autism, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (2018-present)

Reader in Child Development, University of Strathclyde (2016-present)

JSPS Visiting Fellow, Kyoto University (2016)

Senior Lecturer in Child Development, University of Strathclyde (2015- 2016)

JSPS Invitation Fellow, Waseda University, Tokyo (2013)

Lecturer in Child Development, University of Strathclyde (2012-2015)

RSE Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh (2011)

Docent, p/t, Speech & Language Pathology, Leibniz University of Hanover (2011)

FKK Research Fellow in Developmental Psychology, University of Copenhagen (2009-2011)

Research Fellow in Perception Movement Action, University of Edinburgh (2006-2009)

Carnegie Visiting Research Scientist, Harvard Medical School (2005)

Research Fellow in Perception Movement Action, University of Edinburgh (2003-2005)






I am eligible to teach Masters and PhD studies
I am looking for potential Masters or PhD students


Connect with me

E-mail: jonathan.delafield-butt@strath.ac.uk

Lab website: https://www.strath.ac.uk/research/innovationinautism/

Lab twitter: @strathautismlab

Personal twitter: @delafieldbutt

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jonathan_Delafield-Butt


Credit: Richard Campbell (Photographer)/ Blink Imaging Ltd



Bosco, P., Giuliano, A., Delafield-Butt, J., Muratori, F., Calderoni, S., & Retico, A. (2018). Brainstem enlargement in preschool children with autism: Results from an intermethod agreement study of segmentation algorithms. Human Brain Mapping, (Epub ahead of print).

Delafield-Butt, J. T., Freer, Y., Perkins, J., Skullina, D., Schögler, B., & Lee, D. N. (2018). Prospective organization of neonatal arm movements: A motor foundation of embodied agency, disrupted in premature birth. Developmental Science, 21, e:12693.

Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2018). The Emotional and Embodied Nature of Human Understanding: Sharing narratives of meaning. in C., Trevarthen, J., Delafield-Butt and A-W., Dunlop (eds.), The Child’s Curriculum: Working with the natural voices of children. Oxford: Oxford University Press. in press

Trevarthen, T., Delafield-Butt, J.T., & Dunlop, A.-W. C. (eds.). (2018). The Child’s Curriculum. Oxford: Oxford University Press. in press

Trevarthen, C., Dunlop, A.-W., & Delafield-Butt, J. (2018). The Spirit of the Child Inspires Learning in the Community: How can we balance this promise with the politics and practise of education? In C., Trevarthen, J., Delafield-Butt, & A.-., Dunlop (eds.), The Child's Curriculum: Working with the natural voices of young children. Oxford: Oxford University Press. in press

Trevarthen, C., Dunlop, A.-W., & Delafield-Butt, J. (2018). Defining the Child's Curriculum, and Its Role in the Life of the Community. In C., Trevarthen, J. Delafield-Butt, & A.-W. Dunlop (eds.), The child's curriculum: Working with the natural voices of young children. Oxford: Oxford University Press. in press


Delafield-Butt, J.T. & Trevarthen, C. (2017). On the Brainstem Origin of Autism: Disruption to Movements of the Primary Self. In E., Torres & C., Whyatt (eds.), The Movement-Sensory Perspective in Autism. London: Springer.

Trevarthen, C. & Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2017). The Development of Consciousness. In B., Hopkins, E., Geangu & S., Linkenauger (eds.), Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Adie, J. & Delafield-Butt, J. (2016). Companionship in the Early Years: Social and emotional development in nurture groups. The Psychology of Education Review. 40, 2.

Anzulewicz, A., Sobota, K., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2016). Toward the Autism Motor Signature: Gesture patterns during smart tablet gameplay identify children with autism. Scientific Reports, 6, 31107.

Delafield-Butt, J.T. & Adie, J. (2016). The Embodied Narrative Nature of Learning: Nurture in school. Mind, Brain, & Education 10, 117-134.

Gunn, K. C. M., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2016). Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Restricted Interests. Review of Educational Research, 86, 408-430.

Trevarthen, C. & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2016). Intersubjectivity in the Imagination
and Feelings of the Infant: Implications for Education in the Early Years. In J. White and C. Dalli (eds.), Early Years Policy and Pedagogy. London: Springer.


Delafield-Butt, J.T., & Trevarthen, C. (2015). The Ontogenesis of Narrative: From moving to meaning. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1157.

Negayama, K., Delafield-Butt, J. T., Momose, K., Ishijima, K., Kawahara, N., Lux, E., … Kaliarntas, L. (2015). Embodied Intersubjective Engagement in Mother-infant Tactile Communication: A cross-cultural study of Japanese and Scottish mother-infant behaviours during infant pick-up. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 66.

Trevarthen, C., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2015). The Infant’s Creative Vitality, In Projects of Self-Discovery and Shared Meaning: How They Anticipate School, and Make It Fruitful. In S., Robson & S.F., Quinn (eds.), International Handbook of Young Children’s Thinking and Understanding (pp. 3-18). Abingdon, Oxfordshire & New York: Routledge.


Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2014). Process and Action: Whitehead's ontological units and perceptuomotor control units. In S., Koutroufinis (ed.), Life and Process. Frankfurt, Paris, Lancaster: Ontos Verlag.

Packard, A., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2014). Feelings as Agents of Selection: putting Charles Darwin back into (extended neo-) Darwinism. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 112, 332-353.


Delafield-Butt, J. T., & Gangopadhyay, N. (2013). Sensorimotor Intentionality: The origins of intentionality in prospective agent action. Developmental Review, 33, 399-425.

Delafield-Butt, J. T., & Trevarthen, C. (2013). Theories of the Development of Human Communication. In P., Cobley & P., Schultz (eds.), Handbook of Communication Science. Berlin: Gruyter Mouton.

Taffoni, F., Tamilia, E., Palminteri, M., Schena, E., Formica, D., Delafield-Butt, J., et al. (2013). Ecological Sucking Monitoring of Newborns. Sensors Journal, IEEE, PP(99), 1-1.

Trevarthen, C., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2013). Autism as a Developmental Disorder in Intentional Movement and Affective Engagement. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7, 49.

Trevarthen, C., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2013). Biology of Shared Meaning and Language Development: Regulating the Life of Narratives. In M., Legerstee, D., Haley & M., Bornstein (eds.), The Developing Infant Mind: Integrating Biology and Experience (pp. 167-199). New York: Guildford Press.


Delafield-Butt, J.T., Pepping, G.-J., McCaig, C., & Lee, D.N. (2012). Prospective Guidance in a Free-swimming Cell. Biological Cybernetics, 106, 283-293.


Trevarthen, C, Delafield-Butt, J.T., & Schögler, B. (2011). The Psychobiology of Human Gesture: Inate rhythm, Harmony and Melody in Movements of Narration. In A., Gritten & E., King (eds.), New Perspectives on Music and Gesture. London: Routledge.


Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2010). Stereotypical movements. La Clinica Terapeutica 161, 487-488.

Delafield-Butt, J.T., Galler, A., Schögler, B., & Lee, D. N. (2010). A Perception-Action Strategy for Hummingbirds. Perception 39, 1172-1174.

Væver, M., Harder, S., Køppe, S., Hansen, G. J., Kvist, K., & Delafield-Butt, J. (2010). Vocal and motor co-regulation in early mother-infant interaction. Psyke og Logos, 31, 736-766.


Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2009). Containment and Reciprocity in Biological Systems: A putative psychophysical organising principle. In Dibben & Newton (Eds.) Applied Process Thought II. Frankfurt, Paris, Lancaster: Ontos Verlag.


Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2008). Biology. In M., Weber, J., Seibt, & N., Rescher (eds.), Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought. Frankfurt, Paris, Lancaster: Ontos Verlag.


Delafield-Butt, J.T. (2007). Towards a process ontology of organism: explaining behaviour in a cell. In T., Kelly, & M. Dibben (eds.), Applied Process Thought: Frontiers of Theory & Research, Frankfurt, Paris, Lancaster: Ontos Verlag

Delafield-Butt, J. T. & Schögler, B. (2007). The Ubiquitous Nature of Tau. In G-J., Pepping & M.A., Grealy (eds.), Closing the Gap: The scientific writings of David N. Lee. London and New Jersey: Erlbaum.


Trevarthen, C., Aitken, K., Nagy, E., Delafield-Butt, J., and Vandekerckhove, M. (2006). Collaborative Regulations of Vitality in Early Childhood: Stress in Intimate Relationships and Postnatal Psychopathology. In D., Cicchetti & D.J. Cohen (eds.), Developmental Psychopathology, New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.


Zaki, P.A., Martynoga, B., Delafield-Butt, J.T., and Price, D.J. (2005). Loss of Gli3 enhances viability of embryonic telencephalic cells in vitro. European Journal of Neuroscience, 22, 1547-1551.


Davis, A. J., Delafield-Butt, J. T., Walker, J. H., Moss, S. E., & Gawler, D. J. (1996). The Ca2+-dependent lipid binding domain of P120GAP mediates protein-protein interactions with Ca2+-dependent membrane-binding proteins. Evidence for a direct interaction between annexin VI and P120GAP. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 271, 24333-24336.


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