Dr Iris Rathwell

MD, MRCPsych

Dr Rathwell currently works with the national and specialist service for complex autism and neuro developmental disorders. Her expertise is in autism with special clinical and academic interests in associated conditions with it such as epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems and psychopharmacological treatment of additional psychiatric disorders.

Dr Rathwell obtained her primary qualification in medicine (MD) at Tirana University, in Albania in 1990. She commenced her general psychiatry training at Tirana University Hospital and as part of it she pursued postgraduate research studies focussing on developmental psychopathology at the University of Ghent, Belgium having won a Research Fellowship funded by TEMPUS (Trans-European Mobility Programme for University Studies). In 1994, Dr Rathwell won another scholarship from the School of Eastern European and African Studies (United Kingdom) to complete a Master Degree in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. Her master research was on repetitive and stereotyped behaviours in autism. It is during this time that she developed her academic interest in autism and started research collaboration in this field with academic groups of the Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley Hospital now part of the Kings Health Partners.

Dr Rathwell joined the Maudsley Hospital post-graduate psychiatric training in 1997 and completed all her training in general psychiatry and later the higher specialist training in child and adolescent psychiatry with the Maudsley. She obtained membership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2000 and higher specialist certification and registration as a child and adolescent psychiatrist in 2004.

Dr Rathwell has been a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist since 2004 having worked for most of her consultant career with the Maudsley Hospital, save for two years with Oxleas mental health services in London (2006-2008). In the last ten years, Dr Rathwell has accumulated a wealth of expertise in many areas of mental health in children and adolescents with a particular focus on autism and related disorders, including neuropsychiatric and other neuro developmental disorders.

Dr Rathwell has provided clinical leadership to a number of mental health teams at the Maudsley Hospital in the last 10 years, focussing on specialist mental health teams for autism and learning disability since 2008. She was clinical lead for one of the district mental heath services of the Maudsley for a number of years.

Dr Rathwell has accumulated expertise in specialist assessments of complex autism particularly when this is associated with additional neuropsychiatric or other mental disorders. She has also developed expertise in pharmacological management of psychiatric disorders and/or problem behaviours when they occur in the presence of autism, ADHD or other neuro developmental disorder. She administers gold-standard diagnostic tools in her specialist assessments of children and families.

Since June 2013, Dr Rathwell has been a consultant psychiatrist with a national and specialist service for complex autism and neuro developmental disorders (SCAAND) at the Maudsley Hospital where she works with internationally distinguished clinical academics in the area of autism, learning disability and neuropsychiatric disorders. Together with Professor Simonoff, she leads a team that focuses on specialist assessments and management of challenging behaviours and complex presentations of autism, ADHD, learning disability and other brain related disorders.

Dr Rathwell has extensive experience in developing clinical services for autism and related disorders internationally. She has been an expert with Autism Speaks in setting up services in Albania and neighbouring countries. She has contributed with her expertise and local knowledge to raising public awareness of autism and to the country developing a nationwide autism strategy. In collaboration with the University of Connecticut and funded by Autism Speaks, she has provided expertise to a research study that has validated gold standard screening and diagnostic tools in a non-English speaking country as well as parent training programmes that employ principles of PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) therapy.

Dr Rathwell has collaborated in a number of research projects carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry primarily in the area of autism. She is an established trainer of psychiatrist trainees and teaches on a number of graduate and postgraduate programmes including Master Degree courses at Kings College. Dr Rathwell is a clinical and academic tutor for the MSc postgraduates in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry. Dr Rathwell represents the department in a number of committees and multi-organisational development programmes. She chairs the Medical Advisory Committee and Drugs and Therapeutic Committee.

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