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Neurodiversity and Mental Health

"Neurodiversity – Shifting Paradigms in Mental Health"

We are a partnership of neurodivergent individuals and neuro-allies working and conducting research in the field of Neurodiversity. Over the last two years, we have organised two virtual conferences and run a monthly “Neurodiversity Masterclass” series which has reached over 1,000 people globally since 2020. 

“Neurodiversity – Shifting Paradigms in Mental Health” will cover four main sections over two days: 

  • Professional development for mental health professionals
  • Neurodiversity and mental health in the workplace
  • Ensuring equity in mental health services
  • Supporting primary, secondary and tertiary education settings

Our conference organising committee and speakers comprise of people who identify as both neurodivergent and neurotypical. We realise, however, that we could do better to be more inclusive in a broader sense, in particular in regard to nationality and ethnicity. We as a committee are committed to ensuring representation is at the forefront of what we do and we strive to improve year after year as we go on this journey with you. We appreciate your ongoing support in ensuring that our conference represents everyone.

Conference Details

Date25th and 26th May 2023




OrganisersADHD Ireland, Autistic Doctors International, Institute of Neurodiversity, NUI Maynooth, UCD, Untapped Talent

Intended Audience All are Welcome


Thursday May 25th

Neurodiversity and mental health in the workplace

0910 Welcome

0915 - 1000 (opens in a new window)Simon Bury, Supporting Long-Term Employment of Autistic People through Improved Well-being

1000-1045 (opens in a new window)James Cusack, Autistica, Doubling the number of autistic people in work

1045-1100 Break

1100 - 1145 (opens in a new window)Angharad Davies, RTN, Adjusting to a late diagnosis

1145 - 1245 (opens in a new window)Panel Discussion - Neurodiversity and Mental Health in the Workplace

1245 - 1330 Lunch

Supporting primary, secondary and tertiary education settings

1330-1415 (opens in a new window)Sonya Girdler and Ben Milbourn - "Talk to me" Improving mental health and suicide prevention in young adults.

1415-1500 (opens in a new window)Claire O'Neill - The LEANS Curriculum - Learning about Neurodiversity in School

1500-1545 (opens in a new window)Jessica Monahan - Understanding Autistic College Students Mental Health: Current Research and Recommendations

1545 - 1600 Break

1600 - 1645 (opens in a new window)Sue Fletcher Watson - Principles and Practices in Neurodiversity-Informed education

1645 - 1745 (opens in a new window)Panel Discussion 'Supporting primary, secondary and tertiary education settings'

Friday May 26th

Professional development for mental health professionals

0910 Welcome

0915 - 1000 (opens in a new window)Conor Davidson and Hazel Griffiths - Autism and Mental Health

1000-1045 (opens in a new window)Jess Eccles - Neurodiversity and Hypermobility

1045 - 1100 Break

1100 - 1145 (opens in a new window)Bernadette Grosjean - Adult Autism: unmasking clinical challenges and stereotypes for a better psychiatric practice.

1145 - 1230 (opens in a new window)Eva Loth - Experience of an autism researcher: How concepts, trends and autistic people have influenced my work

1230 - 1315 Lunch

Ensuring equity in mental health services

1315-1345 Alexis Quinn - A life worth living

1345 - 1430 (opens in a new window)Rachel Tapera - The social effects of neurodiversity for African migrants in Aotearoa NZ

1430 - 1445 Break

1445-1530 (opens in a new window)Margo Wrigley - ADHD in Adults : the evolving response in Ireland.

1530 - 1630 (opens in a new window)Panel Discussion 'Ensuring equity in mental health services'

Conference Speakers

See below for biographical notes on our speakers

Profile photo of Simon Bury

Simon Bury

Simon Bury is a research fellow at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Public Health and Psychology, La Trobe University. Simon is a Clinical Psychologist, with experience working with the general population and with neurodivergent individuals. Simon has lead several major industry grants developing workplace mental health tools available as a manual, in person training, and online training.

Profile photo of James Cusack

James Cusack

James Cusack is the chief executive of Autistica (the UK’s leading autism research and campaigning charity). In his time at Autistica he has established autism and autism research as national priorities, supported research programmes that can address the shocking inequalities which autistic people face and most recently unveiled ambitious goals that aim to transform the future of autistic people by 2030. Before joining Autistica, James had a successful career working in autism research.

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Conor Davidson

Dr Conor Davidson is a consultant psychiatrist in general adult psychiatry, and clinical lead of the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service. He was appointed Autism Champion for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in May 2021. The focus of this work is on improving autism awareness and autism training for psychiatrists. He chairs the College cross-faculty autism group and sits on the NHS England national autism strategy steering group.

Profile photo of Jade Davies

Jade Davies

Jade Davies is a Research Assistant at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. She is passionate about improving the overall employment experiences of autistic people,
and ensuring all autistic people have equal access to meaningful employment opportunities. Since 2020, Jade has been leading an autism-employment initiative called Discover Autism Research and Employment (DARE).

Profile photo of Jessica Eccles

Jessica Eccles

Dr Jessica Eccles trained in medicine at University of Cambridge and University of Oxford and undertook combined clinical academic training in Liaison Psychiatry at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. As an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow she completed her PhD in the relationship between joint hypermobility, autonomic dysfunction and psychiatric symptoms and is now a Clinical Senior Lecturer. Her interests are in the body-brain relationships in musculoskeletal conditions.

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Sue Fletcher-Watson

Sue Fletcher-Watson holds a Personal Chair in Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and is Director of the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre. She is interested in how children grow and learn, with a particular focus on development and neurodiversity. Her work draws on rigorous methods from psychology and applies these to questions with clinical, educational and societal impact. She strives to achieve meaningful partnerships and to support neurodivergent leadership in research.

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Sonya Girdler

Sonya is affiliated with the School of Allied Health at Curtin University and is Director of the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG). Sonya oversees all research activity and programs within CARG. Sonya has extensive experience in the field of autism research and neurodevelopmental disorders more broadly. Sonya is particularly interested in understanding functioning in autism using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO).

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Hazel Griffiths

Hazel is a retired emergency department nurse, full time carer for her autistic son and advisor on many national and local projects, including an advisor to the Royal College of Psychiatry.

woman wearing glasses smiles at camera

Bernadette Grosjean

Dr. Grosjean has worked as a psychiatrist in Belgium then California for 35 years, in private practice, community hospital and nonprofit organizations geared to help vulnerable populations. She was Associate professor of Psychiatry at UCLA until 2016. She worked with women and men with wide-ranging struggles, diagnoses and life journeys. She values humility, curiosity and flexibility as a clinician’s essential tools and qualities.

A woman looking at camera,smiling

Eva Loth

Dr. Eva Loth is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London (KCL). She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from St. Andrews University, Scotland, and completed postdoctoral placements at the IoPPN and Cambridge University. Eva is also the Deputy Director of the AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium, which aims to develop precision medicine for autism.

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Ben Milbourn

Dr Ben Milbourn is Senior Lecturer, (teaching and research) in Occupational Therapy, Curtin School of Allied Health-Curtin University. Ben trained as an occupational therapist in the UK, working in New Zealand, Australia and the UK practicing occupational therapy in mental health and disability contexts.Ben is Deputy Director of Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) and is interested in research with a strong community focus, working alongside autistic individuals to promote postive mental health.

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Jessica Monahan

Jess Monahan, Ph.D. is a neurodivergent researcher for Spectrum Scholars, a comprehensive college-to-career program for autistic undergrads at the University of Delaware. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut and holds a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at UD.Jess coordinates research studies with members of the autistic community, the Spectrum Scholars team and collaborators around the University.

Profile photo of Elaine McGoldrick

Elaine McGoldrick

Elaine McGoldrick began teaching in the mid eighties and worked across a variety of settings in both Mainstream and Special Education. Identified autistic at 54, she shares lived experience of mental health, workplace and advocacy challenges with the autistic community. Burnout led to an early retirement, but Elaine continues to pursue her passion for autistic voice in education as part of her Professional Doctorate in Education with LSBU.

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Claire O'Neill

Claire is an experienced primary and post primary teacher and teacher educator. She is research active and currently researching different support approaches for Autistic teachers. Claire writes regularly about Autism, Positive Psychology, and strengths-based approaches and her first solo-authored book was published in February 2023. She is also Head of Training for Thriving Autistic. Claire is herself neurodivergent and her lived experience is central to her professional and academic work.

woman looks at camera face at angle

Rachel Tapera

Rachel Tapera is a Research Fellow at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori (Māori Health Department) in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Rachel is a Public Health Specialist working in the Indigenous and migrant health spaces. She has a keen interest in contributing to the growing field seeking to understand and advocate for the social and health needs of ethnic migrant communities.

Profile photo of Margo Wrigley

Margo Wrigley

Consultant Psychiatrist now working HSE Mental Health Clinical Programmes, Dr. Steevens Hospital. Currently National Clinical Lead for the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Programme and for the Adult ADHD National Clinical Programme. Previously worked as HSE National Clinical Lead for Mental Health , prior to that as Executive Clinical Director , Dublin Northwest and Central Mental Health service . Main interest is in service design and implementation.

Profile photo of Alexis Quinn

Alexis Quinn

A schoolteacher of over ten years, former professional athlete and now author of two books: her ground-breaking memoir, Unbroken, and Autistic and Expecting, a guide for autistic parents to be. Alexis now works as Manager of the Restraint Reduction Network and is also studying an MSc in Psychotherapy at University of Greenwich.

UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences

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