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Neurodiversity and the Legal System Conference

Neurodiversity and the Legal System : Towards Equality for All 

The UCD Neurodiversity project, together with its partners ADHD Ireland, Institute of Neurodiversity, NUI Maynooth and Neurodiversity Hub, hosted an online conference on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th May 2022, titled 'Neurodiversity and the Legal System : Towards Equality for All.' This follows on from the successful conference in 2020 on Neurodiversity and Higher Education. Watch back links are now available on this page.


The objective of this conference is to facilitate an exchange of cutting edge academic discourse, policy and practice initiatives with lived experience at the core. The conference will include all areas of the criminal justice system across international jurisdictions: police, practice in court and the judiciary, probation, prison, parole and forensic mental health services. Topics will be considered through a lens of lived experience, policy, academic learnings and practice. The aim is that all sectors will have the opportunity to share lived experience, learnings and contemporary practice relating to neurodiversity as they pertain to their research field, organisation and/or jurisdiction. It is hoped that this will allow cross fertilisation of best practice models across jurisdictions.


For a full list of speakers and biographical notes, visit this page. 

Moderators of the conference are Charlotte Valeur (founder Institute of Neurodiversity), Miranda Morgan, Morwenna Stewart, Tom Oliver and Silvan Ruthenberg.

Watch Back 

To watch back available recordings from the conference click on the relevant link below. 

Thursday May 19th 

(opens in a new window)0900 - 1250 - Introductory Sessions

(opens in a new window)0905 Associate Professor Anna Eriksson, Monash University - Neurodisability and Criminal Justice in Australia: Challenges and Possible Solutions

(opens in a new window)0935 Dr Kim Turner, Manchester Metropolitan University - Language and the Criminal Justice System

(opens in a new window)1005 Dr Roxanna Fatemi-Dehaghanir, Cardiff University - Neurodiverse suspects, vulnerability, and the appropriate adult safeguard

Andrea Lollini, UC Hastings - Language Disorders: Legal and Social Justice Implications Brain-Based Equality

1105 Break

1120 (opens in a new window)Prof Stephen J Macdonald - Experiencing Cuckooing: conceptualising the relationship between neurodiversity, home takeovers, and criminal exploitation , Durham University

1150 (opens in a new window)Judith Hudson, Dear Dyslexic Foundation - Dyslexia and the justice system an Australian perspective 

1220 Prof Eddie Chaplin, London Southbank University 

1250 LUNCH

1330-1530 - Police

1330 - Gardai, Police Service Ireland

1400 - (opens in a new window)Dr Donna Peacock, University of Sunderland - Supporting ‘vulnerable’ suspects in the police station: Access to justice, communication challenges, and enabling active participation

1430 - Aidan Healy Lexxic

1500 Dennis Debbaudt, Dr. Melissa Sreckovic, Dr. Christine Kenney - Autism and Police: Strategies for Safer Interactions 

1530 (opens in a new window)Dr Katie Maras, - Interviewing autistic witnesses

1600 BREAK

1615 - 1815 - Courts

(opens in a new window)1615 Prof Penny Cooper - Neurodiversity and the Courtroom: When Ground Rules Hearings Became Essential

(opens in a new window)1645 Prof Warren Brookbank, Auckland University of Technology - Neurodiversity and the Criminal Justice System: A New Zealand Perspective.

(opens in a new window)1715 Melanie Jameson, Dyslexia Consultant - Neurodiversity v The Courts

1745 Dr Michael Perlin  “Something’s Happening Here/But You Don’t Know What It Is”: How Jurors (Mis)Construe Autism in the Criminal Trial Process

Friday 20th May

0930 - 1150 - Probation

0935 Dr Geraldine O’Hare, Probation Board Northern Ireland

1005 (opens in a new window)Elena Nichifor, Probation Officer, Braşov Probation Service, Romania - Neurodiversity - challenge for the probation activities

1035 Olivia Keaveney - Regional Manager Young Persons Probation - Neurodiverse children engaged with the Probation Service- challenges or opportunities?

1105 BREAK

1120 (opens in a new window)Dr Maxine Winstanley - The Youth Justice System, Developmental Language Disorder and rates of recidivism.

1150 LUNCH

1230-1530 - Prison

1230 (opens in a new window)Dr Amanda Kirby, Emeritus Professor, University New South Wales and Hope Kent, Univ Exeter- Neurodiversity + Adversity - an interwoven pathway to justice and beyond.

1300 Stephen Dedridge, National Autistic Society and Ryan Francis, Parc Prison - Good practice in supporting autistic people in prison settings

1330 Kathleen Davey, Decipher Zone - Autism & Prison – the individual, their families, and the workforce

1400 Dr Ylva Ginsberg, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, - Pharmacological treatment of criminal offenders with ADHD

1430 (opens in a new window)Prof Froydis Morken, University of Bergen - Language and Literacy in the Prison Population

1530 BREAK

1545-1815 - Legislation and Policy

1545 (opens in a new window)Prof Nathan Hughes, University of Sheffield - Ensuring rights to justice for children affected by neurodisability: implementing the requirements of the UNCRC General Comment 24

1615 Dennis Debbaudt, Dr. Melissa Sreckovic, Dr. Christine Kenney - Hand in Glove Policy Change with Command Level Police and Legislators (opens in a new window)Part one and (opens in a new window)Part Two

1645 Prof William Simmons, University of Arizona and Janyce Boynton, Artist and Educator - How a Pseudoscientific Communication Technique Clouds Issues of Disabilities and Abuse in the Court System

1715 Yuval Wagner, Access Israel - Legal System and Legal Mechanisms in place in Israel towards an Inclusive Society

1745 (opens in a new window)Leigh-Ann Davis, Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives at The Arc of the United States - Creating Pathways to Justice for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the U.S. and Internationally


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