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UCD EDI Neurodiversity Inclusion Celebration 2024

Report Launch: Making UCD a Neurodiversity Friendly Campus

UCD EDI Neurodiversity Inclusion Celebration 2024

Report Launch: Making UCD a Neurodiversity Friendly Campus

In recent years, conversations about neurodiversity are garnering greater visibility. This has led to a growing awareness and reflection as to how our society can be inclusive of neurodiversity, flexible and accessible, recognising and celebrating neurological differences in all their diversity. Stefanie Preissner, award winning writer, actor and director will join us to mark the launch of Making UCD a Neurodiversity Friendly Campus. This report is a comprehensive guide for UCD becoming more inclusive of neurodiversity and indeed becoming Ireland’s first ‘Neurodiversity Friendly University’. Speakers will showcase neurodiversity friendly and inclusive initiatives and we will launch a new staff neurodiversity network.

Registration link for UCD Employees

Registration link for UCD Students

Conference Details

Date18 April 2024


LocationUCD Global Lounge, Gerard Manley Hopkins Centre

OrganisersEquality Diversity and Inclusion

Book now for UCD Employees

Scroll down to find information about the event, guest speaker bios below with more speakers to be announced.

Report Launch - Making UCD a Neruodiversity Friendly Campus

This research identifies a whole-campus approach to key topics such as understanding neurodiversity, creating accessible learning and working environments, and providing and promoting neurodiversity awareness and acceptance. Recommendations have been developed to provide a pathway for higher education institutions and universities to develop  a ‘neurodiversity friendly’ model wherein neurodiversity is embraced and understood.

Showcasing Neurodiversity Inclusion

Guest speakers will showcase best practice neurodiversity friendly and inclusive initiatives across the following areas:

  • Mainstreaming neurodiversity inclusion
  • Neurodiversity Inclusive Approaches to Teaching and Learning 
  • UCD Assessment for Inclusion Framework 
  • Creating sensory spaces
  • Student Services and Peer support

Help us Grow a Neurodiversity Friendly Community in UCD

Neurodiversity Employee Network Launch

Join us for the launch of the inaugural neurodiversity employee network in UCD. Meet colleagues from across UCD, find out why they are setting up a network,  and how you can get involved and build a vibrant community in UCD.


Neurodiversity Student Peer Support Group

The Neurodiversity Peer Support Group is a pilot group for students facilitated by UCD Disability Support. This group was established as many students who identified as neurodivergent have indicated an interest in developing and maintaining new social relationships. The group aims to promote and encourage peer support between neurodivergent students through group engagement in a meaningful activity chosen by members.  This term the group is taking place weekly group at 12:00 p.m. to 01:00 p.m. on Thursdays starting until the 25th of April 2024 (final teaching week of the trimester). The group will not be held during the revision period which includes the 14th & 21st of March 2024. Please email Ciara McHale for further details: disability@ucd.ie

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a term coined by Judy Singer (sociologist, Australia) in the 1990s to describe variation in human brain functions relating to sociability, learning, attention and mood

Neurodiversity encompasses conditions such as, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia and Developmental Coordination Disorder.

The term is designed to conceptualise and reflect the ‘neurological diversity’ of the human brain.



Stefanie Priessner

Stefanie is a high profile writer in Dublin, Ireland. She began as a theatre writer, playing to sell-out audiences and gaining attention for her keen observations and sharp wit. From there she erupted into TV screen with her hit comedy-drama Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope commissioned for two series by RTÉ and later broadcast on BBC Three and Netflix to international acclaim. She became a shameless agitator and advocate for the millennial experience. Unafraid to be direct and highlight societal problems created by older generations who voted and lived solipsistically for years and leave the burden to the generations below them. Stefanie has raised awareness about autism through her own diagnosis and champions awareness and inclusion.


Dr Blánaid Gavin

Dr Blánaid Gavin, Associate Professor, UCD School of Medicine. Blánaid has worked for 20 years with children and teenagers with mental health difficulties. She is actively involved in teaching and research which aims to enhance detection and treatment for young people experiencing mental illness in Ireland. She has published widely in national and international peer reviewed journals. Blánaid is Chair of UCD Neurodiversity Working Group.


Dr Timmy Frawley

Dr Timmy Frawley is an Associate Professor in Mental Health Nursing employed in the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. He is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland as a Psychiatric Nurse and Nurse Tutor. He is Head of Subject – Mental Health Nursing and is a member of the University level Neurodiversity Working Group as well as an elected member of Academic Council.


Dr Geraldine O’Neill

Geraldine O’Neill is an Associate Professor and educational developer in the UCD Teaching & Learning unit, University College Dublin. She has led and researched many national and institutional assessment and feedback projects, in particular on inclusive assessment, choice of assessment, diverse and programmatic approaches to assessment. In 2020, she received one of Ireland’s inaugural National Forum Teaching and Learning Research Fellowships, to research into the assessment of work-integrated learning, a key aspect of which was empowering students in their assessment and feedback in this context.


Lorna Dodd

Lorna Dodd is Deputy Librarian and Director of Library Operations in UCD. Since joining UCD’s Library Executive Team in January 2021, Lorna has championed a range of new initiatives embedding EDI into Library services including the removal of library fines, the introduction of free period products and the provision of a multi-faith room in the Library. Prior to her current role in UCD, Lorna was Institute Librarian at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) and Head of Academic Services at Maynooth University Library where she received a President’s Award for Innovation and was the first member of professional staff to receive a Teaching & Learning Fellowship.


Jennie Blake

Associate Director in UCD Alumni Relations

Jennie Blake is a fervent advocate for inclusivity in society. Her firsthand experience with autistic family members has deepened her understanding of the daily challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals. With a background spanning alumni relations, volunteer engagement, and student support, Jennie is committed to empowering the UCD community to embrace, celebrate and support neurodiversity. She passionately fosters understanding and inclusion for all neurotypes, both in academic and professional spheres.


Dairine Cullen

Director Neurodiversity Ireland

I am a Neurodivergent person, and parent of an autistic girl. I have worked for Google for over 12 years. I am passionate about making our community one that is full of equal opportunity and is inclusive for all.


Caoimhe O'Malley

Senior Adult Dyslexia Coordinator for The Dyslexia Association of Ireland

She is responsible for the development of dyslexia supports for adults including the development of in-person and online training to be delivered across the Adult Education (Further Education and Training (FETs) and Higher Education (HEIs) and Employment sectors.Prior to joining DAI, Caoimhe has worked in the area of education, her main focus being the non-traditional student, ensuring equal access to education for all and that the correct supports are in place so that all students can reach their full potential, and enjoy their educational journey.


Ken Kilbride

CEO, ADHD Ireland

Ken is the CEO at ADHD Ireland and has over 25 years experience in senior management positions in a wide range of both very large and very small not for profit organisations in Ireland. Ken’s role with ADHD Ireland is to enact the vision and strategy of the Board, and in the words of Captain James T Kirk take this ADHD organisation to where no ADHD organisation has ever been before!


Simon Gray

Student Adviser

Simon Gray has been a Student Adviser in UCD since January 2022, and worked previously as a teacher and entrepreneur. He works with students 1-to-1 and on grassroots projects around campus to make life and learning more accessible to all. He is currently focusing on universal design beyond the classroom and setting up student peer-support networks. He is excited to talk about making the UCD Festival a neuroinclusive event for a third year running.


Dr Annette Clancy

I am Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy where I am the director of the MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management. I also teach on the Creative Futures Academy funded BA degree in Creative and Cultural Industries. The focus of my research is on emotion in organisations and in particular how unconscious dynamics influence and inform organisational structure and behaviour. I have researched and published in the area of teaching and learning and my interest has been enhanced by completing the Digital Badge in UDL and the Facilitator Badge in 2021. I am a University for All Faculty Partner for the UCD College of Arts and Humanities. I have recently been awarded a Fellowship in Teaching & Academic Development and together with three colleagues I am researching the topic of 'Embedding Employability in the Curriculum through Work-Integrated Learning'.

Contact UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: edi@ucd.ie