Download NEST

Download the NEST handbook and supporting resources for free!

NEST in a nutshell

What is NEST?

NEST is a suite of free resources designed to help mainstream secondary schools establish a peer support group for neurodivergent students. It was co-designed by neurodivergent young people and adults.

Why should you set up a NEST group?

NEST groups can make space in school for neurodivergent students to be together: to be able to comfortably be their authentic selves and not have to change their behaviour or hide who they are to fit in with a neurotypical majority. Peer support provides an opportunity to spend time with like-minded others, have fun, and meet new people. It’s also a chance to learn about neurodivergence, and to reflect on what we have in common and what makes us distinctive.

Where can NEST groups be set up?

NEST groups can be set up in mainstream secondary schools, but it won't be right for every school. The NEST handbook provides guidance on how to decide if your school is ready for a NEST group.

Who can set up a NEST group?

NEST groups need a staff facilitator, but facilitators don't need NEST training and can be any member of school staff who fit the criteria outlined in the NEST handbook.

Who can join a NEST group?

NEST groups are for all mainstream secondary school students who identify as neurodivergent. There is guidance in the NEST handbook around advertising your group and making sure it is accessible and inclusive.

How can I set up a NEST group?

The NEST handbook and resource pack are your 'one stop shop' for setting up and running a NEST group in your school. NEST groups themselves are student-led and the handbook provides guidance on how to support students to make the group work for them. It’s free to download the NEST resources and set up a NEST group, but it does require a time commitment. We suggest you initially take 1-2 hours to read through the handbook, complete the reflective activities and consider any safety and wellbeing concerns before setting up a NEST group.

Terms of use: key things to know

The NEST handbook and resource pack are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivatives 4.0 International. 

  • You may freely print or photocopy the NEST materials, so long as you do not sell them. 
  • You can adapt the NEST resource for use within your own school, but you may not distribute adapted resources e.g. by sharing with other schools or posting them online. 
  • You may not use these materials, including the NEST illustrations, for any commercial purposes. 

While NEST is free, there are still restrictions on how you can use it. Please take a few minutes to read about what is permitted by this license, and to read our full terms of use. They include a short, plain-English explanation of what these terms mean for you, especially if you are a teacher using them in a school. 

© The University of Edinburgh, 2024. The NEST Team. Catherine J. Crompton, Francesca Fotheringham, Charlotte Webber, Katie Cebula, Sarah Foley, & Sue Fletcher-Watson assert their right to be identified as the authors of this handbook.

Illustrations © Minerva Fletcher-Watson

Graphic Design © David Roberts

The NEST handbook and associated materials are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.


You are free to:

Share: Copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.

The NEST team cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below.


Sharing and adaptation must take place under the following terms:

Attribution: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

NonCommercial: You may not use the material, including the NEST illustrations, for commercial purposes. Commercial purposes include any that generate income for you or your organisation, including selling printed copies of NEST materials, or charging people for training about NEST.

NoDerivatives: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Adaptations you might make to NEST materials could include: changing the name of the NEST group, changing the proposed NEST activities to make them more relevant to your school; translating student facing materials into a language other than U.K. English. You can make these changes, but you cannot then distribute the new materials beyond your own school – you cannot post them on a website, email copies to other schools etc.

No additional restrictions: You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. In plain English, this means that any copies of NEST that you share must be shared as freely as the originals. For example, you can’t photocopy the original NEST handbook, give it to someone, and then tell them they are not allowed to copy it again. You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.

No warranties are given: The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.


The download contains the complete NEST handbook and resource pack. It is a zipped file, and you will need to un-zip it after downloading in order to use the content.  

The download includes:

  • The NEST Handbook (.pdf)
  • NEST planned session template (.pdf)
  • NEST advert template (.pdf)
  • Information for parents and caregivers template (.pdf)
  • Information for staff template (.pdf)
  • Explaining neurodiversity presentation (.pdf and .pptx)
  • NEST book club recommendations list (.pdf)
  • NEST board game recommendations list (.pdf)
  • NEST media recommendations list (.pdf)
  • Information about NEST and Scottish policy context (.pdf)

Please note that the handbook contains some clickable links to other resources which will open in a new tab when viewed in a web browser.

You can contact the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre team by e-mail ( Please explain your query as clearly as you can, and please note that we are a small team, so it may take some time for us to follow up with you.

Please contact the team by e-mail ( with subject “resource download problem”. Please give as much detail as you can, to help us sort out the issue. 

Please cite the NEST handbook and resources as follows:

Crompton, C.J., Fotheringham F., Webber, C., Cebula, K., Foley, S. & Fletcher-Watson, S., (2024) The NEurodivergent peer Support Toolkit (NEST). University of Edinburgh.