Talks and media

Links to recorded talks about LEANS, and media coverage.

Podcast: Why neurodiversity is relevant for all schoolchildren (Teachers' Voices series)

This podcast is part of a series featuring educators from around the world, produced by BOLD , "an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to spreading the word about how children and young people develop and learn". In this episode, LEANS research and impact lead Dr Alyssa Alcorn talks about what neurodiversity is and why it matters, and teachers in Brazil, India, and Argentina talk about inclusive practice (and its challenges) in their contexts.

Listen for free on the Bold Website, or access links to this podcast on other platforms (25 mins).

Talk: LEANS Champions: A pilot programme to train neurodiversity educator-experts across nations and professional roles" Sept 14th

A talk from Dr Alyssa Alcorn about our LEANS Champions "Ambassadors" and what our team learned from our pilot version of the Champions training course late in 2022. A shorter version of this talk was presented live at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference in Birmingham, September 2023. This version was recorded in November 2023.

Video via BERA website, free (30 min)


Talk: UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences Neurodiversity Masterclass seminar, June 22nd

In this talk, LEANS Research and Impact Lead Dr Alyssa Alcorn gave an overview of the LEANS resources and their development. The second part of the talk steps back to reflect on lessons from LEANS about neurodiversity teaching and learning in general, which may be useful to others developing neurodiversity resources. 

Video: recorded online talk via YouTube (1 hour)


Slides: The CALM study seminar: outcomes and practical implications, June 17th

This free seminar was part of the CALM (Centre for Attention, Learning and Memory) study. The event discussed key study findings on topics including the role of cognition, behaviour, brain development, and genetics in learning. Dr Alyssa Alcorn spoke briefly about the LEANS project as part of the bigger-picture discussion of research on neurodivergent development and inclusive education.

Note: These are the slides for the entire event, with LEANS content from slide 53. There is no event recording.

Slides: CALM study seminar (LEANS content from slide 53)


Talk: Principles and Practices in Neurodiversity-Informed education, May 25-26

Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson presented this talk as part of the “Neurodiversity – Shifting Paradigms in Mental Health” virtual conference, organised by ADHD Ireland, Autistic Doctors International, Institute of Neurodiversity, NUI Maynooth, UCD, and Untapped Talent. Includes Q&A.

Note: This talk does not focus on LEANS, but on wider issues in this area. There is a small section on LEANS near the end, and how it illustrates larger principles.

Video: recorded online talk via YouTube (47 min)


Talk: The LEANS Curriculum - Learning about Neurodiversity in School, May 25-26

Claire O’Neill, one of our LEANS Champions in Ireland, speaks about the LEANS programme from her perspective as an educator, and places it specifically in the Irish context and in relation to mental health. Includes Q&A. This talk is part of the same conference as above, “Neurodiversity – Shifting Paradigms in Mental Health” virtual conference, organised by ADHD Ireland, Autistic Doctors International, Institute of Neurodiversity, NUI Maynooth, UCD, and Untapped Talent.

Video: recorded online talk via YouTube (42 min)


Recorded event: Panel discussion, Supporting Education Settings, May 25

This panel was part of the same virtual conference as the above talks, “Neurodiversity – Shifting Paradigms in Mental Health”. It features two LEANS team members: Claire O’Neill, a LEANS Champion in Ireland, and Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson, among other contributors.

Video: recorded panel discussion via YouTube (22 min)


Podcasts: Dr Alyssa Alcorn and Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson on the Middletown Centre for Autism podcast, May 2023

Both podcasts are available on multiple platforms, linked from the Middletown website.

Alyssa: The LEANS project, teaching and learning about neurodiversity (19 min)

Sue: Using the neurodiversity paradigm to guide research (NB this podcast is not specific to the LEANS project). (19 min)


Article: LEANS featured in the Middletown Centre for Autism Research Bulletin 40 "Neurodiversity", April 2nd

The Middletown Centre's quarterly research bulletin is aimed at professionals working with autistic children and young people. Issue 40 features an interview with Dr Alyssa Alcorn about the LEANS project, including information about our new Champions programme, and advice on how people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can get involved with the project.

Download the issue for free, and find LEANS on pages 9-11


Talk: "Learning and teaching about neurodiversity at school - Sustainably and over time", ITAKOM neurodiversity conference, March 14

Recording of Dr Alyssa Alcorn's in-person talk at the It Takes All Kinds of Minds interdisciplinary neurodiversity conference, giving an account of the LEANS project and follow-on impact work with families and educators. Includes Q&A at end of recording along with other session speaker.

Magazine article: LEANS in The Psychologist, December 15th 2022

In this free article for the British Psychological Society’s magazine, LEANS research team members Dinah Aitken and Sue Fletcher-Watson discussNeurodiversity-affirmative education: why and how?”. After introducing neurodiversity concepts, they cover myth-busting, becoming neurodiversity-affirmative in schools, and considering the potential challenges for educational practice.

Neurodiversity-affirmative education: why and how? | BPS

Magazine article: LEANS in GTCS magazine, November 2022 (issue 94)

LEANS is featured in a 2-page article as part of issue 94. This article includes interview content with Headteacher Dawn Thompson. Dawn was part of the initial LEANS evaluation in Scottish schools (2021) and reflects on why they chose to use LEANS, and its impact in class.

Download this issue for free, and find LEANS on page 40!

Talk: Annual Learnus lecture, November 16th

In her talk “Neurodiversity: acceptance and affirmation in the classroom", LEANS principal Investigator Prof. Sue Fletcher-Watson discusses the educational implications of the neurodiversity paradigm. Please note that this talk is closely related to the big picture and motivations for the LEANS project, but only has a small amount of content discussing the project itself. Learnus is an organisation focused on educational neuroscience, and engagement between researchers and educators in this area.

Video - lecture via YouTube (50 mins)

Online article: LEANS featured in Twinkl SEND digest, November 1st

This article is an interview with lead researcher Dr Alyssa Alcorn, reflecting on where LEANS came from, why it matters, and how it can support teachers and schools. Twinkl is a popular teacher website and education publisher based in the UK.

Article - Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) – A new resource to promote understanding - Twinkl

Mini-talks: LEANS at Autism Europe Congress, October 2022

View 3-minute lightning talks about the 2020 online consultation study used to inform the development of LEANS materials (Reesha Zahir), and the 2021 school-based evaluation study (Dr Alyssa Alcorn). These recorded talks were part of poster presentations at the Autism Europe Congress in Krakow.

Talk 1: “Evaluation of wider community support for LEANS, a neurodiversity teaching programme”

Video via YouTube (3 min)

Academic poster via MediaHopper

Talk 2: “A school-based evaluation study of the LEANS programme”

Video via YouTube (3 min)

Academic poster via MediaHopper

Event recording: Facebook Live Q&A with Charlene Tait (Scottish Autism), August 31st

An informal half-hour chat about the LEANS programme for schools, what’s coming up next, and how parents/carers can get involved.

Video - Q&A via Facebook (33 mins)

Talk: LEANS at the Autistica Research Festival, July 2022

A short recorded talk from Dr Alyssa Alcorn presenting about the LEANS evaluation study from 2021. This talk and this conference were intended for a mixed audience of community members, researchers, and professionals. This talk is part of a larger recorded session on education, and begins at 14:09.

Video - talk via YouTube (13 mins - part of larger video)

Cover image of July 2022 edition of Nasen magazine, illustration of a row of books surrounded by a pair of headphones, text says \"striking the tight note\"

Magazine article: LEANS in nasen Connect, July 2022 edition

This three-page article is written to be accessible for educators, and talks about why it can be so important to understand and teach about neurodiversity within primary schools, and why it’s whole-class teaching that has real potential for impact. It introduces the main ideas of the LEANS resources and research project, with some information about our 2021 evaluation study.

Magazine article - nasen Connect

Note: you may need to register for a free nasen membership to access this article. If you do, you will also be presented with a paid option for “publication membership”. That’s not needed to read the magazine online!

Online article: LEANS on the National Autistic Society (NAS) website, June 16th

This short, free article is part of the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) content to support professional practice. It introduces LEANS for an autism practitioner audience, giving a compact overview of the free resource pack and the LEANS research project.

Online article - National Autistic Society

Event recording: LEANS launch event, June 14th 2022 

This is a video of the online resource information session for educators and community members, held as part of our official resource launch. Members of the LEANS resource and design teams explain what the resources are, how they might be used, and why you might want to teach about neurodiversity in the first place! Recording includes the extended audience Q&A, with even more information on using LEANS. 

Video - launch event via YouTube (1 hr 31 min) 

TV: LEANS on Channel 5 news! March 23, 2022 

LEANS was featured in a Channel 5 news segment aired on March 23rd, as part of a longer series on neurodiversity. The clip shows a sneak peek of an activity from Unit 2, Learning and Thinking Differently and some short interview content with LEANS researcher Dr Alyssa Alcorn. Many thanks to Mayflower School, Tower Hamlets for hosting us and the film crew!

Video clip - Channel 5 News via Twitter (2 m 45 sec)

Talk: CRAE annual lecture, 2022 “Neurodiversity-affirmative education for autistic learners" 

This talk by LEANS principal Investigator Prof. Sue Fletcher-Watson is on topics closely related to LEANS. It has some content about the LEANS project, but covers a range of current research on neurodiversity and education.

Video - CRAE Annual Lecture 2022 via YouTube (1 hr 32 min)

Talk: Overview of the LEANS project, Dec 2021 

Lead LEANS researcher Dr Alyssa Alcorn gave an overview talk on the LEANS project so far (including a sneak peek of some evaluation study feedback) as part of the seminar series at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education, at the UCL Institute of Education.

Video - CRAE webinar series via YouTube (1 hr 1 min)

Podcast: LEANS on the British Educational Research Association (BERA) podcast, Dec 2021 

Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson, the PI of the LEANS project, discusses neurodiversity in the classroom and LEANS with Nick Johnson, Chief Executive of BERA.

Podcast - Neurodiversity in the classroom and LEANS (30 min 51 sec)

Talk: Autistica conference, July 2021 

A ~15 minute talk about the LEANS project and our design process as part of the Autistica research conference (online). Presented by Professor Sue Fletcher-Watson.  This talk is part of a longer recorded session. Follow the link, open the description, and click her name to jump to the start of that talk. 

Autistica Research Festival: External support: schools, services and beyond (whole video is 2 hr 5 min - relevant parts at 1:36:28 - 1:50:21)

Conference poster: INSAR conference, May 2021 

“Learning about Neurodiversity at School: Key Concepts for Communicating Neurodiversity to Primary School Children, from the Leans Project Co-Design Process”. May 2021. Poster focused on our design process, and the concepts covered in the LEANS curriculum. 

View our abstract and poster on Media Hopper