New publication!

Now published: a short report about the 2020 LEANS online consultation study (open-access).

We are very pleased to announce that the paper reporting on our 2020 LEANS online consultation is now available to the public as a short report in the peer-reviewed journal Autism. The online consultation was part of LEANS’ early development process, before we completed the first full version of the resource pack and evaluated it in schools.

Visit our resource development page for more information.

View and download the open-access paper (free to all readers, even if you are not in a university)

Zahir, R., Alcorn, A. M., McGeown, S., Mandy, W., Aitken, D., Murray, F., & Fletcher-Watson, S. (2023). Short report: Evaluation of wider community support for a neurodiversity teaching programme designed using participatory methods. Autism, 0(0).

OnlineFirst as of November 9, 2023. This item does not yet have an issue number.

Lay abstract

Children with diagnoses such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and so on often experience bullying at school. This group can be described as neurodivergent, meaning they think and process information differently from most people. Previous research suggests that increasing people’s knowledge can be an effective way to reduce stigma and bullying. Therefore, we decided to create a primary school resource to teach about neurodiversity – the concept that all humans vary in how our brains work. Working with educators, our research team – which included neurodivergent people – developed plans for a teaching programme called Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS). Next, we wanted to know whether these plans, developed by our small neurodiverse team, would be endorsed by the wider community. To find out, we conducted an online feedback survey about our plans for the resource. We analysed feedback from 111 people who participated. Most of them identified as neurodivergent (70%) and reported being familiar with neurodiversity (98%), meaning they could provide an informed opinion on our plans. Over 90% of people expressed support for the planned programme content described in the survey, and 73% of them approved our intended definition of the resource’s core concept, neurodiversity. From these results, we concluded that there was a high level of support for the planned LEANS programme content across those from the wider community who completed the survey. Consequently, we continued developing the LEANS programme in line with the initial plans from our neurodiverse team. The completed resource is now available as a free download.