Neurodiversity - The Weekend University

Explore science-based strategies for unlocking the full potential of differently wired brains.

When it was first published in 1952, the DSM listed 100 types of mental disorders. 

By the year 2000, that number had tripled.

How did this happen? 

Are we really becoming more mentally “disordered” as a population? Or might our basic assumptions about what is “normal” (and what isn’t) be wrong?

For too long, the medical model of mental health has viewed variations in brain functioning as “disabilities” that need to be “cured”, rather than as unique potentialities, which, if harnessed, could lead to greater thriving both for those who have them, and for society as a whole. 

Neurodiversity (ND) is a paradigm-shifting concept that challenges how we think about the brain.

Instead of viewing large segments of the population as suffering from mental “disorders”, neurodiversity suggests that we embrace these differences in cognitive functioning, and emphasise their positive aspects, so that we can harness the unique potentiality of every individual. 

So, in this online conference, we’ll explore science-based strategies for unlocking the innate potential of a wide range of differently wired brains. 


  • Neurodiversity & Psychotherapy; why the medical model of mental health is limiting and disempowering for both clients and therapists, how to work in a neurodiverse-affirmative way with a wide range of individuals, and best practices for relating to, and supporting ND clients to improve outcomes in therapeutic practice – Allison Haynes
  • Neurodiversity & Optimal Learning; how to understand your own unique profile of cognitive, social, and emotional strengths, and how to develop learning strategies and environments tailored to your situation, so that you can optimise your learning, and unlock the full potential of your mind – Dr Devon MacEachron
  • Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person; the fascinating science behind the ‘high sensitivity’ trait (which has been found in up to 20% of the human population and more than 100 species), why many great creatives, thinkers and artists are HSP, and evidence-based approaches for turning your sensitivity into a superpower – Alane Freund

Event Schedule:

  • 10:00am – 12:00pm: Neurodiversity & Psychotherapy – Allison Haynes
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm: Neurodiversity & Optimal Learning – Dr Devon MacEachron
  • 3:00pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon break
  • 3:30pm – 5:00pm: Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person – Alane Freund

Full Day Pass: £49.99 (includes VAT + Booking Fee)

Student/Unwaged: £26.99 (includes VAT + Booking Fee)


Sunday 30th May 2021

10:00 – 17:00 GMT

Add to Calendar
30/05/2021 10:00 AM
30/05/2021 5:00 PM
Online Video Conference
The Weekend University – Neurodiversity

Online Conference

Lectures & Speakers

Neurodiversity & Psychotherapy – Allison Haynes

Neurodiversity Affirmative Practice is a relatively new paradigm that has arisen out of the recognition of the importance of listening to those with lived experience. It assumes two main tenets. Firstly, that neurodivergence is conceptualised from the social disability model, rather than the medical model of disability. Second, that previous treatments, interventions and therapies are now considered disrespectful to ND people, and we need to change the way we relate to, and support, these individuals.

This talk will discuss this new paradigm, by sharing our growing knowledge and changing conceptualisation of neurodivergence, how to support ND individuals, and why such a shift is important to the continued well-being of our clients.

Reading Recommendations:

Neurodiversity and Neurodivergence

Social Disability 

  • Milton, Damian (2019) The influence of the social model of disability on the neurodiversity movement. In: Disability History Month Lecture Series, 5 Dec 2019, Canterbury, UK.
  • Taylor E. Krcek (2013) Deconstructing Disability and Neurodiversity: Controversial Issues for Autism and Implications for Social Work, Journal of Progressive Human Services, 24:1, 4-22, DOI: 10.1080/10428232.2013.740406

ND affirmative methods

Autistic Masking

Anti – ABA information (if you have the stomach)

Allison Haynes - The Weekend University

Allison Haynes (MPsych Ed/Dev) is an Autistic/ADHD psychologist, who was driven to study psychology when she became frustrated with the lack of support for her autistic children. She has been a practicing clinician in private practice for 10 years, and now owns a successful ND affirmative therapy clinic, in Brisbane, Australia. Her clinic, Left of Centre Therapies, has a fast growing team, with all clinicians either being ND, or closely related to an ND family member. Left of Centre is an educational practice, where provisional psychologists gain top quality training and support in practicing in the ND space, a much-needed service to the community. Her clinic has been nominated for multiple awards, and Allison has plans to expand nationally. LOC’s mission statement is: “If anyone walks into our clinic and feels uncomfortable, we are doing something wrong.” Left of Centre works hard to make each session a safe space for ND individuals to be able to unmask, and explore their authentic selves. In her spare time, Allison is writing her autobiography about raising autistic boys, while coming to the realisation that she, herself is autistic.

Neurodiversity & Optimal Learning – Dr Devon MacEachron

Neurodiversity, to me, is the idea that neurological differences among people should be recognized and respected just the same as any other form of human variation. For too long the medical model of mental health has viewed differences like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia solely as “dysfunctional,” “disorders,” and “disabilities.” In the rush to provide treatments focused on “curing” these conditions too little attention has been given to enabling people with neurologically different brains to be accepted for themselves, to articulate what they want, and to helping them discover and grow their strengths. 

Every individual has a unique profile of cognitive, social, and emotional strengths and weaknesses, and it is by understanding one’s abilities and learning how to work with and around them that we find the potential for growth. We must also consider the goodness of fit between the individual and the environment. A disability in one environment may well be an ability in another. In this talk I will describe the strength and challenge profiles associated with different brain “wiring” and how to help individuals optimize their learning and success. 

Preparation Recommendations:


What these books share is a positive psychology focus on the strengths side of the neurodiversity equation and the importance of developing one’s interests and talents. 


Blogs & Websites: 

Dr Devon MacEachron - The Weekend University

Dr. Devon MacEachron is a licensed psychologist in New York City with a private practice informed by the positive psychology and neurodiversity movements. She conducts neuropsychological assessments designed to uncover each individual’s profile of strengths and weaknesses as a learner in order to provide an action plan that simultaneously develops strengths and interests while remediating and accommodating weaker skills. She is especially knowledgeable about neurodiverse, twice-exceptional, and gifted learners, whose strengths can camouflage their weaknesses, resulting in unexpectedly weaker performance than ability and considerable frustration, anxiety, and often depression. She has a social media presence where she talks about neurodiversity, the advantages of being wired differently, challenging neuromyths, parenting, achievement, and success. 

Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person – Alane Freund 

Do you have a keen imagination, rich inner life, and vivid dreams? Are time alone each day and deeply intimate relationships both as essential as air? Do others call you too shy or overly sensitive? Do you sometimes wonder if you can thrive? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a highly sensitive person, or HSP—twenty percent of us are. It is a valuable trait. 

Many great artists and thinkers are HSP— generally highly conscientious and intuitive. There are also drawbacks: An HSP is easily overstimulated and more affected by a troubled past and present stressors. A finely tuned nervous system and highly reactive brain are both trademarks of HSPs who thrive best in “good” environments. Brain reactivity means HSPs process deeply, have strong emotional responses, and become easily overwhelmed in a world that is not designed for their sensitive brains and hearts. Strongly impacted by their environment and the people in it, HSPs are very susceptible to and impacted by positive interventions. We will explore the highly sensitive person’s tremendous capacity for thriving. 

Preparation Recommendations:

Alane Freund - The Weekend University

Alane Freund, LMFT, has three decades of experience in mental health including her work as a consultant, speaker, and psychotherapist for highly sensitive people. An International Consultant on High Sensitivity (ICHS), Ms. Freund has developed and implemented programs for highly sensitive people, children, families, and the clinicians who serve them. She holds Masters’ degrees in both clinical psychology and school counseling and is the parent of a highly sensitive young adult. Ms. Freund’s Talk at Google, Understanding the Highly Sensitive Person, is widely viewed, and she hosts the twice monthly “Are You Highly Sensitive LIVE” Q&A webinars. She leads groups and retreats, including Sensitivity Circles for parents, professionals, HSPs in relationships, Sensitive & Anxious Teens, and Wise Women & Wonder Workshops and retreats include  HSP University Weekends, and the HSPs & Horses™ both online and in person. Alane Freund can be reached for consultation or speaking through her website, or via her YouTube channel: Alane Freund LMFT.

What TWU attendees are saying:

    4 star review  Great initiative! For people that like myself are passionate about psychology but wouldn't commit to long term course or training it's a wonderful opportunity to listen to qualified professionals in the area in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Carolina Abicair Avatar Carolina Abicair
    February 28, 2018

    positive review  This event is nourishment for my mind! The kind of subjects usually reserved for academics is now open to us all and the information is delivered in a way that anyone can understand. The audience was filled with interesting people, hungry to learn and engage in fascinating conversations. We had all day to connect, to learn and to share. Just like a delicious cool drink on a very hot day, my mind felt quenched! Thank you, Niall, for creating this. I will be back!

    David Saville Avatar David Saville
    January 30, 2019

    positive review  The amazing very interesting psychology/neuroscience lectures I attended

    Fatima van Duale Avatar Fatima van Duale
    July 1, 2019
TWU 100% Money Back Guarantee

The Weekend University seeks to guarantee an excellent learning experience. If you are not fully satisfied with the day, you will receive 100% of your money back, and we will cover the cost of your travel to and from the venue.