Students sat around a table

Neurodiversity Research Group

Neurodiversity Research Group

Welcome to the Neurodiversity Research Group at BNU. The increasing enrolment of neurodiverse students in HEI presents a shared and expanding challenge for academics. Research within the School in relation to this area will shed light on the experiences of neurodiverse students whilst exploring the facilitators and challenges. Fresh insight offers substantive room for change and improvement however the disclosure of learning difficulties remains a significant issue. A key driver for change is the establishment of a trusting and inclusive environment that embraces diversity without the need for labels, special measures or adjustments. Such an environment fosters a culture where all students can thrive.

Selected Current and Recent Projects 

Decolonising Nursing and Midwifery: Our Journey So Far 

Responding to unequal health outcomes, ranging from significantly higher perinatal mortality rates for black women to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on minoritised ethnic groups, as well as to unequal staff and student experiences epitomised in pay and award gaps, BNU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has embarked on a process of decolonising its curricula. This includes the adoption of a decolonisation statement and pledge, something which is becoming increasingly common across HE as institutions seek to address the legacy of colonial cultural practices woven within existing systems. 

In the session, representatives from the teams will discuss specific initiatives in their respective areas, with the intention of sharing their learning with other practitioners. Recognising that the identification of morbidity and clinical deterioration is often based on changes in skin colour and that much of this knowledge is derived from the care of women with light skin tones, which can contribute to unequal health outcomes, the Midwifery team designed a curriculum to ensure Midwifery students are educated to assess skin changes in all skin tones with confidence using clinical judgement. 

The new Midwifery curriculum also includes assessments specifically focused on holistic care identifying cultural needs and adaptations; employing guest lecturers who identify as global majority ethnicity; and a pedagogy that is not Eurocentric and goes beyond traditional Western epistemologies. The Nursing team’s decolonial initiatives were given impetus in 2020 by the pandemic and the global Black Lives Matter activism in response to the murder of George Floyd, which focussed attention on the lived experiences of racism and the need to create transformative change. 

The team will present a critical overview of their multifaceted interventions to reduce award gaps, which include redesigning module assessment strategies and fostering an inclusive culture and sense of belonging for staff and students.

Current PhD / MPhils

Developing metacognitive strategies to support non-native English-speaking students in learning academic writing skill.’

Selected Outputs

Maloret, Paul and Scott, Patricia (2017) Don’t ask me what’s the matter, ask me what matters: acute mental health facility experiences of people living with Autism Spectrum Conditions. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 25 (1). pp. 49-59. ISSN 1351-0126

Maloret, Paul and Welch, J (2018) The Principles of Caring for People with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism. In: Nursing Practice: Knowledge and Care, 2nd Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 193-209. ISBN 978-1-119-23747-1 Item not available from this repository.

Patel, Vinood B., Preedy, Victor R. and Martin, Colin R. (2014) Comprehensive Guide to Autism. Springer. ISBN 978-1461447894

Rawcliffe, David (2016) Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In: Mental Health and Well-Being in the Learning and Teaching Environment. Swan & Horn. ISBN 978-1909675025

Rawcliffe, David (2020) Girls and autism: Educational, family and personal perspectives. Journal of Mental Health. p. 1. ISSN 1360-0567

Rochon, R., Knight, J., Smith, M., Avery, C. and Allen, N. (2023) Evaluating SELF: a new model of reflection for learning and promoting wellbeing. Advance HE's Mental Wellbeing in HE Conference 2023: Putting theory into practice - Creating a whole university approach to student and staff wellbeing. Manchester, 16 May 2023.

Contact Information

For more information about the Drug and Alcohol Research Group or any of its projects, please contact group lead Dr Julia Williams (julia.williams@bnu.ac.uk).