Guest Speakers

Dr Mark Brown

Mark has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities, autism and many other neuro-developmental conditions for over 30 years in many different capacities, which has included managing a residential long-stay home for adults with behavioural difficulties.

Mark specialises in working directly with children, adolescents and young adults who have a range of diagnoses, and who are all struggling with challenging and/or socially inappropriate behaviour.  Many of the young people he works with have difficulties in interpreting the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviour, and this work has led him to developing an enhanced sex education course specifically designed for those who may otherwise be at risk of displaying sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Mark completed his PhD at the University of Kent in 2019, with his thesis titled “I wish I had learnt to keep safe – sexuality and relationships education (SRE) for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition”.

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Dr Stephen Connolly

Stephen is an autistic academic at Sheffield Hallam University, being the course leader on the MA Autism Spectrum degree, and lecturer on numerous other degree pathways. He has a keen interest in all things autism, with particular focus on inclusion in Higher Education. He comes from a Physical Education and Developmental Psychology background.

Stephen is heavily influenced by the “Actually Autistic” movement. He strives for accessible involvement in the full research process and firmly believes that autistic people should be the main stakeholders in autism research.

Stephen has recently undertaken his PhD, with his research titled “Inclusion of students that identify as autistic in Higher Education”

Dr Luke Beardon

Luke is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, where he runs various courses at different academic levels in autism, including a Masters postgraduate programme, and supervises Doctoral students.

Luke has over 20 years of experience in the field of autism and has continued to research and consult in the area during his academic years. He has published and/or contributed to over 20 books and 100+ journal articles about autism during his career.

Luke specialises in autism and the criminal justice system, with his Doctoral thesis titled “Asperger Syndrome and Perceived Offending Conduct: A Qualitative Study”.