About Salvesen Mindroom Centre

Recognised internationally for our expertise, previous conferences and research, Salvesen Mindroom Centre is a leading Scottish charity supporting, informing, and empowering children and young people experiencing barriers to learning. Through our outreach support services, our training and advocacy projects, and our research partnership with the University of Edinburgh, we are forging a new future for neurodivergent people, ensuring that the right policies and practices are put in place to enable them to flourish and fulfil their potential. Our vision and focus is to help create a neurodiverse world in which no mind is left behind. We have hosted five very successful international conferences since our charity launched in 2001. Our first conference See The Bigger Picture was held at the EICC in Edinburgh in 2003. We are now returning to the EICC in 2023 with It Takes All Kinds Of Minds: an international conference on the science and reality of neurodiversity.


Dr Andy Stanfield

Dr Andy Stanfield is the Director of Clinical Research at the University of Edinburgh’s Patrick Wild Centre, a translational research centre with particular interests in monogenic neurodevelopmental conditions.

His research has an overarching focus on translating developments in fundamental neuroscience into better care for people with these conditions.


Sophie Dow

Former freelance correspondent, writer and Founder of the Salvesen Mindroom Centre.

But perhaps most importantly – mother of Annie who is the inspiration behind SMC.

Her search for a diagnosis for Annie took her to a conference in Gothenburg in 1998 – one of the very first in the world on learning difficulties. Sophie spent two days listening to desperate statistics about exclusion, bullying, loneliness, divorce, prison statistics and – yes even children who were thinking about suicide. She found that totally unacceptable and decided to do something about it. The vision for the Salvesen Mindroom Centre was born then and there.

Today the SMC have been able to help tens of thousands of children and their families since the charity started over twenty years ago– but there are many more still that need help and support.

Sophie’s book ‘When life doesn’t follow script’ about life with her daughter Annie, the setting up of SMC and neurodiversity was published in her native Sweden in 2018 and has received overwhelming reviews.

“When life doesn’t follow script’ will be published in English in time for the conference.”


Sue Fletcher-Watson

Sue Fletcher-Watson is Director of the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre – a neurodiversity-focused research group which works in partnership with the SMC.

Sue founded the charity SuperTroop who provide residential holidays for disabled young people, and she is also a Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Her own work explores how children grow and learn, and the impacts of early experiences across the lifespan. She has a particular focus on autism. She aims to apply rigorous methods from psychology to questions with clinical, educational and societal impact. She strives to achieve meaningful partnerships with community representatives and to support neurodivergent leadership in research.

Neurodiversity squad

We wanted to make sure that ITAKOM wasn’t just a conference about neurodiversity but one which has neurodivergent voices built in throughout, feeding in to the decision making and speaking throughout the conference programme.

So we have recruited a neurodivergent advisory committee, to support and guide the conference co-Chairs. The Squad members bring a range of experience in research, science, the third sector, entrepreneurship and event management.

In addition to this group we also receive ad-hoc verbal advice from two adults with a learning disability.


Bethan Davies

Bethan Davies is autistic advocate with a wide range of experience working with the autism community in non-profit organisations such as the National Autistic Society and Autistica. At Autistica she managed the Insight Group and ran the annual Research Festival, growing it to an international week-long virtual event. She currently works as part of the Online Harms team at Samaritans and is finishing a MA in Medical Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London.


Karen Leneh Buckle

Karen Leneh Buckle (Leneh) is a PhD researcher at the University of Manchester looking at initiation impairments (‘inertia’) in autistic people. She is the founder of Autscape. She is autistic.


Dr Nancy Doyle

Dr Nancy Doyle is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and is co-founder of Genius Within. She is also the Co-Director of the Centre for Neurodiversity Research at Work, Birkbeck, University of London. She is a fully paid up member of the ADHD massive.


Natalia Zdorovtsova

Natalia Zdorovtsova is a PhD researcher at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge. She is currently applying transdiagnostic approaches to studying structural and functional brain differences in a neurodiverse sample of children.


Rebs Curtis-Moss

Rebs has worked in the third sector for over a decade, and has extensive experience in both fundraising and digital communications. They’ve worked with a wide variety of charities, including the RNLI, Shelter and Friends of the Earth. As an autistic person, they’re passionate about social justice, and nuerodiverse inclusivity. Nothing about us, without us!


Tumi Sotire

On social media, Tumi Sotire, known as The Black Dyspraxic, is an award-winning neurodiversity advocate passionate about the intersectionality of race and neurodiversity. Tumi is an advisory board member at Birkbeck University’s centre for neurodiversity at work and is a co-production board member for Neurodiversity in Business.

Scientific Advisory Committee

Duncan Astle

Prof. Duncan Astle

Duncan Astle is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Programme Leader at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, at the University of Cambridge. His 4D Research Group explores how the brain develops, why it is so variable, and the factors that can shape that development.

Monique Botha

Dr. Monique Botha

Dr. Monique Botha is an autistic and ADHD community psychologist and Research Fellow at the University of Stirling. They are passionate about producing research to help autistic people live equitably in communities. Their past and present work has focused heavily on stigma, bias, and dehumanisation as it relates to autistic people.

Holly Joseph

Prof. Holly Joseph

Holly Joseph is a Professor of Language and Literacy Development and Director of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) at University of Reading. Her research focuses on reading development and difficulties, multilingualism, and social justice. She is also School Director of Racial Equity and Justice.

Amy Pearson

Dr. Amy Pearson

Dr. Amy Pearson is a Chartered Developmental Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland. She is interested in autism, neurodivergence, and neurodiversity. Her current research focuses on understanding factors impacting wellbeing among autistic people across the lifespan, with a particular interest in social factors.

Danielle Ropar2

Dr. Danielle Ropar

Dr. Danielle Ropar leads the Autism Research Team at the University of Nottingham, which conducts collaborative research with key stakeholders to create meaningful real-world impact. This includes the development of autism training resources for custody officers, which has influenced practice and policy at a local and national level. Her current research focuses on the Double Empathy Problem and how it influences information transfer, non-verbal communication, and social-perception between autistic and non-autistic populations.

David Simmons

Dr. David Simmons

Dr. David Simmons is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. Whilst he has worked on sensory (especially visual) perception for some years, more recently he has focused his research on perception in synaesthesia and autism, pioneering approaches using Virtual Reality technology. He is a frequent invited speaker on sensory aspects of autism, teaches popular courses on autism and advises both local and national government and 3rd-sector organisations. He is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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