Improving Accessibility of Teaching for Neurodiverse Students


Student leads: Harriet Hunter, Navya Malik, Shannon McCann, Ritika Sukhani

Treasurer and staff project lead: Dominika Dykert


Psychology and Language Sciences


Our project originally arose from neurodiverse students bringing up suggestions on how small practical changes within the classroom could have a large impact on improving inclusivity and the learning experience of neurodiverse students. The project aimed to explore the learning experience of neurodiverse UCL students and gain further suggestions on how other changes could be implemented within the classroom environment to accommodate all learners. The experiences of neurodiverse students were gathered through various means (focus groups, interviews, qualitative questionnaires) all answering the same questions focusing on their overall learning experiences and face-to-face classroom / online learning experiences. Through thematic analysis we narrowed down many similarities between students about difficulties they faced and suggestions of how their learning experiences could be improved. These themes highlighted the importance of: clear organisation within the course; the accessibility of course materials; support from staff and the physical classroom environment, which can have a large impact on the learning experience of neurodiverse students. These themes were then presented in our workshop with staff members at the Anna Freud Centre whereby we worked together to discuss solutions and identify which of our themes could be feasibly incorporated into the everyday classroom environment within the Anna Freud Centre. Although our project was small through the information gained from the staff and student partnership we will be creating and distributing a leaflet summarising our findings and the suggestions we wish to continue to incorporate within the Anna Freud Centre to make it an inclusive environment for neurodiverse students.


Sometimes things in your project may not go as planned. For us we experienced set-backs which had a domino effect on our recruitment and led to us changing the format of how we gathered information (We went from focus groups to using interviews/qualitative questionnaires). So, our advice is to be flexible on how to approach these problems and not get too shaken by them especially when you’re strapped for time. Also, your staff partners can be a life-saver to minimise these setbacks when they arise.

Improving the wellbeing of students at UCL who identify as male through physical activity

The team
Lead students: Anne Cole and Nadia Yeo
Support students: Millie Morgan, Letitia Leong, Marta Radosevic
Project Active Lead: Lilley Kennedy

Psychology and Language Sciences

What happened?
Our project has continued the work of a project completed last year. Our aim has been to increase the participation in Project Active classes of students who identify as male. Project Active runs engaging, non-competitive physical activity classes and the aim is to improve student wellbeing across the UCL community. We used behavioural science theories to gather data through surveys and focus groups to understand what could facilitate increased uptake of classes amongst male students. Results included increasing awareness, focusing on the social element of classes and providing incentives and loyalty schemes. The team and Project Active are now devising an initiative that can be rolled out in Term 1 2023 drawing on this data.
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone thinking of doing a ChangeMakers project?
Ensure you have clear, achievable goals and have a clear timeline with other teams.

Supporting students with mental health difficulties during their studies

The team
Staff lead: Sarah Rowe
PGTA lead: Aisha Alyafei
MSc student leads: Hania Khatib, Magdalena Tomaskova
MSc students: Heema Ajeet Gokani, Alejandro Arguelles Bullon, Ruby Jarvis, Hannah Williams, Zahra Fatima, Melisa Yilmaz
PhD student and Lived experience mentor/Peer support group lead: Natasha Lyons

Division of Psychiatry

What happened?
For our project we wanted to know how effectively we support students with mental health difficulties during their time on our one-year MSc programme. It is important to raise awareness of the accessibility of support on the MSc, particularly to international students or those who may be less familiar with how to navigate mental health support. We also want to promote a supportive and inclusive environment on our MSc. We conducted focus groups with past and current students who have lived experience of mental health difficulties, about the various sources of support we offer on our MSc (e.g. lived experience bursary, lived experience mentor, peer support group), and wider mental health support via the university, and where there may be gaps we need to address. Upon completing our focus groups, some of the key things we found were: 1) students are often aware that there’s mental health support but not the specifics about what is available and how to access these. 2) students often feel overloaded with information and emails at the beginning of the year when this information is provided 3) the processes when applying for support felt lengthy and discouraging, 4) academic support provided by the MSc team e.g. extensions, was viewed as being efficient and helpful, 5) feeling connected to their peers, peer support and social activities had a positive influence on a student’s mental health. These findings informed two separate guidance documents – one for students and one for programmes/departments – on how to support students with mental health difficulties during their studies. We produced a blog to promote the sources of support available via the MSc programme, and a case study for programme teams at UCL.
What advice or encouragement would you give to someone thinking of doing a ChangeMakers project?
To ensure a successful and impactful ChangeMakers project, drafting a plan as early as possible with clear project tasks and deadlines is key. Allocating roles and tasks amongst the project team members and frequent meetings to incorporate everyone’s ideas and perspectives will help enrich the project. Taking notes throughout the project and during meetings helps keep things on track and keeps records of completed tasks. Teamwork is vital. As this project required many individuals to come together and contribute, establishing initial face to face meetings can help instil a sense of connectedness and comfort between team members working together.