This conference was held on the 6th December 2022 and bookings have now closed.
On Tuesday 6th December 2022 the Centre for Developmental and Complex Trauma, in collaboration with the RADiANT Network NHS Group, held the Trauma and Neurodiverse Populations online conference where we were joined by 210 delegates.
Neurodiverse populations are significantly more likely to be exposed to trauma and adversity across the lifespan, yet they are significantly under represented in trauma frameworks, services and innovations.
The event brought together national and international experts to offer a clinically focused programme to inform our understanding of the trauma needs and treatment approaches for this population.
The feedback from our delegates was exceptionally positive with 100% of those surveyed reporting that they would change their work based practice as a result of attending the conference and that they had learnt something new from attending the conference!
Here are just a few of the wonderful comments from our delegates...
Thank you! fantastic speakers and whole day so well run and organised ... Thank you for a hugely interesting day ... Thank you for such a thought provoking and wll planned conference, really helpful to me ... thanks great conference and learnt so much! ... Thank you - a really fascinating day ... Thank you, this was an excellent conference
Professor Regi Alexander
President, Intellectual Disability Forum, Royal Society of Medicine Associate Dean, RCP,
Visiting Professor, University of Hertfordshire
Regi Alexander is a practising Intellectual Disability psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience treating people with learning or developmental disability and mental health problems. He is the current President of the Intellectual Disability Forum, Royal Society of Medicine, and Associate Dean, Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire and Deputy Editor of British Journal of Psychiatry Open. Finally, he is the Convenor of RADiANT (Research in Developmental Neuropsychiatry) @RADIANTCRG
Dr Arvid Nikolai Kildahl
Norwegian Advisory Unit for Mental Health in Intellectual Disabilities
Arvid Nikolai Kildahl, PhD/Specialist Psychologist, has worked as a clinical psychologist in specialised mental health services for adults with intellectual disabilities for more than a decade. In 2021, he defended his PhD in psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway, entitled: “Identification of post-traumatic stress disorder in autistic adults with intellectual disabilities: An explorative study of symptom manifestations and challenges in assessment”. He is currently employed 50% as a clinician and 50% as an advisor/researcher at the Oslo University Hospital, and is affiliated with the Norwegian Advisory Unit for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities. His current research focuses on identification of PTSD in adults with intellectual disabilities, families’ experiences of conflict with care systems, as well as the mental health of people with severe/profound intellectual disabilities.
Kildahl, A. N., & Jørstad, I. (2022). Case report: Post-traumatic stress disorder symptom manifestations in an autistic man with severe intellectual disability following coercion and scalding. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 47(2), 190-194. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2021.1995930
Kildahl, A. N., Bakken, T. L., Matre, E. A. W., Hellerud, J. M. A., Engebretsen, M. H., & Helverschou, S. B. (2021). Case study: Identification of anxiety and subsequent intervention in an adolescent male with autism, severe intellectual disability and self-injurious behaviour. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 67(5), 327-338. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2020.1850160
Kildahl, A. N., Helverschou, S. B., Bakken, T. L., & Oddli, H. W. (2020). “If we do not look for it, we do not see it”: Clinicians’ experiences and understanding of identifying post-traumatic stress disorder in adults with autism and intellectual disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 33(5), 1119-1132. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12734
Kildahl, A. N., Helverschou, S. B., Bakken, T. L., & Oddli, H. W. (2020). “Driven and tense, stressed out and anxious”: Clinicians’ perceptions of post-traumatic stress disorder symptom expressions in adults with autism and intellectual disability. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 13(3), 201-230. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315864.2020.1760972
Kildahl, A. N., Helverschou, S. B. & Oddli, H. W. (2020). Clinicians’ retrospective perceptions of failure to detect sexual abuse in a young man with autism and mild intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 45(2), 194-202. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2019.1680821
Kildahl, A. N., Oddli, H. W., & Helverschou, S. B. (2020). Potentially traumatic experiences and behavioural symptoms in adults with autism and intellectual disability referred for psychiatric assessment. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 107, 103788. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103788
Kildahl, A. N., Bakken, T. L., Iversen, T. E., & Helverschou, S. B. (2019). Identification of post-traumatic stress disorder in individuals with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability: A systematic review. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 12(1-2), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315864.2019.1595233
Bakken, T. L., Gjersøe, V., Matre, E., Kristiansen, T., Ro, A., Tveter, A. L., Høidal, S. H., & Kildahl, A. N. (2014). PTSD in adults with intellectual disabilities: Stabilisation during inpatient stay. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8(4), 237-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-10-2013-0061
Bakken, T. L., Kildahl, A. N., Gjersøe, V., Matre, E., Kristiansen, T., Ro, A., Tveter, A. L. & Høidal, S. H. (2014). Identification of PTSD in adults with intellectual disabilities in five patients in a specialised psychiatric inpatient unit. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8(2), 91-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-01-2013-0002
Other selected publications
Dalhaug, K. C., Storvik, K., & Kildahl, A. N. (2022). Undiagnosed psychotic disorder in autistic individuals with intellectual disabilities and suspected obsessive-compulsive disorder: An explorative, clinical study. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1080/19315864.2022.2117880
Iversen, S., & Kildahl, A. N. (2022). Case report: Mechanisms in misdiagnosis of autism as borderline personality disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 735205. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.735205
Rysstad, A. L., Kildahl, A. N., Skavhaug, J. O., Dønnum, M. S., & Helverschou, S. B. (2022). Case study: Organization of outpatient pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder in autism, intellectual disability and Phelan-McDermid syndrome (22q13.3 deletion syndrome). International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 68(3), 378-387. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2020.1756113
Kildahl, A. N., Helverschou, S. B., Rysstad, A. L., Wigaard, E., Hellerud, J. M. A., Ludvigsen, L. B., & Howlin, P. (2021). Pathological demand avoidance in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Autism, 25(8), 2162-2176. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211034382
Helverschou, S. B., Bakken, T. L., Berge, H., Bjørgen, T. G., Botheim, H., Hellerud, J. A., Helseth, I., Hove, O., Johansen, P. A., Kildahl, A. N., Ludvigsen, L. B., Nygaard, S., Rysstad, A., Wigaard, E., & Howlin, P. (2021). Preliminary findings from a nationwide, multicenter mental health service for adults and older adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and ID. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 18(2), 162-173. https://doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12366
Helverschou, S. B., Ludvigsen, L. B., Hove, O., & Kildahl, A. N. (2021). Psychometric properties of the Psychopathology in Autism Checklist (PAC). International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 67(5), 318-326. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2021.1910779
Sommerstad, H. S., Kildahl, A. N., Munkhaugen, E. K., Karlsen, K., & Bakken, T. L. (2021). Experiences of ward atmosphere in inpatients with intellectual disability and mental illness. Clinical implications for mental health nursing. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 67(5), 339-348. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2021.1900507
Kildahl, A. N., Berg, L. K., Nilssen, A. L. E., Bjørgo, K., Rødningen, O. & Helverschou, S. B. (2020). Case Report: Psychiatric Assessment in Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (22q13 Deletion Syndrome). Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, 45(1), 54-58. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2018.1440135
Kildahl, A. N., Engebretsen, M. H., & Helverschou S. B. (2019). Attachment disorder in autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 13(2), 57-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-09-2018-0039
Kildahl, A. N., Engebretsen, M. H., Horndalsveen, K., Hellerud, J., Wiik, J. Y., Aasen, G. & Helverschou, S. B. (2019). Psychiatric assessment in congenital blindness, ASD and ID: Experience from two clinical cases. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 13(5), 194-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-03-2019-0007
Bakken, T. L., Sageng, H., Hellerud, J. M. A., Kildahl, A. N. & Kristiansen, T. (2017). The use of validation in mental health nursing for adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness: A descriptive study. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 38, 619-623. https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840.2017.1330910
Kildahl, A. N., Bakken, T. L., Holm, O. K. & Helverschou, S. B. (2017). Assessment of psychosis in ASD/ID: A Case Study. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities 11(1), 17-23. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-11-2016-0036
Dr Liesbeth Mevissen PhD
Clinical Psychologist, EMDR Europe Consultant researcher at Trajectum, Department of Knowedge Quality & Innovation, Netherlands
Liesbeth is independently established as a teacher, supervisor, author, practitioner and consultant for the Centre for Consultation and Expertise. In addition, she is a researcher at the Trajectum Knowledge Centre and a supervisor and researcher at VGGNet.
Liesbeth has years of experience both in mental health care / child and youth psychiatry and in care for the disabled.
She is registered as a Clinical Psychologist (BIG), Orthopedagoog-Generalist (NVO), Psychotraumatherapeut NtVP and EMDR supervisor. Liesbeth obtained her PhD on research into trauma in people with intellectual disabilities.
Her particular attention is paid to diagnostics and (intensive) treatment of (complex) trauma and stressor-related problems in vulnerable target groups such as people with an intellectual disability or weak giftedness and people with autism. Liesbeth does this in collaboration with parents and others who are closely involved with the person.
Dr Sarah Wigham
Senior Research Associate
University of Newcastle
Dr Sarah Wigham is a Senior Researcher at Newcastle University (UK), an Occupational Therapist and a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (North East and North Cumbria) Mental Health Research Fellow.
Autism Spectrum Conditions in Adults
The development of health measurement scales or outcome measures
Psychometric properties of outcome measures
Mental health, trauma/ post traumatic stress disorder
Intellectual and developmental disabilities
The diagnosis of autism spectrum conditions in adults and post diagnostic support
Systematic review of outcome measures used in interventions for anxiety in children with autism spectrum conditions
Development of a measure of anxiety for children with autism spectrum conditions
Dr. Gary Byrne B.A. (Hons)
Dr. Gary Byrne B.A. (Hons), M.A., D.Clin Psyc is a Senior Clinical Psychologist presently working in Primary Care in the HSE. In 2003 Gary obtained an honours degree in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Upon completing his degree, he took up a post within an intellectual disability service followed by research roles in the area of addiction. In 2008, Gary received a Masters in Forensic Psychology from University College Cork. In 2013 he qualified as a Clinical Psychologist after completing the Doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. During his 3 years of Clinical Psychology training he worked in various services within the HSE including adult mental health, child primary care, school aged disability and early intervention. Gary also worked in the Irish Prison Service and St. John of God’s Services
Since then, Gary has worked in primary care services in the Dublin region. In this role, Gary provides psychological assessment and intervention for children, young people and adults experiencing a broad range of difficulties including depression, anxiety, OCD, behavioural difficulties and trauma. He uses a broad range evidence-based therapeutic approaches including; Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness. Gary has undergone further training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Mentalization-Based Therapies.
Dr Paddy McNally
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Consultant Forensic Psychologist
Derbyshire Community Forensic Mental Health Team & Healthcare Dept HMP Whatton
Dr Zainab Al-Attar
BSc (Hons), MSc, MA, PhD, C.Psychol (Foren), AFBPsS, CSci
University College London, University of Oxford & CREST - University of Central Lancashire
Dr Al-Attar is a Forensic Psychologist with 22 years’ experience in forensic psychology. Prior to that, she worked in neuropsychology at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels. She practices full-time in the public sector and is a part-time academic, where she specialises in teaching and research in forensic mental health, with a focus on neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr Al-Attar is also a Consultant Psychologist at Psychiatry-UK, where she works primarily in the autism team, carrying out assessments and delivering training to consultant psychiatrists. Dr Al-Attar carried our research on trauma and forensic behaviour two decades ago and has developed eLearning on trauma and mental health for the United Nations and published on trauma in the forensic context. She has published on autism, as well as regularly delivering training to a range of practitioners and presenting at national and international conferences, in this field. Dr Al-Attar has published guidelines for forensic practitioners to assist them to tailor standard risk assessment and formulation to the needs of individuals with autism and ADHD. Finally, Dr Al-Attar is a reviewer for numerous peer reviewed journals and is a member of the BPS’ expert group on terrorism.
Dr Deborah Morris
Director Centre for Developmental and Complex Trauma
Deborah is a consultant clinical psychologist who has
worked clinically with adults with complex trauma,
personality disorder, neurodevelopmental, forensic and
mental health needs in community, assertive outreach,
crisis, residential and inpatient settings. Deborah has
previously worked in professional and clinical lead positions.
Deborah is currently the Director for the Centre of
Developmental and Complex Trauma (CDCT), which focuses
on promoting the voice and needs or marginalised
populations who have experienced repeated exposure to
trauma. Her research interests and publications include;
intellectual disabilities, developmental trauma disorder,
intersectionality and inclusion in trauma, adverse childhood
experiences, complex trauma in marginalised populations
and the physical health impact of exposure to trauma.