Leanne Connolly


Contact Details

Assistant Professor

T:Ext. 9064


T:Ext. 9064

Leanne is a qualified Primary School teacher and for many years worked in a Special School, primarily with students on the Autism Spectrum with a Mild Intellectual Disability. Having supported students from age 4-19 years of age, with a range of co-morbidities, Leanne gained significant experience in using a range of autism specific teaching approaches and behavioural interventions. She completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Autism with St. Angela’s College Sligo in 2012 and completed her Masters in Special Educational Needs in Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2016. Through the Masters research, Leanne examined the impact of exercise on reducing off task behaviours which showed very positive results. 
Leanne worked as an Associate with Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) on the Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LP) team for a number of years having been one of the early schools to adopt the L2LP. In 2016, Leanne was seconded to the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Ireland's largest single support service offering professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular and educational areas. Leanne first joined the PDST Health & Wellbeing Team as an Advisor and was subsequently appointed Team Leader in June 2017. Leanne has since led a team of Advisors and Associates across Primary and Post-Primary in the area of SPHE, Wellbeing, Child Protection, Anti-Bullying as well as the new Leaving Certificate and Senior Cycle PE programmes. Leanne sat on various interagency committees and national steering groups for Wellbeing and Physical Education. 

Leanne has also lectured on the Cert/Diploma in Autism Studies with ACE in UCC, specifically in areas of Autism and Daily Living, Sensory Needs, Employment, Education and Person Centred Planning/ Positive Behaviour Supports. Leanne is interested in pursuing research in the area of Autism and Employment. Leanne lectures on the GCEAS, GDILS and MEdA programmes in DCU and coordinates the Education of pupils on the Autism Spectrum Elective on the GDILS.

Leanne is currently studying for her PhD with DCU IOE School of Human Development. Her area of study relates to guidance provision for students in Special Schools in Ireland and the role of class teachers in this regard. 


Year Publication
2022 Connolly, Leanne;Scanlon, Geraldine,;Corby, Deirdre (2022) The what, where and who of guidance and transition planning for students with intellectual disabilities in Ireland - a literature review. NEWSL
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Start date Institution Qualification Subject
01/09/2012 NUI Galway Post Graduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs Autism Spectrum Disorders Autism
01/09/2005 Dublin City University Bachelor of Education Education
01/09/2015 NUI Galway Masters of Arts in Special Educational Needs Autism Spectrum Disorders Autism

Teaching Interests

Leanne's teaching interests include autism, special education and inclusion, relationship and sexuality education & SPHE, Child Protection.

Modules Coordinated

Term Title Subject
2021-2022 Supporting Learners on the Autism Spectrum SI708