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Grants for conference speakers

Understood Conference Speaker Award offers grants and recognition to conference speakers who support our mission of helping people with learning and thinking differences thrive. The Understood Conference Speaker Award is aimed at fostering awareness and reducing stigma. We want experts in the field of learning and thinking differences to be able to share their knowledge with individuals, families, educators, and other professionals.

Past award winners

Christina Cipriano

Christina Cipriano, PhD, is an associate professor at the Yale Child Study Center and director of the Education Collaboratory at Yale. Read more about Dr. Cipriano.

Presentation: Promoting inclusive mindsets and practices with SEL: Centering students who learn and think differently in SEL implementation

How it furthers our mission: Dr. Cipriano’s research advances equitable and inclusive practices in the science of social-emotional learning (SEL). This includes pedagogies, implementation, and outcomes, conducted in partnership with the community. It’s all public-facing, open science that educators, parents, and researchers can access and use.

Funding details

  • Each awardee is eligible for up to $2,500 in funding.

  • This grant will provide unrestricted funds for costs associated with sharing your expertise as a presenter, such as travel reimbursement.

  • Understood will also provide practical support, such as identifying free resources you can share in alignment with your presentation.

  • The award is contingent upon the applicant being accepted as a conference speaker.

  • We will award grants to up to 10 speakers in 2024.


  • Anyone who is dedicated to the field of learning and thinking differences can apply.

  • We prioritize active Understood Experts. 

  • Applicants’ presentation topics must align with Understood’s mission, and/or applicants must have a connection to Understood. 

  • The award is contingent upon the applicant being accepted as a conference speaker.

  • We prioritize presentations that are focused on approaches grounded in evidence, poised for scalable impact, accessible, and affordable. 

  • Applicants must demonstrate expertise and experience in the subject matter they propose to present on, in the field of neurodiversity and learning and thinking differences. This includes a review of their professional background, credentials, previous speaking engagements, previous media or interviews, research papers, press articles, publications, and any other relevant accomplishments.

  • Applicants must demonstrate an equitable perspective in the content they propose for their presentations. We will prioritize presentations that focus on reaching underserved and marginalized populations. 

  • Applicants must demonstrate significant leadership/thought leadership experience in the field of learning and thinking differences. This can be through board membership, publications, consultation, or organizational leadership. It could also be through current impact in the field, such as making a difference in your classroom or workplace.  

  • Potential applicants who believe their work meets most of this criteria are welcome to apply.

Submission details

  • We accept applications on a rolling basis. 

  • Please allow us up to one month to review your application.

  • Those who apply and are not accepted are welcome to reapply in the following rounds.

Accessing the application

  • For more details and to apply, use this link: Understood Conference Speaker Award Application

  • Please note: The application form doesn’t let you save and come back. We encourage you to draft your responses in advance so you can copy and paste them into the form. Or you can use the attachment sections.

Questions about the award

If you have questions about the application or grant award, reach out to Chelsea Roldan, Expert Network Senior Manager (

Understood Conference Speaker Award Review Panel

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