academic gears


voice ped for real life


Neurodiversity in the Voice Studio Self-Directed Classes coming soon!
click here to be the first to know when they're ready


If you’re a voice teacher (which: if you’re not, that’s cool … but whatcha’ doin’ over here on my website? #justcurious), you’re working with neurodivergent* singers, whether you know it or not. #pinkyswear

Several randomly-placed, brass-coloured cogs lay on a dark grey, patterned surface.


If you’re not working intentionally to support neurodivergent singers, chances are high you are missing out on opportunities to serve them even better than you already do.


Practically everything you do to support neurodivergent singers also serves the rest of your studio population better. #imnotevenkiddingrightnow



Which is why I developed The Spring Break Intensive:


  • THREE 90-minute #voiceped classes with Dr. Shannon Coates (that’s me!) focussed on working with neurodivergent singers in the voice studio
    • ADHD in the Voice Studio
    • Autism in the Voice Studio
    • Creating Inclusive Voice Studios
  • ONE 90-minute panel presentation with neurodivergent voice teachers & educators, Dr. Shannon Coates (ME AGAIN!) and Elizabeth Barry
    • Teaching While Neurodivergent
  • ONE 90-minute panel discussion with the above-mentioned folks AND neurodiversity affirming therapist, Dori Zener
  • Class replays available until the end of April

a five day neurodiversity affirming intensive for independent voice teachers

Image of a steampunk heart with gears inside. This icon is part of the Dr. Shannon Coates brand.

Shannon Coates has a unique understanding of the practical needs of the Inclusive Studio; I can’t think of another individual person with so much expertise and the ability to convey it.

The Neurodivergent Voice Class was one of my favorite classes EVER. Your passion (deeply inspired, of course) and knowledge of the content, combined with the practical application (as you always do), was stunning. I look forward to diving even deeper into it and exploring further the idea trees and mapping, with several students in particular.

The class was wonderfully informative and I walked away with several ideas that I have already begun to implement. I also wanted to thank you for your compassionate explanation of neurodivergence and for the authentic explanation that allowed me to see myself. Thank you for an interesting and informative class that has already been helpful for my lessons with both my neurodivergent and neurotypical students!

  • My confidence is soaring because of the knowledge I have and the results I am seeing.

  • I come away from Shannon's sessions invigorated, encouraged, and so excited to get back in the studio!

  • I feel like you've brought me full circle in my teaching.

    Elspeth Maynard, Voice Teacher & Educator (Windsor, Canada)

  • I am currently doing a Voice Ped Practicum with Shannon and a group of fabulous voice teachers. The Practicum gave me an opportunity to dive into learning in a hands on, non traditional way that sparked my excitement, interest and curiosity. My co-workers have noticed my joy at work, which is in part due to having our classes spaced out to meet restrictions (which gives me time to BREATHE), but also due to the fact I am excited to go in to work and see RESULTS in my students. I feel valuable. I know when I meet an issue I don’t understand, I have a support group to offer help, insight, and the most current research around any given topic. If we don’t know, we learn together. I am asking questions and getting answers. I am finding new sounds within myself. I am finding myself practicing more, making plans, and dreaming. I am literally full of happiness because I feel I have found something special in what Shannon offers to people like me (aka voice teachers who have not received their doctorate in voice but are successfully working in the field). My confidence is soaring because of the knowledge I have and the results I am seeing.

The Spring Break Intensive *UPDATED* Schedule

class replays available until end of April


spring intensive date 6 April, 2022.

10:00-11:30 EST - class w dr shannon coates


  • defining ADHD & how it can affect behaviour and learning
  • supporting ADHD processing & learning in the voice studio
spring intensive date 6 April, 2022.

12:00-1:30 EST - class w dr shannon coates


  • defining autism & how it can affect behaviour and learning
  • supporting autistic singers in the voice studio
spring intensive date 7 April, 2022.

10:00-11:30 EST - class w dr shannon coates


  • inclusivity through the lens of neurodiversity
  • exploring neurodiversity intersections & how supporting neurodivergent singers also affirms LGTBQ+, women, BIPOC, disabled, mentally ill, traumatized, and gender-diverse singers
  • changing policies, studio setup, teaching methods, and learning expectations for more inclusive voice studios
spring intensive date 7 April, 2022.

12:00-1:30 EST - panel presentation w dr shannon coates & elizabeth barry


  • how neurodivergent (pro- & self-) diagnoses affirmed & confirmed allll the things
  • allll of the things we were doing pre-diagnoses to self-support as voice teachers & studio owners
  • allll of the things we now lean in to &/or intentionally implement since diagnoses
Spring Intensive date 8 April bronze

12:00-1:30 EST - panel discussion w dr shannon coates & elizabeth barry & dori zener


  • monitored, open-forum panel discussion with neurodivergent voice teachers & educators, and neurodiversity therapist
  • ask allll the questions, get allll the answers (okay, maybe not ALLLL the answers ... but we'll do our best!)
  • all times are eastern (Toronto/New York) time
  • all classes occur in the #voicepedrev(olution) zoom room
  • participants will receive an individualized zoom room link upon registration

The Spring Break Intensive Classes & Panels

Hover over, or click on the classes below for details.

The Spring Break Intensive Day 1 ADHD in the Voice Studio

ADHD in the Voice Studio

In this class, Shannon will outline some of the defining traits of ADHD & how those traits tend to show up in the learning & behaviour of singers in the voice studio. Providing insight from personal experience & two decades of teaching, and culled from current ADHD research, Shannon will provide concrete tools & immediately applicable strategies that voice teachers can use to support this segment of their studio population.

The Spring Break Intensive Day 2 Autism in the Voice Studio

Autism in the Voice Studio

As the saying goes, if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person. Having said that, there are defining traits of autism and, in this class, Shannon will clearly outline those traits & how they may show up in the voice studio. Voice teachers can expect to learn inclusive approaches to use in the voice studio that are based on Shannon’s extensive experience working with autistic singers, supporting her own autistic children, and learning from autistic adults.

The Spring Break Intensive Day 3 Building Inclusive Voice Studios

Building Inclusive Voice Studios

From cancelation policies to studio recitals to motivating practice to studio space, in this class voice teachers will learn practical and immediately applicable ways to build more inclusive voice studios through an intersectional, neurodiversity-affirming lens.

The Spring Break Intensive Day 4 Teaching While Neurodivergent

Teaching While Neurodivergent

Shannon joins forces with business owner, multidisciplinary performer, and #actuallyautistic educator, Elizabeth Barry in an interactive panel presentation discussing the impact of teaching while neurodivergent pre- and post-diagnoses. Voice teachers will come away with tested strategies for leaning in to neurodivergent processes (rather than fighting them) while teaching. And validation. Voice teachers will come away with lots of validation. #pinkyswear

Several randomly-placed, brass-coloured cogs lay on a dark grey, patterned surface.
The Spring Break Intensive Day 5 Neurodiversity Panel Discussion

Neurodiversity Panel Discussion

Neurodiveristy-affirming therapist, Dori Zener, joins Shannon and Elizabeth in an interactive panel discussion based on, well, whatever you want to know! All Spring Break Intensive participants will be given multiple opportunities to ask questions about anything neurodiversity-related and we will gather them up throughout the Intensive and get them all answered in this final session.

Meet The Presenters

 Hover over, or click on the presenter below for details.


The Spring Break Intensive Speaker: Shannon Coates, DMA

Shannon Coates

neurodivergent voice teacher & educator

Shannon Coates (she/they) is a voice teacher, speaker, and educator from near Toronto, Canada. In 2019, after nearly two decades of owning and operating a successful independent voice studio where she taught avocational to professional singers of all ages, in western-classical, music theatre, and popular musics styles, Shannon began to focus exclusively on mentoring voice teachers and developing training and educational resources specifically for independent teachers. She has a significant social media presence where she curates and distributes information related to voice pedagogy and whose platforms she uses to promote and discuss the subjects she is especially passionate about: making teaching best-practices explicit and applicable in the independent voice studio, and creating inclusive voice studios through the lens of neurodiversity.

The Spring Break Intensive Speaker: Elizabeth Barry, MMUS

Elizabeth Barry

business owner, multidisciplinary performer, & #actuallyautistic educator

Elizabeth Barry (she/her) is a business owner, multidisciplinary performer, and #ActuallyAutistic Educator. She co-founded Grand Rapids Voice Collective in 2018 where she currently serves as the Studio’s Director and manages a staff of 4 voice teachers. As an educator, Elizabeth is quick to recognize the unique talents an individual has in order to help them maximize what already comes naturally to them. Her performance experience as a ballerina, competitive dancer, opera singer, and musical theatre chorister helps provide a broad perspective for the folx she works with. As a neurodivergent human, some of Elizabeth’s areas of hyper focus include gardening, corgis, Gwen Verdon/Bob Fosse, and vintage movie musicals.

The Spring Break Intensive Dori Zener, MSW RSW

Dori Zener

neurodiversity affirming therapist

Dori Zener (she/her) has been working with Neurodivergent individuals and their loved ones for over fifteen years using evidence-based therapy techniques to help her clients achieve their goals and enhance their lives. Dori presents regularly at conferences the world over on the topic of Autism and mental health and she endeavours to expand understanding and acceptance of autism by collaborating on research projects, consulting on corporate activities, and publishing articles. Dori’s Toronto-based clinic emerged from a need for respectful, client-focused psychotherapy and skill development for autistic children, teens, adults, and their families, and is composed of mental health clinicians and neurodivergent peers who are united by a passion to help autistic individuals and their loved ones thrive.

The Spring Break Intensive

10:00-11:30 & 12:00-1:30 (est)
W to F | 6-8 April



What if I can’t be there live for every (or any) class?

  • Anyone who registers in advance will have access to class recordings until the end of April (note: the Panel Discussion will not be recorded; if you wanna’ get in on that action, you’ll need to do it live)

I am fairly up on neurodiversity research and ways to structure my studio for inclusivity; will the Intensive be more of a “neurodiversity 101” or will there be something there for those of us who have a deeper understanding of the topic?

  • While there may be some review for folks who are more informed, I am also presenting as much recent research and ideas as I can AND I’ve invited a neurodiversity-affirming therapist who supports neurodivergent folks for a living, so this Intensive is the kind of deep dive that most folks don’t have the time to make for themselves. I sincerely think there’s something here for everyone.

* Coined by multiply neurodivergent Hapa (biracial Asian) autistic activist, Kassiane Asasumasu, the word “neurodivergent” is emerging as the preferred ‘umbrella term’ to describe a wide array of neuro-differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, tourettes, and bipolar. More information about the history and current usage of terms such as ‘neurodiverse’, ‘neurodiversity’, and ‘neurotypical’, may be found in this article by Dr. Nick Walker.


Skip to content