The Neurodiversity Initiative: A Promising Practice for Promoting Disability Awareness in Higher Education
The Neurodiversity Initiative at the College of William and Mary seeks to educate the campus about the positive aspects of embracing neurodiversity, and ultimately to be a model for other campuses. As stated on their website, "The Neurodiversity Initiative is an innovative program that is raising awareness on our campus of the vast array of brain differences and cultivating an appreciation of the many kinds of talents we can nurture at our historic institution. We seek both to serve our campus community and to be a model for other campuses with regard to how to engage this issue and support these students." The program has two goals. The first goal is for "Neurodivergent students of all types to be comfortable and successful" through enhanced supports on campus, including the counseling center and residence halls. Their second goal is to make the campus community "aware of both the unique strengths and unique needs of neurodiverse people." The Initiative explicitly states that neurological diversity joins racial and cultural diversity as essential elements at the university.
The Neurodiversity Working Group—composed of administrators, alumni, community partners, faculty, staff, and students—organizes campus events and programs in support of the Neurodiversity Initiative.
The Neurodiversity Initiative is viewed as a Promising Practice for its enthusiastic work to promote disability awareness at an institute of higher education, and its involvement of high-level administrators among broad membership.
For more information about neurodiversity, visit Across Campus and Beyond: A Promising Practice to Increase Conversations about Neurodiversity in the Engineering Classroom, California Academy of Sciences: A Promising Practice in Planning for Visitors who are Neurodiverse, and the Neuroscience for Neurodiverse Learners website.