Hello, my neurodivergent comrade!
(Sorry, my neurotypical friends, I might ask you some questions another time, but this is not that time.)
I’m a PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan, studying ancient Greeks (woot!), but I’m absolutely fed up with being marginalized for being neurodivergent. Meanwhile I noticed a few weeks ago that again neurodiversity hasn’t made it onto the semester’s themes for the larger college’s DEI initiatives.
So, apparently neurodivergent folks needs to get onto these DEI committees and start advocating for neurodiversity on Michigan’s campus. A professor suggested that person ought to be me, so fine I’ll do it. I’ll be starting by volunteering for the Classics Department’s DEI committee, but it’s a start at least.
One major problem with me advocating for neurodiversity on a DEI committee is that I only know my own experience of neurodivergence, and I’ve only come to recognize myself as autistic with the last year or so (after so many years). So I am woefully ignorant about the vast range of neurodivergent experience. Please help cure my ignorance so I can help UofM not be so ignorant! (The links at the end if you want to skip my neurodivergent-length explanation, for which I half-apologize, or only like one-third apologize lol.)
I’m trying to gather data on what accommodations fellow neurodivergent folks yourselves think would enhance your experience and improve your performance and outcomes. I take these three themes to be at the core of a college campus for a student, based admittedly on my own experience: a student’s experience while they get their degree, their performance in their courses and other academic responsibilities, and their chances of securing a stable, fulfilling and impactful life for themselves after their degree, in whatever direction they go.
I am concerned as well about graduate students, though we’re only a minority on any campus, we are a group in whom the university is making a substantial investment, and for substantial reason, so they ought to be made aware of how best to serve all of their students as a neurodiverse group. Undergraduate accommodations are not enough, when (I suspect) many if not most graduate programs have a neurodivergent majority among students and instructors alike.
This is an anonymous survey because I do not want anyone to be in any trouble for anything they might share about their experience or to feel any constraint in answering a question honestly.
I know that I don’t know enough about neurodivergent experiences on college campuses; but I also know that if I’ll ever manage to make any kind of effective change on any campus, I need to understand much more broadly and deeply than I do right now.
Plus, I already know I can’t turn to the overwhelming (literally) majority of doctors, psychiatrists and scientific researchers working on different neurodivergences, since their models are deficit based and now I have legitimate scientific proof that it is not a matter of hypo- but of hyper-, not deficit but excess (check out this earlier post about that study and the theory of autism it proposes called Intense World Theory).
No one will ever see a word of your answers except me. My intent is to more deeply understand the neurodivergent community to which I’ve only just realized I’ve always belonged. (See my other posts for more on my neurodivergence: on forcing off my neuro-mask and reflections on eye-contact.) In short: I was diagnosed with ADHD at 21 and finally put together that I’m autistic within the last year (I’m turning 35 this year), so my understanding of neurodivergent experience is limited, and limited to myself on top of it (except insofar as I’ve related so much to other people’s posts on neurodivergent facebook groups, for which I’m beyond grateful since it helped me understand that I am autistic, it was not in my head). Anyway, my own experience has taught me that it’s up to us neurodivergent folks ourselves to bring on the changes we need in order to thrive. Help me do that for the younger people who enter college after us!
Take the survey here, and thank you so much!!!
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