Neurodiversity is the rule rather than the exception. What are you doing to support the neurodiversity of all students?
While neurodiversity isn’t a novel concept in higher education, there is still a lot of confusion around its definition as well as its implications for the classroom and campus life.
Contrary to some beliefs, neurodiversity, or learner variability, applies to all students. Essentially, neurodiversity is the idea that neurological and learning differences among people are the result of naturally occurring variations within the human genome. Rather than looking for a cure to “fix” neurodiverse behaviours, neurodiversity focuses on accommodating and supporting the diverse population. Human brains all learn differently; therefore, neurodiversity should be regarded as the rule, not the exception.
If you wish to build or improve the neurodiversity initiative on your campus, join us for this workshop where you will learn a variety of ways to support your diverse student body, including:
- How to build awareness of neurodiversity on your campus to propel the paradigm and mindset shift forward
- How to create a culture of student self-advocacy and agency
- Why Universal Design Learning (UDL) is a crucial framework to support the diverse needs of students in the classroom
- How to design flexible assessments that allow students multiple options to demonstrate their mastery
- What communication techniques you can use to enhance how students experience all areas of campus
You will leave this course with a new understanding of what neurodiversity means in higher education, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Designing for Diversity: Using Universal Design Learning Principles to Enhance Curriculum
As of now, much of our curriculum is initially designed as if learners are "neurosimilar" then retrofitted for those who don't meet that mold. What if we can initially design for the diversity, enhancing curriculum so that it accommodates the needs of some but is a usable option for everyone? In this workshop, you will start by asking yourself what you want your students to be able to know or do and then work backwards, using the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) framework, to rethink how you present material and assess competency.
Who Should Attend
This conference is designed for those looking to optimize and improve the learning experience of their neurodiverse student body.
This conference is appropriate for:
- those who are just getting started
- those who already have a neurodiversity initiative on their campus but want to take it to the next level
Do you have questions about the content of this training or its fit for your needs? Email our Program Manager, Ashley Brand, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your registration for the event includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, breakfast on Wednesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.
Post-conference attendees will be provided with lunch on Wednesday too.
12:30 to 5:30 p.m.
This program will begin by showing you how to fundamentally change your approach to supporting students. We will discuss what neurodiversity is and isn’t, keeping in mind that all students are neurodiverse. We will also begin to realize that in order to support students’ learning and growth, we cannot simply do things the way we have always done.
Awareness of neurodiversity often starts with the student. In this session, you will learn how to help students help themselves. You will learn how to encourage students to have agency over their learning, how to help them understand their strengths, and how to facilitate student groups.
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Human brains all learn differently, and neurodiversity is a rule not an exception. We will explore how Universal Design Learning can be a powerful framework for accommodating learner variability in the classroom.
How will you know that all students are learning successfully? We will explore how to design flexible assessments which give students the opportunity to show what they know in more than one way.
In this session, you will hear about how learning centers can offer one-on-one support and adaptive technologies to create an environment where students can be successful.
Neurodiversity considerations are not just restricted to the classroom. Our speakers will share communication techniques to enhance how students experience all areas of campus (including Admissions, Advancement, and the Career Center) as well as programming and partnership options to encourage neurodiversity beyond campus.
Putting It Into Action
Main Conference: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Post-Conference Workshop: 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
How can you procure funding and use resources smartly when launching neurodiversity initiatives? Our speakers will share different ways they were able to fund a variety of efforts on their campuses.
What’s next for higher education in terms of supporting neurodiverse students? What are our next steps in creating an environment that not only supports but encourages neurodiversity? This session includes working time.
During this final session, you will have a chance to ask our panel of speakers any remaining questions about their experiences and lessons learned in spearheading neurodiversity initiatives, designing for learner variability, and partnering across campus.
As of now, much of our curriculum is initially designed as if learners are "neurosimilar" then retrofitted for those who don't meet that mold. What if we can initially design for the diversity, enhancing curriculum so that it is necessary for some, usable by everyone? In this workshop, you will start by asking yourself what you want your students to be able to know or do and then work backwards, using the UDL framework to rethink how you present material and assess competency.
Josh Burk, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Faculty Affiliate in the Neuroscience Program, College of William & Mary
Currently, Professor Burk’s studies the neural mechanisms underlying differences in attentional processing. In collaboration with Professor Cheryl Dickter, he researches how differences in autistic behaviors and social anxiety affect emotion processing. Professor Burk is also one of the co-chairs of the Neurodiversity Initiative at William & Mary. He co-teaches a course, Neurodiversity, two times each year, in addition to assisting with programming associated with the Neurodiversity Initiative.
Dr. Cherylyn Cameron
Dean of the School of Community Studies and the School of Creative Technologies, Bow Valley College
Dr. Cameron has taught and held several senior administrative positions in the post-secondary system for over 30 years. She is committed to academic excellence balanced with learner centred principles in teaching and learning to educate competent, confident, and caring human service professionals. As co-chair of the Learner Success Committee and Special Advisor to the Vice-President Academic, she is currently developing a strategy to implement Universal Design for Learning Principles college-wide.
Dr. Elizabeth Coghill
Director of the Pirate Academic Success Center, East Carolina University
Dr. Elizabeth Coghill is responsible for the establishment and development of the university learning center, including scope of services, new academic support initiatives, program evaluation and assessment, training, national certification, and accreditation. She currently serves as the President of the National College Learning Center Association’s regional affiliate, the Southeastern College Learning Center Association. In addition, Dr. Coghill has been an advocate for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in higher education environments.
Cheryl L. Dickter, Ph.D.
Professor for Teaching Excellence, College of William & Mary
Cheryl L. Dickter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and a faculty affiliate of the Neuroscience Program and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. She examines the degree to which individual differences in autistic behaviors and social anxiety affect emotion identification and the neural processing of emotions. Dr. Dickter is a member of the Neurodiversity Working Group at William and Mary, which focuses on supporting neurodiverse students.
Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.
Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.
Questions About the Event?
Program Manager, Academic Impressions