Neurodiversity @ Mines
we all have different types of brains
In the same way we understand that there is no “correct” or “incorrect” gender or race, the neurodiversity paradigm teaches that there is no “correct” or “incorrect” type of brain. People with differences in brain behavior should be valued for their unique strengths, and not stigmatized for their differences. Neurodiversity is a positive and affirming concept that signals that all people — both neurotypical and neurodivergent — deserve respect and inclusion.
Neurodivergent individuals are all different — but may have a wide array of strengths, such as incredible focus on preferred projects, strong passion for social justice, an ability to think broadly and creativity, excellent pattern-recognition skills, and the capacity to work independently. Despite these strengths, neurodivergent people may face significant challenges, such as feeling misunderstood, staying organized, meeting deadlines, coping with overt or subtle bullying, and masking neurodivergent characteristics to better fit in — all of which may lead to anxiety, depression, or mental burn-out.
The vision of the Neurodiversity@Mines project is to foster dialogue so that we may cultivate a more inclusive environment for neurodivergent students, faculty, and staff.
Training & Resources
- Neurodiversity@Mines: A Roadmap to a More Neuro-Inclusive Campus was presented as a poster at the regional ASEE conference in May 2023.
- Neurodiversity 101: Embracing Neuro-Differences in the Classroom and the Workplace was presented as a workshop at the 2023 Celebration of DI&A at Mines. A handout with actionable strategies was distributed.
- The Voices and Vignettes survey was created in Spring 2023 to provide a safe (anonymous) space for Mines students, faculty, and staff to share their thoughts about neurodiversity. These ten excerpts from ten individuals showcase the range of responses received.
- In Fall 2024, campus departments and units may request a ND presentation from Susan Reynolds. Work on these workshops is underway, but three types of training activities are planned:
- a 10-minute brief introduction (What is Neurodiversity?)
- a 50-minute overview (An Overview of Neurodiversity@Mines)
- a 50-minute workshop (Actionable Strategies that Support Neuro-Inclusivity at Mines)
Tips for Faculty
Please consider using neuro-inclusive language on your syllabus or in your course materials. Please feel free to adapt or use these suggestions.
Work on this section is in progress – check back later for more specific tips.
Tips for Students
Your professor may or may not be familiar with neurodiversity. If you identify as neurodivergent (and regardless of whether or not you have DSS accommodations), we suggest that you meet your professors to communicate your unique strengths as well as your challenges that may need support.
If your professor is not familiar with neurodiversity, you may wish to direct them to this website first. Mines faculty have the ability to support your neurodivergent learning style and strengths in many ways, but generally won’t offer individualized assistance unless you ask for it.
Work on this section is in progress – be sure to check back later for more tips.
Allies & Support
Need support from a Neurodiversity@Mines ally and advocate? Please feel free to contact:
- Susan Reynolds, email@example.com, Teaching Professor (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
- Eliza Buhrer, firstname.lastname@example.org, Teaching Associate Professor (Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences)
- Mary Elliot, email@example.com, Executive Director of Residence Life and Auxiliary Services
- Lisa Nickum, firstname.lastname@example.org, Systems Discovery Librarian, Arthur Lakes Library
Faculty and staff: would you like to be added to the list? Please contact Susan Reynolds. Anyone who is committed to supporting neuro-inclusivity at Mines is welcome to join the list of allies.
Prof. Susan Reynolds is working on Neurodiversity @ Mines as a DI&A Fellow. Please get in touch if you’d like to collaborate with her and other ND allies on campus.