Neurodivergence welcome here

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Elizabeth Norell


After receiving a diagnosis of autism, one instructor reflects on how learning more about the autism spectrum and neurodivergence created a more inclusive environment for her students. By relaxing assumptions around what constitutes "disruptive" classroom behavior, the instructor was able to create a positive learning environment for one student who had a tendency to pace during class. This experience not only impacted the instructor's perception of what an inclusive-for-neurodivergent-students environment looked like, but it also had an impact on other students. One in particular reflected on her realization that what seemed like disruptive behavior was merely a peer being himself. The instructor shares that this experience taught her that we must allow students to behave as they do authentically, interrogate our assumptions around their motivations, and be willing to acknowledge that what looks like disrespect may have nothing to do with us or our teaching at all.

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