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Stories of the Mind: Perspectives from the Tulane Neurodiverse Community

This guide is a resource that will serve as a starting point for successfully employing neurodiverse staff at Tulane University.

In the Library

Journal Articles

Neurodiversity: An insider’s perspective - The neurodiversity movement has historically been led by and composed of autistic and other neurodivergent advocates and activists, with little involvement from neurotypical stakeholders. Now, as the neurodiversity movement gains traction within the wider autism community, we are beginning to see a positive shift in attitudes towards autism in neurotypical stakeholders.

den Houting. (2019). Neurodiversity: An insider’s perspective. Autism : the International Journal of Research and Practice, 23(2), 271–273.

Deficit, Difference, or Both? Autism and Neurodiversity - The neurodiversity movement challenges the medical model’s interest in causation and cure, celebrating autism as an inseparable aspect of identity. Using an online survey, we examined the perceived opposition between the medical model and the neurodiversity movement by assessing conceptions of autism and neurodiversity among people with different relations to autism. Participants (N  657) included autistic people, relatives and friends of autistic people, and people with no specified relation to autism. Self-identification as autistic and neurodiversity awareness were associated with viewing autism as a positive identity that needs no cure, suggesting core differences between the medical model and the neurodiversity movement. Nevertheless, results suggested substantial overlap between these approaches to autism. Recognition of the negative aspects of autism and endorsement of parenting practices that celebrate and ameliorate but do not eliminate autism did not differ based on relation to autism or awareness of neurodiversity. These findings suggest a deficit-as-difference conception of autism wherein neurological conditions may represent equally valid pathways within human diversity. Potential areas of common ground in research and practice regarding autism are discussed.

Kapp, Gillespie-Lynch, K., Sherman, L. E., & Hutman, T. (2013). Deficit, Difference, or Both? Autism and Neurodiversity. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 59–71.

Neurodiversity: An Invisible Strength? - When we think of social justice movements, we often highlight events such as women's sufferage, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the fall of apartheid. More recently, LGBTQ+ rights have been at the forefront of our minds as society strives to be more inclusive of our diverse population. On the heels of these critical movements and advancements is a relatively new player: neurodiversity.

Fung, Ulrich, T. L., Fujimoto, K. T., & Taheri, M. (2022). Neurodiversity: An Invisible Strength? JOM (1989), 74(9), 3200–3202.

Untapped potential: embracing neurodiversity in medicine - Family physician Jennifer Vassel used to think she was weird. Situations affected her differently than her colleagues. She could remember exact pages from her grade 6 textbooks. And she had always been highly sensitive to other people’s feelings — “like being a sponge,” Vassel says. Then, she learned about neurodiversity. The term is often used interchangeably with neurodivergence to refer to the idea that there is a wide range of normal variation in the brain and no one “right” way to experience and interact with the world.

Duong, & Vogel, L. (2022). Untapped potential: embracing neurodiversity in medicine. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), 194(27), E951–E952.

Neurodiversity studies: mapping out possibilities of a new critical paradigm - Neurodevelopmental classifications and the collective idea of neurodivergence can be seen as a ‘moving target’. In our understanding, this means that it responds to the needs of society as well as potentially infinite neurological differences between humans. Therefore, rather than assume that neurodiversity exists according to the existing clinical categories of autism and related conditions (that are often centred around autism as the exemplary kind of neurodivergence), we leave the possibility open that there are other forms of difference that have yet to be defined. In the paper we explore how neurodiversity has been described as a collective property of brains, as we try to negotiate between us what it is to be human and how we can work together to ensure our flourishing and to alleviate suffering. We consider implications of this understanding of neurodiversity for autism research, and propose that we unpick the analogy between neurodiversity and biodiversity.

Stenning, & Rosqvist, H. B. (2021). Neurodiversity studies: mapping out possibilities of a new critical paradigm. Disability & Society, 36(9), 1532–1537.

Neurodiversity in higher education: a narrative synthesis Neurodiversity is an umbrella term, including dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia, autistic spectrum and Tourette syndrome. The increasing number of students with learning difficulties associated with neurodiversity entering higher education (HE) poses a shared and growing challenge internationally for teachers and institutional leaders. This narrative synthesis draws together a corpus of international literature on how neurodiverse students experience higher education and the ways in which higher education institutions respond to the cluster of neurodiverse conditions. A systematic review was carried out to search, retrieve, appraise and synthesize the available evidence to provide an original contribution to the literature and significant insights of worth to higher education internationally. An inclusive approach to data extraction was used to ensure that all the relevant studies were included. All stages of the review process, including the initial search, screening, sample selection and analysis, are described. Three main themes and 11 subthemes were identified. Although the majority of publications focus on either dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorder, or ADHD, some common themes are evident in student experience across learning difficulties associated with neurodiversity. Although support services and technologies are available to meet students’ specific needs, there is an apparent dislocation between the two. Fear of stigmatization and labelling worsens the divide between what is needed and what is available to ensure neurodiverse students’ success in higher education, where good intentions are evidently not enough.

Clouder, Karakus, M., Cinotti, A., Ferreyra, M. V., Fierros, G. A., & Rojo, P. (2020). Neurodiversity in higher education: a narrative synthesis. Higher Education, 80(4), 757–778.

Autism as a Natural Human Variation: Reflections on the Claims of the Neurodiversity Movement - Neurodiversity has remained a controversial concept over the last dec- ade. In its broadest sense the concept of neurodiversity regards atypical neurological development as a normal human difference. The neurodiversity claim contains at least two different aspects. The first aspect is that autism, among other neurological conditions, is first and foremost a natural variation. The other aspect is about conferring rights and in particular value to the neurodiversity condition, demanding recognition and acceptance. Autism can be seen as a natural variation on par with for example homosexuality. The broad version of the neurodiversity claim, covering low-functioning as well as high-functioning autism, is problematic. Only a narrow conception of neurodiversity, referring exclusively to high-functioning autists, is reasonable. We will discuss the effects of DSM categorization and the medical model for high functioning autists. After a discussion of autism as a culture we will analyze various possible strategies for the neurodiversity movement to claim extra resources for autists as members of an underprivileged culture without being labelled disabled or as having a disorder. We will discuss their vulnerable status as a group and what obligation that confers on the majority of neurotypicals

Jaarsma, & Welin, S. (2012). Autism as a Natural Human Variation: Reflections on the Claims of the Neurodiversity Movement. Health Care Analysis, 20(1), 20–30.

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