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Neurodiversity Within UniversityNeurodiversity - A Crash Course For Academic Teachers

Sharon Blok


Neurodiversity is the concept of acknowledging that differences between brains exist. These differences are the result of biological variations, and should be seen as normal, rather than disorders. Examples of these variations include autism spectrum disorder, ADHD or dyslexia. These neurodivergent brains function differently from the ‘neurotypical’ brain, on both structural, cognitive and social level. However, our society, including the university, is built along the social rules of the neurotypical brain. Hence, neurodivergent brains are currently seen as a disorder and a lot of neurodivergent people struggle to fit into neurotypical standards, including neurodivergent students.

Neurodiversity is a concept that has not been integrated by the university yet, although there are many neurodivergent students. One of the main problems that neurodivergent students encounter is a lack of understanding and awareness among teachers and peers. As teachers are an important part of your education, the goal of my redesign was to introduce academic teachers to the concept of neurodiversity and to increase their neurodiversity knowledge.  Therefore, I created a neurodiversity crash course in the form of a short 10-minute video. This crash course specifically focuses on academic teachers. It explains the background of neurodiversity, the struggles that neurodivergent students experience, and also emphasizes the importance of neurodiversity awareness for teachers. Lastly, the video gives a few suggestions on how to accommodate these neurodivergent students. Overall, I hope this video contributes to neurodiversity awareness! 

Introduction Video

This video is developed to educate academic teachers on the topic of neurodiversity. It is a crash course in the form of a 10-minute video that explains the basics of neurodiversity, the struggles that neurodivergent students encounter during their studies, and why it is important for teachers to know about neurodiversity. It also contains a few suggestions on how to improve inclusion of neurodivergent students in the classroom. The main goal of this video is to introduce teachers to the neurodiversity topic and hopefully inspire them to learn more about it. 

Within the university of Groningen, I have found multiple stakeholders who are interested and who can also distribute the video. The Students Service Center, who deal with all issues that are connected to student wellbeing, are willing to use the video in diversity & inclusion workshops and lectures. Also, one of the coordinators of the BKO (a license that new academic teachers have to obtain) was willing to provide a link to the video in his teaching module. 

Lastly, I am hoping to professionalize the video with the use of the founding IkBenGeweldig. They are willing to provide a subsidy that can be used to upgrade the format of the video. This will hopefully be done in the coming weeks.