Session Description: Navigating STEM as a mentee or mentor while neurodiverse can be a challenge and a reward, and mentoring neurodiverse mentees requires special understanding. In this session, we will provide context, solutions, and understanding for
1) mentors and mentees who identify as neurodiverse, and 2) mentors of neurodiverse mentees.
Neurodiversity is intraspecific phenotypic variation in human brain function and behavior, and is a normal part of variation in the human population. It encompasses ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s), bipolar disorder, and other modalities of experience. Even within the neurodiverse community, there is a wide range of variation, as expressed by the phrase, “If you’ve met one person with ____, you’ve met one person with ____,” where the blank signifies any of a number of neurodiverse identifies (ASD, ADHD, etc.; Chaste et al. 2015 doi: 0.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.017). We will address neurodiversity—in all its diversity—in a compassionate and inclusive manner.
The session will follow a roundtable format with designated facilitators to help initiate and guide the discussion. Panelists will comprise neurodiverse mentors, mentees, and mentors of neurodiverse mentees.
We welcome attendees who wish to participate or observe. As this can be a sensitive topic, attendees will only be asked to self-disclose to the degree they feel comfortable, and we otherwise ask that this be a “closed” session, where attendees communicate about it to those who do not attend with kindness and discretion.