Over the last twenty years, the concept of neurodiversity has gained in popularity across various communities and disciplines. Originally used by autistic self-advocates in an effort to depathologize autism, the term has the appeal of a promise: just as we come in different shapes and colors, the reasoning goes, so our brains are also wired differently. On this view, autism and other neurological conditions should be understood in terms of difference, not disability, and the diversity of our neurotypes should be both recognized and embraced.
But are things ever so simple? What does it mean to posit the existence of various neurotypes, and what would it mean to embrace this neurodiversity or neurodivergence in the context, say, of a university?
With support from C21, a number of UWM faculty formed a working group on the topic of neurodiversity at UWM, in which these questions could be discussed. The working group included the following members:
Ivan Ascher (Political Science)
Elizabeth Drame (School of Education)
Bonita Klein-Tasman (Psychology)
Stan Husi (Philosophy)
Nan Kim (History)
Abigail Phillips (School of Information Studies)
Amanda Seligman (History)