Neurodiversity Network

ELEVAR student, staff
New students moved onto campus this fall as part of ELEVAR, a four-year inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities.

"When you understand the concept of neurodiversity, it becomes your responsibility to remember that students or colleagues who appear different, perhaps a little 'off,' may have a sensory experience of the same environment that is different from yours, and may have a different way of communicating than the one you are used to, while being as empathetic and committed to the work as you are.

The responsibility to communicate goes both ways: just as neurodivergent people expend great effort on communicating with neurotypical people and fitting in to school and work situations (and find it exhausting), neurotypical people need to make more of an effort to communicate effectively with their neurodivergent peers. Autistic scholar Damian Milton calls this the double empathy problem. The more our campus community recognizes this and becomes more empathetic, the better the school and work experience will be for all." -- John Murphy, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Division of Jazz Studies, who was diagnosed as autistic in 2014 at UNT's Kristin Farmer Autism Center and was named co-coordinator of UNT's Neurodiversity Initiative in 2019.

The initiative, which has expanded significantly over the past few years, offers support to students, faculty and staff through programs such as UNT ENGAGE, UNT CAN, UNT EPIC, Eagle Chat, and the Neurodiversity Network Employee Resource Group (ERG). UNT also recently launched ELEVAR, pictured above, a four-year inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities.