The Neurodiversity Initiative: A Promising Practice for Promoting Disability Awareness in Higher Education

The Neurodiversity Initiative at the College of William and Mary seeks to educate the campus about the positive aspects of embracing neurodiversity, and ultimately to be a model for other campuses. As stated on their website, "The Neurodiversity Initiative is an innovative program that is raising awareness on our campus of the vast array of brain differences and cultivating an appreciation of the many kinds of talents we can nurture at our historic institution.

What is neuroethics and how does it relate to people with disabilities?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Brain Initiative website, neuroethics is “a field that studies the ethical, legal, and societal implications of neuroscience.” The strategic plan for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, emphasizes “Although brain research entails ethical issues that are common to other areas of biomedical science, i

What do “neurodiverse” and “neurodivergent” mean?

Terms such as “neurodiverse” and “neurodivergent” were introduced in the 1990s by autistic sociologist Judy Singer as an alternative to deficit-based language, such as “disorder.” Singer highlighted notable strengths of many individuals in the autistic population that include abilities to focus, recognize patterns, and remember factual information. A “neurodivergent” person refers to a person on the autism spectrum or, more generally, to someone whose brain processes information in a way that is not typical of most individuals.

How can students with disabilities arrange for accommodations at a postsecondary institution?

In order for students with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary institutions to receive disability-related accommodations, typically they must first register with the institution’s office of disability services for students. Procedures and documentation requirements vary from institution to institution so it is important that students contact disability services early to ensure their accommodations will be in place prior to the start of each academic term.

How can students with disabilities arrange for accommodations in an online course?

Common accommodations students with disabilities request in online courses include the remediation of inaccessible PDFs and other documents into accessible formats, captioned videos, and extra time on assignments and tests. Accommodations should be requested in the same way they are requested for onsite courses. To receive accommodations from a postsecondary institution, students should contact the campus disability services office for information about documentation requirements and procedures.

Are there Hour of Code activities that are accessible to students with visual impairments?’s Hour of Code activities are one-hour tutorials designed to expose K-12 students to coding and other aspects of computer science. Although there are numerous Hour of Code projects, many are not accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. However, there are two that utilize the Quorum programming language and are accessible.

Teaching About Accessibility: A Promising Practice for Integrating Accessibility Topics in Computing and IT Courses

The Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing) leads activities to increase the participation of people with disabilities, including veterans, in computing and information technology (IT) postsecondary education and career fields. Activities for educators and employers are designed to build awareness of universal design and accommodation strategies, and to aid in recruiting and supporting students with disabilities through the development of inclusive programs and education on promising practices.

UW INFO 340 Web Development: A Promising Practice in Including Accessibility in the Computing Curriculum

Changes to curriculum don’t just happen out of nowhere – they come from faculty members thinking about what to teach and searching for new and innovative ways to engage students in the learning process. Instructors often encounter barriers to curricular change, including:

Kirk and the GRE: A Case Study Regarding the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) and Chronic Pain


Kirk’s nervous system disorder causes him to live with chronic pain. In particular, fine motor tasks like writing, using a computer, or holding a pencil can be extremely painful. Assistive technology to circumvent these tasks and ergonomic workspaces that address his needs reduces pain and increases function. Kirk is in his senior year of his bachelor's program and preparing to apply to PhD programs.