Special Event - NEURODIVERSITY UNIVERSITY™2018 Symposium

Date:  Saturday - April 21, 2018
Time:  9:30AM - 3:00PM  Detailed schedule see below 
Location:  Integrative Learning Center

Focusing on the theme of INTERSECTIONALITY AND SPECTRUM IDENTITIES, the 2018 Neurodiversity Symposium will feature an interdisciplinary faculty panel on conceptualizing autism, a keynote talk by best-selling author and advocate John Elder Robison, a Neurodiversity town hall, a film screening, and multiple workshops and resource-sharing opportunities for educators, students, parents, and members of the community. 

The 2018 Symposium is co-sponsored by the Department of Communication, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (Developmental Disabilities and Human Services Program), Boltwood Project: Civic Engagement and Service Learning, Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), the College of Education (Center for Student Success Research), and Five College Blended Learning.



Keynote Speaker: John Elder Robison is an New York Times best-selling author, advocate, and Aspergian. Website:


10:00AM – 11:30AM Keynote Talk and Q & A: John Elder Robison – Location: Integrative Learning Center ILC N151

12:30PM – 1:30PM Breakout Sessions: Spectrum Identities, Student Success Panel, Expressive Arts Therapies – various room in the Integrative Learning Center

2:00PM – 3:00PM Town Hall Forum in N151 ILC (includes opportunity for sharing resources)

Of special interest to faculty: Panel “Succeeding in Higher Education – Stories from Neurodiverse Students”

During this session four neurodiverse-identifying students will share their stories of challenges and successes as students at UMass Amherst. Their stories offer insights for neurodiverse students on how to be academically successful and for faculty on how to support neurodiverse students to help them succeed.

Jeffery Durbin is a current 2nd-year PhD student in the Cognitive Division of the Psychological and Brain Sciences department. He identifies as a low-income, first-generation queer and neurodiverse student who is passionate about the success of marginalized students in academia. Catherine McEachern, graduating in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology on the Pre-PA track with a specialization in Developmental Disabilities. She identifies with having a Learning Disability as well as Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease. Caroline Colorusso is an undergraduate senior majoring in Communication Disorders who has Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and dyscalculia, a math-related learning disability. Kaitlin McCarthy is a rising senior majoring in Communications. She owns her own company called Your Advocate, which works to service students with learning disabilities.