Neurodiversity is On Your Marq in Higher Education By Brian L. Hughes

In our August 3, 2021 post entitled, Neurodiversity: Talent Innovation and Inclusion Excellence we explained the definition of neurodiversity and the extraordinary benefits of workplace neurodiversity including increased innovation and a more inclusive organizational culture.  On the same date, my INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast co-host Charlotte Hughes and I welcomed Hiren Shukla as our interview guest for the episode, Neurodiversity: Driving Innovation from Unexpected Places.

The great success of workplace initiatives involving talent on the autism spectrum and other neurodivergent employees made us curious about college and university experience for the neurodiverse population.

Going to College With Autism

There are many young people on the less affected end of the autism spectrum and other neurodivergent high schoolers who head off to college after graduation. Because these bright, if socially awkward, children have been doing well academically, it’s a natural assumption they will do fine in college and beyond. Many parents do not anticipate the struggles their kids, without the family structure and the supports they were provided in school, will face.

Conventional wisdom holds that the biggest problems for those on the less severe end of the spectrum are social and communication issues. They might miss social cues and misunderstand what’s expected of them. But disrupted executive function, usually associated with ADHD, is also common in people on the spectrum, says Dr. Ron J. Steingard, senior pediatric psychopharmacologist at the Child Mind Institute. “I think the burden is increased in autism,” he says.

Neurodiversity refers to variation in neurocognitive functioning. It is an umbrella term that encompasses neurocognitive differences such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia, as well as ‘normal’ neurocognitive functioning, or neurotypicality. Neurodivergent individuals are those whose brain functions differ from those who are neurologically typical, or neurotypical.

Which makes college, often the first foray into independent living, especially challenging.

Marquette University’s On Your Marq Program

Charlotte and I met over Zoom with the delightful Emily Raclaw, Director of “On Your Marq” at Marquette University, a program that provides support to Marquette students on the autism spectrum. She is passionate about equity and access in education. Emily herself is neurodivergent.

“It is about changing the culture of an institution of higher education to include neurodiversity in its definition of diversity,” says Emily.

In a recent issue of Authority, Magazine Emily describes her background, passion for disability inclusion, and an overview of On Your Marq in the article ‘5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society.

Some important facts about On Your Marq at Marquette University:

  • Admission to On Your Marq is a four-step process that begins after your acceptance to Marquette University.
  • If you are interested in visiting Marquette University and hearing more about how On Your Marq can assist you in navigating the college landscape at Marquette a campus tour and information session can be arranged.
  • Giving to On Your Marq helps change the lives of students on the autism spectrum in three main ways: increasing program equity, bolstering supportive offerings, and ensuring program sustainability. Learn more about Time To Rise: On Your Marq Autism Support Program.

The INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast episode “Higher Education Cultural Change To Include Neurodiversity with Emily Raclaw, MS, LPC”

My Co-host Charlotte Hughes and I had an absolutely wonderful experience with our interview guest Emily Raclaw, an engaging, funny, and dedicated Neurodiversity professional for the INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast episode, Higher Education Cultural Change To Include Neurodiversity airing on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021.

Highlights include students’ transition from high school to university life at Marquette, On Your Marq coaching and mentoring services, On Your Marq student experiences, success and contribution to the entire campus community, and Emily’s tips for colleges and universities considering similar neurodiversity support programs, and much more!

Listen and be inspired by The INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast episode, “Higher Education Cultural Change To Include Neurodiversity with Emily Raclaw”

Brian L. Hughes is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Inclusive Leaders Group, LLC, and focuses on expanding the firm’s offerings by delivering thought leadership and developing proprietary content, and he keeps the consulting team abreast of industry insights and trends. In addition, he is co-host of The INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE Podcast that features transformational interviews as well as actionable tips and strategies that corporate leaders can implement in their workplaces and careers, to drive profitable growth through diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

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