We can support you with:
- Communication with neurodivergent students, or students who seem cognitively inflexible
- Classroom interactions
- Assignment completion support
- Executive Functioning support
- Collaborative Problem Solving
- And more!
If you, or your student(s), are struggling with these or other areas that you think may be neurodiversity-related, please drop in! You do not need to know a student’s diagnosis or a Letter of Accommodation to seek support. We are here to advocate and educate, and would love to talk with you.
Chat with Sara on Teams any time! Or, send an email to make an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about what Neurodiversity Navigators does by watching this video.
Questions about “template” emails from students
Q1: I’ve received an email from my student requesting information about their performance in class, including their grade. They want me to include others in my reply. I’m concerned that this violates FERPA. And, I’m concerned that my student sent this email against their will. Can you tell me more?
Periodically, you may receive an email from a student, asking that you share that information with them, their peer mentor, and the Neurodiversity Navigators director. Please rest assured that FERPA allows for college staff, using their Bellevue College email, with a “need-to-know” to have access to this type of information. If there is an email that is not a Bellevue College email address, you can delete that email from the reply.
You should answer this email request just like any other student inquiry. Your student is seeking your support in order to do their best in your class, and needs information from you. Please direct your reply to the student (while “replying all” to the email).
You may think that your student should “already know” this information. In reality, this is precisely the type of information that many autistic and otherwise neurodivergent students have difficulty tracking, and your response is a tremendous support in your student’s success.
Neurodiversity Navigators is a voluntary educational program, so you can know that your student has requested this type of support. They are able to opt-out of the email, or use an alternative method if they desire.
Q2: Why can’t I just tell my student this information in person?
Many of the students in this program need to have information in writing, and, have difficulty accessing in-person conversations, particularly without having the requested information prior to the meeting. Your emailed information to them allows them to prepare for a future conversation with you, should one be needed. It also allows our staff to support the student in processing the information.
Students should not be expected to make an appointment in order to receive this information from you, unless you have specific problems you feel would be best addressed in a face-to-face meeting. If this is the case, please “reply all” to the email to request a meeting.
Q3: Why are students sending this now? I don’t have grade information yet!
The students are requesting more than grade information in this inquiry email. If you don’t yet have grade information, please answer the other questions so that the student has a good understanding of how their class interactions are going, and if there is anything they can do, from your perspective, to be successful in your class. Our staff will go over this information with them. You can let them know when grades will be available. This is all very helpful information! We have found that earlier in the quarter is important to catch problem areas in time to make a difference. Students may send a similar email later in the quarter if their grades are low, if they don’t know what their grade is, or, if they have a concern. Again, please reply to the student, and not the staff, in your reply.
Q4: I think a student in my class is autistic or neurodivergent (or they’ve told me that they are) but I don’t have a Letter of Accommodation for them. What should I, or what can I, do?
If your student has revealed a disability to you, you may refer them to the Disability Resource Center, or to Neurodiversity Navigators to learn more about their options. Sometimes, it’s best to walk them over so that they feel comfortable getting connected. Note that students in the NdN program are not required to register with the DRC.
If the student has not revealed a disability, but you suspect they may have one, you may not ask them if they do. However, if you notice that they are struggling in a particular area, you may ask them if they’ve received help in that area before, perhaps in high school: “I’ve noticed that you seem to be having a hard time with the reading – have you ever received help with reading before, maybe in high school?” If they say “yes” then you can refer them to several on-campus resources: Academic Success Center, Disability Resource Center, and perhaps Multicultural Services.
And, of course, you can refer students to Neurodiversity Navigators! We have robust supports for students who are not yet engaged in our full program, located under the Current Students tab of our website.
If YOU are experiencing difficulty communicating with the student, and would like some tips, please feel free to contact Sara Sanders Gardner, Director of NdN. You can reach Sara on Teams, at x2172, or email email@example.com. See also other sections of Faculty Resources for tips on working with autistic students and disabled students in the classroom.
Q5: What is the best way to communicate with an autistic student?
Your student is the best person to answer that question, as each person is unique. In general, direct, written communication is preferable. You can find more resources on the additional Faculty Resources pages, or schedule or attend a workshop with us!
Q6: I’m overwhelmed with the accommodations that my student has, and don’t understand what my role is. Help!
No problem! The Disability Resource Center is there to help! Give them a call at extension 2498, or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you get your student’s Letter of Accommodation, and they will connect you to your student’s Access Specialist, who will contact you and explain the accommodations and your role in administering them.
Again, should you have questions about working with autistic or neurodivergent students, creating a neurodiversity-friendly classroom, classroom management with neurodivergent, autistic or suspected autistic students, or any other questions, you are welcome to also contact NdN director Sara Sanders Gardner on Teams, via phone at x2172 or email@example.com and we will work with you to find solutions!
Judy Singer: Reflections on Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms and Definitions
Autistic Self Advocacy Network: About Autism
A Qualitative Investigation of Successful Adults with ADHD
The Unappreciated Benefits of Dyslexia
Video: How Nonverbal Communication Affects Interactions (8 minute video)
Handout: Cultural Iceberg
TEDx Talk: Why Everything You Know About Autism is Wrong (13 min)
TEDx Talk: ADHD Sucks, But Not Really (13 min)
TEDx Talk: The True Gifts of the Dyslexic Mind (16 min)
Featured Tool: Try Class Notes Sharing
Share this video and use this handout to create community and accessibility in your class!
Last Updated October 29, 2022