Designing Inclusive Dorm Communities

Students in PSYC 223B created this video as a final project (2019).

In "Designing Inclusive Dorm Communities," two neurodiverse students share their experiences living in dorms. The video also discusses the principles of universal design, and how they can be applied to dorm communities. This video is an excellent video for dorm staff who would like to learn more about how to support and include their neurodiverse residents.


PSYC 229 - Topics in Neurodiversity: Introduction and Advocacy

Neurodiversity is a concept that regards individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal variation in the human population. The movement of Neurodiversity is about uncovering the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilizing their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. This year long course over three quarters will provide students with the foundation, knowledge and essential skills for understanding, engaging with and advocating for the neurodiverse population. In addition, this course will also cover topics including social communication strategies, navigating social relationships, self-regulation, asking for accommodations and support in career development.


  • PSYC 229A | 1 units | Class # 30988 | Section 01 | Grading: Medical Satisfactory/No Credit | SEM | Students enrolled: 8
    09/23/2019 - 12/06/2019 Mon 1:30 PM - 2:20 PM at 320-109 with Fung, L. (PI); Sperry, L. (PI)
  • PSYC 229B | 1 units | Class # 31463 | Section 01 | Grading: Medical Satisfactory/No Credit | SEM
    01/06/2020 - 03/13/2020 Mon 1:30 PM - 2:20 PM with Fung, L. (PI); Sperry, L. (PI)
  • PSYC 229C | 1 units | Class # 31614 | Section 01 | Grading: Medical Satisfactory/No Credit | SEM
    03/30/2020 - 06/03/2020 Mon 1:30 PM - 2:20 PM with Fung, L. (PI); Sperry, L. (PI)

PSYC 223B - Topics in Neurodiversity: Design Thinking Approaches

The course provides essential background about neurodiversity, the design thinking process and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to guide students in developing projects that maximize the potential of neurodiversity. Through case studies, field trips, guest speakers, and community engagement, students will explore approaches to maximizing inclusivity in realms such as education, employment, community and beyond. Students will use their knowledge to design and develop (or revising and enhance) processes, systems, experiences and/or products to maximize inclusivity and the potential of neurodiverse individuals. Based on student's interests and areas of focus, projects may include digital tool development such as app concept and design, redesign of standard processes such as job interviews/ candidate evaluations, design and development of physical products or spaces such as sensory-sensitive dorm rooms, "stim tools" and more. This course will meet for two hours on Wednesdays for all students; students taking this course for 4 units will also attend "lab hours" on Mondays to support with project development. This course is open to undergraduate and graduate students in all schools.

2019-2020 Winter

  • PSYC 223B | 2-4 units | Class # 32101 | Section 01  
    01/06/2020 - 03/13/2020 Mon 9:30 AM - 11:20 AM  with Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD (PI)

Neurodiversity Awareness and Education

Want to read more about neurodiversity?

The movement has begun. Prominent companies including SAP, DXC (formerly Hewlett-Packard Enterprises), and Microsoft have started their neurodiversity initiatives. In 2013, SAP announced its intention to make 1% of its workforce neurodiverse by 2020—a number chosen because it roughly corresponds to the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the general population. In the 2nd Autism at Work Summit held in April 2017, over 50 organizations  participated in the meeting and are in various stages of starting their own programs. What is neurodiversity? Why should we care about this at Stanford? What can we do about neurodiversity?

The term “neurodiversity” was first coined by a sociologist Judy Singer in the 1990s. Neurodiversity is a concept that regards individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal variation in the human population. In the past 20 years, neurodiversity has been discussed in the context of ASD. However, this term has been extended to other neurodevelopmental conditions, such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The neurodiversity movement is not just about inclusion and exercising the responsibility of social justice. It is about maximizing the potential of people as individuals and productivity of companies and society at large by tapping into the total talent pool in a non-traditional fashion.

The neurodiversity movement strives to focus on what neurodiverse individuals can bring to the table, not what accommodations they can receive. Instead of focusing on disability, we emphasize discovering, cultivating, and protecting the abilities of neurodiverse individuals. Using novel methods for assessing, training, and managing neurodiverse talent, companies such as SAP are demonstrating that the neurodiverse approach to their workforce is yielding significant innovations by teams with employees on ASD. The Dandelion Program of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)  has found that individuals with ASD bring important skill sets to their teams, including attention to detail, out of box thinking and the ability to do repetitive tasks very accurately and they are highly productive. Team morale in general increased in teams with neurodiverse members. Managers and team leaders became better managers and leaders. Products, services, and bottom lines have profited from lower defect rates and higher productivity. Neurodiverse employees have demonstrated large positive impact in large corporations. For example, at SAP, the teams with neurodiverse employees were instrumental in developing a technical change in one of their products, resulting in an estimated $40 million in savings. Neurodiversity in these companies has come to be seen as a competitive advantage.

Just as large corporations have started viewing neurodiversity as a competitive business advantage, we believe that Stanford University can take neurodiversity as an opportunity to attract, protect, and nurture talents that can maximize the university’s potential to solve the most significant problems in our country, society and the world today and in the future. Stanford has been the driving force of the Silicon Valley; it is the birthplace for some of the most influential new technologies; it is the incubator of the biggest discoveries of all time. Stanford can do even more than corporations that are focused only on their business interests (e.g., software development). Stanford has attracted some of the most brilliant minds in science, engineering, medicine, humanities, business, and law to the university. Faculty members are leaders of their own fields. Some have received the world’s most prestigious prizes. To sustain and surpass this preeminent excellence, Stanford will benefit from recruiting neurodiverse individuals, training them accordingly, placing them in the positions that they can excel, and supporting them in their positions. As neurodiversity is a key ingredient for academic supremacy, Stanford University should take the lead in this important movement of neurodiversity. This can potentially be one of the most significant contributions Stanford can make to the world over the next 10-50 years.

Education Resources

Do you want to learn more about neurodiversity?

Please contact us to schedule for a Neurodiversity Awareness Seminar.

Does your organization need an in-depth training workshop on neurodiversity?

Please contact us to schedule for a Neurodiversity Workshop.