As a major initiative of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, the Neurodiverse Student Support Program helps neurodiverse students succeed by providing supports in areas including: 

Academic, Social, Mental Health, Independent Living, and Career Development.

The Peer Mentor Role:

Peer Mentors help new, neurodiverse / neurodivergent students transition to college during a pre-orientation. Additionally, Peer Mentors help on a weekly basis throughout the academic year by meeting with their students on a regular basis in formal and informal settings for an average of four hours per week. Through these meetings, Peer Mentors provide regular check-ins, support the student in identifying and accessing support resources, facilitate positive social engagement, and more.

Peer Mentors should have a desire to support others’ success and an interest in learning about the strengths as well as challenges of neurodiversity.

Peer Mentor Eligibility requirements:

Stanford rising sophomore, junior, senior

At least one year of experience as a Stanford undergraduate

Capacity to commit to all Peer Mentor responsibilities before and during the academic year. Times include: spring orientation, remote summer training conducted by video conference, on campus September transition orientation training and transition orientation program delivery (September 4-18), academic year meetings and mentoring of 4 hours per week

Willingness to be flexible and adapt to the needs of others

Communicate reliably by email, typically within 24 hours

Responsiveness to guidance by SNP staff; responsiveness to requests by or needs of student mentee


Background in neurodiversity and/or a desire to learn

Capacity to follow pre-established systems and structures for student support


Peer Mentor Application Process:

  1. May 4th -- Application form (including basic background and short essays) DUE
  2. May 8th -- Call-backs for interviews
  3. May 9th and 10th -- Interviews
  4. May 12th -- Decisions released

Peer Mentor Program Dates:

May 12 - June 15 -- Fingerprint/ background check

May 18 - Orientation for peer mentors

Aug 12 to 16 - Zoom training for peer mentors

Sep 4 to 6 - In person training for peer mentors

Sep 8 to 14 - Stanford Neurodiversity Project (SNP) Neurodiverse Student Support Program (SNNP) Transition Orientation


NEW COURSE: 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.

2018-2019 Spring

  • PSYC 223B | 2-4 units | Class # 34265 | Section 01  
    04/01/2019 - 06/05/2019 Mon 9:30 AM - 11:20 AM at 200-013 with Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD (PI); Nicole Ofiesh, PhD (SI); Mary Hurlbut, MA  

NEW COURSE: PSYC 223 - Topics in Neurodiversity: Introduction and Advocacy

Topics in Neurodiversity is a quarter course that provides students with the foundation, knowledge, and essential skills for understanding, engaging with, and advocating for the neurodiverse population. Through a combination of academic learning and community engagement students will deepen their understanding about the experiences of and long-term outcomes for neurodiverse individuals in myriad realms including education, employment, law, medicine, social and more. Students will be guided in developing a person-centered, strengths-based and inquiry oriented approach to facilitate direct engagement with neurodiverse individuals and to inform neurodiversity advocacy activities. This course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

2018-2019 Winter

  • PSYC 223 | 3 units | Class # 33579 | Section 01  
    01/07/2019 - 03/15/2019 Mon, Wed 10:30 AM - 11:50 AM at LK 205/206, except on 2/20/19 will be in LK 208, and on 3/4/19 will be in LK 304/305 with Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD.

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.