Cultivating Care: Creating Space for Neurodiversity

May 29, 2023

Opinion By William James Carter (Graduate Student Researcher)

Through co-design and co-leadership, University Health Services Student Mental Health and I have been working to recognize Neurodiversity and provide better support to Neurodivergent students on campus.

We want to create a strengths-based and trauma-informed neurodiversity clinic and neuro distinct affirming spaces that offer access-intimacy to all students. Our long-term goal is to build a Neurodivergent Multicultural Healing Center, collaborating with Neurodiverse peoples and their intersecting identities. Although designed for and by neurodiverse people - this is a welcoming space for all students.

Draft Vision: 

By cultivating care together, we realize the power of neurodiversity

Draft Mission:

Our mission is to create a strengths-based and trauma-informed neurodiversity clinic and neuro-distinct affirming spaces that offer access-intimacy to all students. We strive to collaborate with our neurodivergent community to establish an iterative space where individuals with diverse backgrounds and identities can thrive. We aim to recognize and support the unique perspectives and experiences of neurodiverse individuals in higher education.

We want this to be a space where people do not have to leave their identities at the door.

We thrive by failing forward together.

Who are we:

The project is co-led and co-designed by Dr. Peter Cornish (Co-Director of Student Mental Health) and myself, William James Carter. I am a PhD Student and Fulbright Scholar in the Geography Department at UC Berkeley, and currently a Graduate Student Researcher with UHS. I identify as Autistic and Neurodivergent, and this project follows extensive community engagement around Neurodiversity. Renee Starowtiz, a staff representative, Disability Studies Specialist, and social science researcher, supports this project.

The team is engaging in extensive community outreach and policy development on campus to cultivate care and recognize the power of neurodiversity.

Where we have been, where we are, and where we are going

Being part of this project alongside Peter and Renee is truly an honour. This endeavor holds great significance as it builds on a long-standing tradition of neurodivergent individuals supporting each other through communities of care. We recognize and appreciate the hard work put in by those who have come before us, and we are excited to join forces with all of you to continue this legacy and make a positive impact. It's time we listen and give credit to the valuable contributions of neurodivergent individuals.

Stay Informed

We would like to thank you for your interest in this project, and we will keep you updated on any further developments through our project web page.

If you have any questions or if you are interested in providing feedback on the project, email telltang@berkeley.edu.