Sophie Greer, BMC ’23

Advocating for Neurodiversity

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Adam Williamson

Field Site: Facilitate Joy!

Field Supervisor: Cady Stanton

Praxis Poster:

Sophie Greer_Poster_Final


Further Context:

My Praxis course this past fall involved a remote internship at Facilitate Joy! (Reno, NV). Facilitate Joy! advocates for neurodivergent (ND)* people and provides a space for ND people to connect and build community. Facilitate Joy! also provides autism and ADHD coaching.

My responsibilities included researching ND conditions and related traits, raising awareness about neurodiversity by educating the public, and collecting resources for ND people and those who love them. To raise awareness, I developed many presentations about various aspects of the
neurodivergent experience, including alexithymia** and interoceptive dysfunction***.  I also developed and gave a presentation on “Less Well-Known Neurodivergent Conditions”, covering face blindness (prosopagnosia), motion blindness (akinetopsia), dyscalculia (a math learning disability), synesthesia (overlapping senses), and aphantasia (“image-free thinking”).

Through this Praxis course, I improved some soft skills as well as learned about many disabilities and neurological symptoms and associated interventions. I learned how to communicate complex, nuanced medical topics to lay audiences in a way that is accessible and educational and
how to convey information to people in different ways (i.e., verbally, via text, videos, and graphics). I learned about the tips & tricks that some ND people use to manage their conditions & quirks, as well as about ND resources.

*Neurodiversity = the range of ways to think, act, learn, and communicate; a form of biological diversity; the diversity of brains and minds

*Neurodivergent (ND) = someone whose neurological functioning differs from what is considered “typical”. Different cultures and people have different definitions of the word “typical” so different people may be considered ND in different circumstances. ND people often have neurodevelopmental, learning, emotional, and cognitive disorders, such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, dyspraxia, Tourette’s, or dysgraphia.

**Alexithymia refers to the inability to recognize, name, and describe one’s emotions, and may involve trouble with others’ emotions too.

***Interoceptive dysfunction involves an altered sense of interoception, which is your ability to notice your body’s signals (e.g., your heartbeat, sense of pain, hunger) and respond appropriately. Interoception is not as well-known as the classic “5 senses”, but it is a sense all the same