ICCTA is the first state education advocacy association to adopt such a statement to influence policy

Press Release

Nov 21, 2022 20:15 CST

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association (the “ICCTA“), a state legislative advocacy and trustee education organization that represents 48 member colleges serving over 700,000 students, is proud to announce that it has adopted a Neurodiversity Inclusion Statement to serve as guidance for its member colleges and trustees around the state of Illinois.

Under the leadership of ICCTA President Dr. Maureen Dunne and Diversity Committee Chair Torrie Newsome, ICCTA adopted the following Statement at its recent board of representatives meeting in Springfield, Illinois:

“The Board of Representatives, administration, and staff of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association recognize that neurodiversity among the students, faculty, staff, trustees, and administrative teams of our member colleges is critical to enhancing the educational experience for our students and providing for a more inclusive learning and operating environment, providing public benefits for our communities. We believe that, when neurodivergent people are understood, valued, and empowered, we all stand to benefit from their important and unique contributions. This resolution represents our commitment to promoting an authentically inclusive learning environment in alignment with this ideal.”

The resolution continues to note that neurodiversity is a strength-based lens through which to understand conditions such as autism, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia, seeing them as differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits as part of the normal variation in the human population.

“The majority of neurodivergent students begin their higher education journey at community colleges, and it is critical that we, as community college leaders, celebrate difference and the many strengths neurodivergent students bring to our colleges and communities,” remarked Dr. Dunne. “The neurodiversity paradigm embraces a strength-based perspective, and it’s important that our higher education system embraces that paradigm as well so that we can help all students reach their full potential. I am proud that ICCTA is blazing the trail as the first state-wide education organization to take this step, and, from conversations with trustees and presidents around the country, I believe many more will follow.”

As ICCTA President, Dr. Dunne’s vision includes a focus on neurodiversity inclusion, future of work, and closer industry partnerships with the community college system. As a leading voice in the neurodiversity movement, Dr. Dunne regularly speaks on these topics, including as a keynote speaker at the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit and as an invited speaker at The Atlantic Festival, which included neurodiversity as part of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focus.

“ICCTA’s bold statement on neurodiversity builds on our commitment to promote policies that support equitable participation and achievement for all students,” said ICCTA Executive Director Jim Reed, Jr. “We are pleased that other higher education entities — such as the College of DuPage and Oakton Community College here in Illinois — are adopting similar statements and revising their policies to enhance the learning experiences of neurodivergent students.”

Source: ICCTA

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