When have you experienced inclusion? Students considered this question in a class about neurodiversity. They talk about the importance of self-acceptance and being with people who understand you.
“It is important to promote inclusion and belonging so everyone has a place where they can be themselves. It makes people more accepting of who they are, especially if you are neurodiverse and have not had a place that felt right.”
“That experience of acceptance and inclusion affects all the other aspects of your life because suddenly the attitude that you are unable to do something is shifted. People know exactly what is happening and have the language to describe it. When you feel incompetent in a crucial area your self-confidence everywhere takes a hit. Building up that confidence again positively affects your relationship with others and your relationship with yourself.”
“The first time I ever felt truly accepted and included was when I found Landmark. I know it may sound cliche, but shortly after receiving my LD diagnosis, I was struggling to accept myself and come to terms with what the diagnosis meant for me. When I found out that there was a place for people just like me, I knew I belonged.”
“It’s refreshing to be able to talk about my ADHD with others who have the same diagnosis in brutally honest ways. For example I could be in the car with a friend and say ‘sorry for changing the song every 10 seconds, I’ve got ADHD’ and laugh, whereas I could be with my neurotypical family and they’d give me strange looks for saying something like that.”
“I’ve thrived in the Centers for Diversity and Inclusion here at Landmark. Besides neurodiversity, there’s also racial/ethnic and gender/sexuality diversity, which adds an extra dimension to our diagnoses. People are casual and genuine. Nobody is trying to prove themselves or talk down to others to make themselves feel better. Because everyone has cognitive differences, it feels as though we’re equal.”
“When I finally did feel inclusion, it was at Landmark College. It took me a long time to re-frame my LD in my own mind, from something I was ashamed of and would hide, to something I’m proud of. I needed other people like me who went through the same experiences to validate how I react to situations, how I write, and read, and think—because they’re the same way.”
“The first semester, I really focused on myself. It helped me accept myself as a neurodiversity student.”