“It would be simpler to see success without dominating discourse of ability”

Neurodivergent Communicators in Postsecondary Education


  • Casey L. Woodfield Rowan University
  • Vroman Katherine The College of New Jersey
  • Jenn Seybert Syracuse University
  • Sujit Kurup Syracuse University
  • Jamie Burke Syracuse University
  • Christy Ashby Syracuse University
  • Brianna Dickens Syracuse University




disability studies, ableism, neurodivergent communicators, higher education


This paper engages with and reflects the college experiences of three college students/graduates who type to communicate, chronicled through ongoing conversations with one another and a group of co-inquirers, focused on understanding experiences in higher education. Grounded in a disability studies in education framework, this work draws on narrative inquiry and collaborative qualitative analysis of discussions over three years in a co-constructed digital interspace. Key findings include: the role of mentorship and connection; navigating the system; controlling the narrative; and traversing new methodological and relational landscapes. Together, these conversations about neurodivergent communicative experiences in higher education tell stories of agency, friendship, affiliation, and advocacy against a backdrop of ableism. Through illustrative dialogic moments, we grapple with the complexities of presence as resistance in higher educational spaces. This work highlights collaborative research methods that center communicative diversity and relationality in inquiry, as well as how process can inform dialogue in and about the academy.

Author Biography

Casey L. Woodfield, Rowan University

Casey Woodfield is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education at Rowan University. Her work centers communication and inclusion as inextricably connected imperatives. Using a disability studies framework her research explores the nuances of communication support partnerships, inclusive educational practice, and transformative qualitative methods.