“It would be simpler to see success without dominating discourse of ability”
Neurodivergent Communicators in Postsecondary Education
Keywords: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.
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