"Nothing about us without us"

Discussion led by neurodiverse student panelists
June 7, 2024
Image of Neurodiversity

Disability Services for Students (DSS) facilitated a panel discussion titled "Nothing About Us, Without Us" this spring with students identifying as neurodiverse to share about their academic experience at the university. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring March 2024 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and SSU’s DSS department hosted events to continue developing an inclusive campus community.

“Neurodiversity is a fantastic term for encompassing the many different ways the brain can exist,” said Shannon McEntee, a senior at SSU who is a Psychology and Biology major.

McEntee added that she wished people knew that autism is more than symptoms. They often think the condition is just behavior. 

“Autism is the way you think, the way you perceive the world, and it is also what you give to the world. It is not always a gift, but I believe it is a gift,” she said.

Senior Disability Management Advisor Christy Giambastiani led the discussion on Zoom with four neurodiverse students. The panel covered numerous topics, such as how SSU can support neurodivergent students, the challenges of being a neurodiverse student, and what has helped students in their educational journey. 

McEntee emphasized that one crucial way Sonoma State can assist neurodiverse students is for professors to be more proactive and asking students to check in with them if they have learning differences. 

“When you are a disabilities services student, you often have to be your own advocate, so if professors could reach out more, or communicate early on that they are here to support us with DSS, that would be good,” she said.

- Krista Sherer, Strategic Communications Writer

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Krista Sherer