The Global Disruption Summit

Understanding and Promoting Human Rights for Neurodivergent People

Kelly Cray is a Neurodivergent educator and the founder of The Autist Educator, as well as a full-time English Language Development instructor at Burr and Burton Academy. She holds a BS in Communications, is TESOL Certified, and is currently finishing her capstone project for a Double Master’s Degree. Cray also represents Vermont (USA) on the Northern New England TESOL Board and has worked in Education since 2007.

Neurodivergent people face extreme bias every day, and most of the world isn’t even aware this is a conversation that needs to happen. Autistic people have shorter lifespans by 16 years, with the leading cause of death being suicide. Misinformation and stigma permeate our society to such a degree that it is challenging for Neurodivergent people to learn about themselves without having to first wade through hate speech, outdated, untrue stereotypes, and terrible descriptors.

Neurodivergent adults often face harsh criticism from parents and doctors for speaking about their lived experiences, as they don’t align with popular misconceptions. Neurodivergent people need to fight daily for basic human rights. Autistic children in the United States can legally be subject to electroshock treatment and, until recently, subjected to chemical castration. It is time for this to end.

Educators and educational institutions can pave the way by learning to talk about Autism correctly using affirming identity first language. Stop unintentionally supporting organizations like Autism Speaks, which are viewed as hate groups by the Autistic community and don’t serve Neurodivergent people’s best interests. Create sensory-friendly environments that are comfortable spaces for all students to learn. It’s time Neurodivergent people are recognized as a valuable part of Humanity.

This session will make you aware of the social, political, academic, and medical struggles of Neurodivergent people. You will learn about the beautiful and supportive affirming communities that support Nuerodiveregent people and how to connect students to the support they need. Most importantly, you will learn how to recognize bias that is often overlooked by Neurotypical people and call it out.

Participants will leave with the knowledge of how to make Neurodiveregent people feel welcome at educational institutions in a world that feels very unwelcoming to us.