Examining the Neurodiverse Postsecondary Experience

Amy J Thomas


The aim of this investigation was to examine the lived experience of postsecondary students who identify as neurodiverse. Participants included four females and one male, ages 20-23 years, matriculating in their second to fifth year of postsecondary education. The investigation followed a phenomenological research design, with data collected through face-to-face interviews. Participants were asked to describe their educational experiences including perspectives on accommodation use, interactions with faculty and peers, and management of day-to-day activities and academic demands. Analysis of interview data resulted in the emergence of three contextually relevant themes: (a) Accommodation Pros and Cons, (b) Perceived Flaws in the System, and (c) Necessity is the Mother of Invention. The emergent themes represent positive and negative experiences and highlight participant ingenuity and determination navigating the postsecondary environment. Findings corroborate earlier studies and suggest further examination of neurodiversity awareness, disability-related stigma and bias, and the effectiveness of disability supports and services provided in the postsecondary environment.


neurodiverse, postsecondary, accommodations, stigma, stress, lived experience

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ISSN: 2454-6623