Giving Compass' Take:

• At the College of William & Mary, mentors are available for neurodivergent students -- individuals that identify as autistic, dyslexic, or having ADHD or other related traits. Specialized orientations provide neurodivergent students with more intimate tours that stay away from louder, crowded events, and offer flexible alone time for students. 

• Why is it important for colleges to recognize these students and provide support systems for them? Do colleges in your area offer services for neurodivergent students? 

Read about which colleges are taking the lead for students with disabilities. 

With parties, pep rallies and the departure of their parents, many freshmen find college orientation exhilarating.

Others primarily perceive it as … noisy.

“William & Mary orientation is very extensive, very loud and pretty difficult for most neurodivergent students,” says Alanna Van Valkenburgh, a rising senior at the college.

For the past two summers, she’s helped to lead a pre-orientation program designed to better suit the temperaments of a dozen or so freshmen who identify as autisic, dyslexic or having ADHD or other related traits. The intimate weekend involves plenty of fun, like touring campus at midnight, building mattress forts and playing group games. But every event is optional, and students are encouraged to take breaks when they’d prefer to be alone.

Reexamining orientation is one way institutions are adapting to support students whose social and cognitive needs differ from those of the majority.

Some efforts to foster neurodiversity on campus build on programs college administrations have long bolstered, like offices for disability services. Others, though, are trickier to tackle from the dean’s office.

Which is why colleges are recruiting neurodivergent students to serve as peer mentors to help their classmates make friends, navigate social nuances and broaden the idea of who can thrive not just in a classroom, but also in a dorm or dining hall.

Read the full article about mentors for neurodivergent students in college by Rebecca Koenig at EdSurge.