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Inclusive Learning Environments to Support Mental Health and Neurodiversity

Education institutions across the country are seeing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of their new and returning students. Most commonly, colleges are reporting higher rates of symptoms of anxiety and depression (Zhai & Du, 2020). Simultaneously, there is an increased demand to meet the social, psychological, and academic needs of neurodiverse students, who have been significantly impacted by the pandemi

Jan Behounek, Principal, Director of Higher Education and Carol Stolt, Design Principal, both of FGMA along with Katie Kamholz, Board Certified Art Therapist, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Alif Muhammad, Counselor and ADHD-certified Clinical Services Provider both of Seasons Within, LLC will present during the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP) North Central Conference being held in Chicago October 17-19, 2022.

This session will identify these intersections of needs, and provide both theory and practical recommendations about responding through the built environment to create spaces that are inclusive, accessible, trauma-informed, and supportive of growth of all students.

“Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits,” according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Neurodiverse learners can go undetected and misunderstood, lost in a learning setting without the right supports. Increasing awareness, inclusion and engagement planning for the neurodiverse student will create a path to success. Often, it is a matter of building trust with this student population.

Academic engagement, social engagement, and creating spaces in the built environment to make this student population feel safe and valued are key to their support. Universal Design creates a framework to address the needs of the neurodiverse, and beyond.

To learn more about this presentation and how we can support your organization, please contact:

Jan Behounek, FGM Architects

Carol Stolt, FGM Architects

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