I have dedicated my career to serving students who struggle with learning and behavioral challenges.
For years, I dreamed of leaving traditional schools to develop a holistic learning clinic that provides services to students with learning or behavioral issues. Then I learned about the Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness at the University of La Verne. It was like I had received a call to join a revolution!
The university’s LaFetra College of Education established the center in spring of 2017 to teach strategies that serve the unique way a person’s brain functions.
At the center, neurodiversity is a matter of social justice.
Society has made strides in achieving greater equality and inclusion regarding gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Yet, in many learning spaces, we still tolerate exclusion and bias against people with neurological differences.
People with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, mental illness, developmental delays, and behavioral challenges are often seen for abilities they lack, rather than their unique forms of genius.
Neurodiversity explores what is possible in education when we approach these differences as variations to be understood and supported, rather than conditions that need to be eliminated in search of “normal.”
This respect for diversity and inclusivity is central to the mission of both the LaFetra College of Education and the University of La Verne as a whole.
The center — founded and co-directed by Associate Professor of Education Dr. Patricia Taylor — will train parents, classroom teachers, professors, mental health professionals, community educators, and others. Through certificate programs, weekend workshops, and experiential learning, these professionals will improve their ability to teach and serve neurologically diverse learners at a high level.
The center’s hallmark is its approach to learning and wellness. We focus firmly on the value of mindfulness and nutrition to support a healthy brain and nervous system. Our first event of the fall features best-selling author Joel Fuhrman, M.D. His Oct. 26 lecture on the role of nutritional medicine in optimizing brain function and learning is the first of many events designed to expand fixed views about learning and cognitive potential.
The Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness is located at 1574 Arrow Highway, Suite A, next to the university’s Human Resources and Business Affairs offices. Please stop by to visit. We look forward to having you join our revolution!
Niki Elliott is co-director of the Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness at the University of La Verne.