Neurodiversity Task Force

“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. The word neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities.”

Although advances in neuroscience over the past few decades have increased our awareness of neurodiversity, our learning environments have been slower to adapt to that reality. In the context of graduate education, programs’ expectations in terms of students’ “normative” time and their demonstration of subject matter expertise through coursework and/or program milestones, such as qualifying examinations, have largely remained unchanged.

About the Task Force

At Berkeley, we believe that we cannot build an inclusive learning environment if it is not sensitive and responsive to the needs of our neurodivergent graduate students. This Task Force is our first step in that effort. Building on presentations from national experts at the cutting edge of neurodiversity research and educational practice, in addition to listening sessions with current neurodivergent graduate students to hear their stories and their needs and draw on their expertise, the Task Force is charged with proposing what changes they believe would need to happen in order for graduate education at Berkeley to serve our neurodiverse prospective and current students’ needs. The goal is for the Task Force to arrive at a set of recommendations for the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion by March 1, 2023.

Proposed committee members


  • Lisa Garcia Bedolla


  • Sarah Acosta

Graduate Students:

  • Tyus Williams
  • William Carter

DSP representative(s ):

  • Julie Greene

Tang/UHS representative(s):

  • Peter Cornish (or his designee)
  • Claytie Davis
  • Cathy Kodama
  • Danielle Davidson

Graduate Council representative:

  • Eve Sweetser


  • Fabrizio Mejia, E&I
  • Andrea Rex, Graduate Division
  • Kate Perry, EdPsych
  • Linda Song (available to consult for policy expertise re: milestones)


  • Jonah Levy or Justin Davidson (DSP faculty liaisons):
  • Laura Sterponi (studies autism and literacy)
  • Michael Silver (studies perception and learning)
  • Sharon Inkelas (relevant to her role as AVPF)