What are the experiences and perceptions of gaining academic accommodations for Ontario undergraduate women with ADHD?
This research is for a semi-structured interviews that investigate the experiences of women with ADHD gaining accommodations.
ADHD Director / Lab Manager: Adrianna Schmeichel
Adrianna is a recent Queen's University graduate where she studied psychology. In her time at Queen's Adrianna was the co-founder and co-president of the Get Psyched Club, a club aimed to bring together a community of students to discuss relevant topics in psychological research. She has also published an article for the Queen's Sexual Health Research Lab blog, on the topic of self-sexualization as empowerment and objectification in women.
Dyslexia Director / Lab Manager: Anna Coughlan
Anna is a 4th-year stsudent at the University of Toronto specializing in Psychology and Physiology. She advocates for neurodiversity awareness and promotes a more inclusive and tolerant school and workplace environment.
Principal investigator: Dr. Meg Gibson
Meg is an associate professor in Social Development Studies and Social Work at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Canada. Her scholarship and teaching focus on queer and trans studies, critical disability studies, social work, feminist research methods, and the history and philosophy of social services. Meg's current research explores several areas: the perspectives of Autistic people on "eloping" or departing suddenly from places; the ways in which different people understand and use "neurodiversity"; and the experiences of diverse parents (particularly 2SLGBTQ and/or disability-identified parents) in meeting the care and work responsibilities in their households – and how policy can best support them.
Collaborator: Ami Tint (CAMH)
Ami Tint, Ph.D. (York University), is a clinician scientist and clinical psychologist at the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre at CAMH. She completed her pre-doctoral residency at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship at CAMH. Dr. Tint’s research uses mixed methods to understand how to improve supports and services for people with neurodevelopmental conditions, with a particular focus on the mental health needs of Autistic girls and women. She studies program development and evaluation with the aim of improving equitable access to care for neurodivergent people. Dr. Tint strives to achieve meaningful community partnerships and engages in coproduced research to inform policy and clinical practice.
Collaborator: Virginie Cobigo
Dr. Virginie Cobigo obtained her PhD in Psychology from the Université du Québec à Montréal and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Virginie Cobigo leads research that supports evidence-based practice in sectors supporting persons with cognitive disabilities and aims to promote the social inclusion of persons with cognitive disabilities. Her research program encompasses three streams: 1) Examining how to best support the social inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities, and monitoring social inclusion barriers and facilitators 2) Developing and testing solutions for the cognitive accessibility of our environment, and 3) Fostering inclusive research approaches.
WHY WE PARTICIPATE IN THIS RESEARCH
Research in the field of neurodiversity, especially ADHD, favour the use of male participants. This bias is in part due to the difference in ADHD presentation in males and females, as females tend to exhibit more internalizing symptoms that often fly under the radar. This is only exacerbated by gender biases that clinicians can unwittingly hold, resulting in interventions and supports being designed with mostly male cohorts. Given that neurodivergent women represent a significant proportion of the disabled population, with 20% of the total female population being neurodivergent (National Cancer Institute), it is imperative that research focus on the intersectionality between gender and disability. Unfortunately, neurodivergent females have historically always been neglected, and are frequently the victims of unspeakable abuse due to late-stage diagnosis and support. This neglect extends to academic settings in which there are limited studies acknowledging gender differences in requesting and obtaining academic supports in post-secondary for students with ADHD. Nor are these differences accounted for by post-secondary institutions when determining the eligibility for accommodations. Given the combined pressure of gender stereotypes and stigma around ADHD, gender differences in perceived support from their institutions could influence willingness to communicate accommodations, and in turn an institution's willingness to provide accommodations. Furthermore, what barriers and supports that exist for ADHD students seeking accommodations may greatly differ based on gender, considering the differences in diagnosis, areas of impairment, and social experiences. Academic accommodations are vital to the success of neurodivergent students in postsecondary and beyond. For this reason, the lack of research focusing on gender and academic support is unacceptable.
Our mission at DiverseMinds is to bring awareness to the experiences and challenges of neurodivergent women. We do this through our magazine, various programs, and now, through contributing to research on neurodiversity in women. Our team developed this research question with feedback from the neurodiverse community and through discussion with our advisory board, and then actively reached out to researchers in the field. Our advisory board is composed of experts including therapists, coaches, influencers and researchers, many of whom have lived experiences in the field of neurodiversity from around the world. Our community perspective that was used to develop this project makes it unique, and can have direct implications for our community.
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