Ivy Madden

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


This synthesis is designed to teach general education teachers about neurodiversity and the importance of recognizing neurodivergent students to better assist them in class. This includes exploring different ways to teach, perform lessons, and provide choices for students to choose how to do their assignments in order to express their knowledge. Specifically for general educators, the ideas presented are encouraged for teachers to research and implement for both neurodivergent and neurotypical students in their classrooms.

The Action Research method of problem solving inspired this synthesis and guided it to its completion. It is dedicated to my constituents (my colleagues), and any other educators looking to better their understanding of neurodiversity and inclusion education. There are four diagnoses I have chosen to research that I have found, in my experience, to be the most common diagnoses to be present in the general education classroom: ADHD/VAST, Autism, Down Syndrome, and Anxiety/Depression. The paper is organized to give brief descriptions of these diagnoses, how to reframe our thinking about educating these students, and share ideas to improve and implement lessons for all students to be successful, regardless of neurotype.

My research behind this synthesis focused on neurodivergent authors and their experiences, from their adolescent years, specifically their middle and high school years. Some of these ideas presented may already be known and are utilized, but I look forward to passing this synthesis on to my constituents to help boost your understanding of neurodivergent lives and answer your questions. I encourage you to do your own research, listen to neurodivergent voices, and practice inclusivity to the best of your abilities.