Florida State University launches professional certification on the fundamentals of neurodiversity

The new certification will teach practical approaches to support neurodivergent individuals with a focus on awareness, overcoming barriers and building resilience.

Florida State University is launching a new online professional development training on meeting the needs of neurodivergent clients. The Professional Certification in the Fundamentals of Neurodiversity was developed at the FSU College of Social Work in conjunction with the FSU Center for Academic and Professional Development.  

The new certification will teach practical approaches to support neurodivergent individuals with a focus on awareness, overcoming barriers and building resilience. 

 “Many of us know someone on the autism spectrum or someone with ADHD or other conditions of neurodivergence,” said Craig Stanley, interim dean of the College of Social Work, who served on the review committee of the certification. “We are proud to offer this new professional online training, appropriate for anyone who wants to serve and support neurodiverse individuals more effectively.” 

Worldwide, 15-20% of individuals have brains that function differently from what is considered “typical.” The evidence-based curriculum also emphasizes the strengths, capabilities, and resilience of neurodivergent individuals.  

The training course provides professionals from across disciplines including health care, education, law enforcement, social services, criminal justice, and other disciplines a comprehensive foundational knowledge of neurodiversity and practical approaches to supporting neurodivergent individuals of all ages.  

The curriculum builds on participants’ knowledge allowing them to increase awareness of accommodation, communication and sensory issues that neurodivergent individuals may need. Participants learn of crucial information and resources to help the neurodiverse community thrive. 

The online, self-paced curriculum consists of 10 hours of course content, including research-based readings, interactive activities, case scenarios, multimedia materials, assignments, and quizzes.  

An interdisciplinary team of researchers on neurodiversity across the United States helped review the course curriculum, including experts from Florida State University:

  • Kristy Anderson, Ph.D., MSW, Assistant Professor, College of Social Work
  • Juliann Woods, Ph.D., SLP-CCC, Emeritus Professor & Emeritus Director, Communication and Early Childhood Research and Practice Center at the Autism Institute
  • Amber Farrington, Ph.D., Director & Licensed Psychologist, Multidisciplinary Center
  • Allison Leatzow, Autism Consultant, Autism Institute

“Recognizing that changing how we communicate with neurodivergent individuals is one of the first steps to effectively serve them,” said. Allison Leatzow, an autism consultant at the FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and reviewer. “When professionals can connect on a level that makes someone feel heard, then that’s when the real support begins. This course will help strengthen that relationship between neurodivergent individuals and the professionals who work so hard to serve them.” 

For more information, contact The FSU Center for Academic & Professional Development at resilience@capd.fsu.edu  or (850) 644-7545.