Many neurodiverse young people do not have access to informal educational opportunities to support them in developing STEM skills that align with their career interests and potential.
EDC, together with NASA educators at Sonoma State University and informal education experts from the New York Hall of Science, are collaborating on the five-year NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (N3) project. N3 will provide a pathway to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a special focus on those on the autism spectrum.
This team will work with autistic learners to co-develop a program that will:
- Identify existing NASA resources that can be modified for accessibility
- Modify and test the resources with autistic and other neurodiverse learners to ensure that they meet documented needs
- Disseminate the resources through existing NASA SciAct groups, national youth networks, and autism-serving organizations
- Conduct professional development for informal educators and SciAct members who work with youth groups to ensure autistic learners are included equitably in activities
- Conduct professional development for NASA subject matter experts who will serve as mentors to autistic teens selected for internships
- Engage selected autistic teens in NASA-related internships
- To date, the N3 project has developed and successfully implemented several publicly available curricula based on three areas of study: solar, rockets, and astronomy.
- Neurodivergent student interns in the N3 program have successfully developed new research instruments and have won prestigious graduate fellowships.
Sonoma State University and the New York Hall of Science