Mathematics instructor serves as Neurodiverse ERG vice chair
Erin Manthey, an adjunct mathematics instructor at Dakota County Technical College, presented on neurodiversity at the 2023 MNADE Conference “Refocusing on Developmental Education” at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota, in late September.
Titled “Reaching our Neurodivergent Students,” Erin’s presentation was designed for educators wishing to enhance their teaching practices with insights and tools that cater to the unique needs of neurodivergent students.
“The diverse world of neurodiversity includes conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more,” Erin explained. “We discussed practical strategies on how to recognize and support neurodivergent students while creating an inclusive and enriching learning environment for all.”
Erin also hosted a neurodiversity/autism session during a DCTC faculty lunch-and-learn with future sessions in the works. She serves as vice chair of the college’s Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group (ERG), which works to create and sustain a neuro-inclusive campus environment at the college and beyond.
Erin is faculty advisor for the Unified Club, a student club that brings together students with and without disabilities with the goal to build relationships, spread acceptance, and make sure everyone feels included and welcome at DCTC. She works with Maggie Laurel, the college’s learning technology support specialist, the club’s staff advisor.
“I feel privileged to serve in the ERG,” Erin said, “and I enjoy advising students in the Unified Club. The fact that I get to work for organizations that prioritize the voices of neurodivergent people is still a bit of a shock to me. I feel lucky to be a part of both endeavors.”
Anna Voight is associate director of student life at DCTC. Anna also chairs the Neurodiverse ERG.
“Erin is doing great work creating greater awareness, understanding, and advocacy for our neurodivergent communities,” she said. “Her commitment to the success of all students goes a long way in building a sense of greater belonging on campus.”
More about Erin…
Erin started teaching at DCTC in 2010. She has been teaching since she was a child when she would make her friends “play school.” Connecting with students of varied backgrounds and experiences, making mathematical topics relevant, and “engineering” new lesson ideas are the things that keep her motivated for each day.
Erin holds an M.S. in Education with an Emphasis in Mathematics from Southwest Minnesota State University, a B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Stout, and a B.S. in Applied Math from Metropolitan State University.
In her free time, Erin enjoys running, cooking, or attempting to be musical. She has also volunteered as a pacer for the Lost Dog Pace Team for more than a decade.
What is neurodiversity?¹
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. The neurodiversity movement emerged during the 1990s, aiming to increase acceptance and inclusion of all people while embracing neurological differences.
Read a related story on DCTC News…
Erin Manthey • Q & A
Why is fostering neurodiversity on campus and elsewhere important for everyone?
It’s important because neurodivergent people are valuable and talented people in the workforce. When we create an environment where they can contribute, we welcome more talent and experience into our organization and can further achieve other important strategic goals.
What do you enjoy most about your work promoting neurodiversity at DCTC?
Mostly that I’m allowed to at all. I also really enjoy meeting other neurodivergent employees and learning that I’m not alone in how my brain works.
What can we do to fully welcome and mobilize neurodiverse perspectives?
Listen. Each neurodivergent individual has their own experience and challenges. Trust that even though what they are saying may sound different, it is important to them and an honest reflection of how they experience the world.
Learn more about the Neurodiverse Employee Resource Group (ERG) and the Unified Club at DCTC by contacting:
Associate Director of Student Life
Neurodiverse ERG Chair
Dakota County Technical College
Neurodiverse ERG Vice Chair
Unified Club Faculty Advisor
SAGA Faculty Advisor
Dakota County Technical College
Learning Technology Support Specialist
Unified Club Staff Advisor