About NRI

About NRI

The Neurodiversity Research Initiative (NRI) of the Brain Health Research Institute (BHRI) is a consortium of researchers, educators, health and service professionals, and neurodiverse individuals, whose goal is to stimulate and support inclusive and innovative interdisciplinary research and education leading to a broader and deeper understanding of neurodiversity. 


In contemporary society individuals with neurological/cognitive disabilities have begun to identify as “neurodiverse.” Collectively, their medical, educational, and treatment experiences encourage a broader conversation and inclusion of their perspectives. Neurodiversity embraces the concept that people experience and interact with the world in a variety of ways. Embedded in this concept is the belief that there is no ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, behaving. Instead, differences are viewed as a positive aspect of the human condition (Baumer & Frueh, 2021; Shogren et al., 2018). In contrast to the traditional medical model which seeks to fix or rehabilitate the disability using a narrow paradigm of normalcy, the neurodiversity philosophy emphasizes the humanity of individual differences. Research grounded in a neurodiverse perspective therefore requires an interdisciplinary focus and integration of the lived experiences of those who identify as are neurodiverse.

The neurodiversity perspective is aligned with other important frameworks guiding research, education, and services such as the World Health Organization (WHO) model of disability and the Disabilities Studies philosophy of disability being part of the human condition. The KSU Neurodiversity Research Initiative (NRI) will allow researchers from diverse fields to collaborate and include the voices and perspectives of neurodiverse individuals. The potential to better understand the complexities of neurodiversity, with application that fosters respect and inclusion across various sectors of society, can be realized with this Initiative.

Mission Statement

The Neurodiversity Research Initiative is a cooperative endeavor comprised of researchers and scholars at KSU and other institutions, who represent multiple disciplines and are committed to innovative research guided by the WHO and disability study models.


The Neurodiversity Research Initiative promotes equity and inclusion across social systems for all who are neurodiverse.


The Neurodiversity Research Initiative aims to bring together regional to global partners who possess a variety of perspectives, interests, and expertise to expand understanding and innovation in the science and study of neurodiversity. 

The NRI is affiliated with the Brain Health Research Institute and is composed of a director, a leadership committee, members, affiliates, and partners across the Kent State University campus and in Northeast Ohio.