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We are looking for mentees for our mentoring programme!

Neurodiversity at Oxford is introducing a university mentoring programme for neurodiverse students to be mentored by neurodiverse university staff. Mentoring will address the particular experiences, challenges and opportunities of being a neurodiverse student, though the exact content will be agreed between mentor and mentee. We are piloting the programme by having students reach out to mentors directly - the list of available mentors are in the drop-down links for this page. If you would like us to facilitate an introduction, we are more than happy to help - email to ask about mentoring for more information. 


Mentoring Structure 

The length and frequency of meetings and overall duration of the period of mentoring will be agreed between mentor and mentee depending on the goals of the mentee and capacities of both, but we suggest 1-2 meetings per term from 30 mins to 1 hour. These can be remote or in-person in whatever setting mentor and mentee prefer. 

Mentor Training

Mentors are trained by Genius Within, a  social enterprise set up to support neurodiverse people ‘unlock their talents, whilst acknowledging and celebrating that this diversity forms part of the rich tapestry of human experience’.

This training explored different areas of neurodiversity and the strategies and models that can best support students, including sessions on Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia; ADHD & Mental Health Conditions including depression, stress and anxiety; and Autism Spectrum Conditions. 


Some strategies and models discussed include: 

-- Clean Language: The clean feedback model was designed by Nancy Doyle and Caitlin Walker in 2003 and designed around business coaching, where the quality of feedback was an issue.

There was a dissatisfaction with the models available and therefore they designed the model to allow them to give positive and negative feedback, but also to provide a developmental task as Levy and Williams proposed in business contexts that managers often hated giving feedback, they tended to edge around negative issues, over-generalise, and fail to give sufficient details of what is required to improve.

The clean feedback model aims to provide a structure for high quality, clear, task-level feedback. It is sensory specific, that is, it refers the individual to what they have seen or heard through their senses, rather than what they have made up or interpreted from data. An individual needs to know exactly how they did something wrong, so that they can avoid the behaviour in the future. Equally, how exactly did they do the task correctly, so they can repeat it?


-- Circles of control: The basic idea is that instead of spending a lot of energy thinking about and getting angry about things you don’t influence (like the weather, or the economy, or the environment), you spend your energy and time on things you do influence.


-- Drama to Calmer: Based on the Drama Triangle which was first described by Stephen Karpman in the 1960s. It is a model of dysfunctional social interactions and illustrates a power game that involves three roles: Victim, Rescuer, and Persecutor, each role represents a common and ineffective response to conflict.


-- Mind Management & Triune Brain: This model suggests there are different sections of the brain. Each one has a different role and therefore different responses. Very important to consider in mentoring situations. The neurologist Paul MacLean has proposed that our skull holds not one brain, but three, each representing a distinct evolutionary stage that has formed upon the older layer before it, like an archaeological site. Triune brain theory is about understanding the basic needs that drive our behaviour and can lead to misinterpretation. 

Image from Genius Within of a training workshop where a group sit around a table with pens, paper, and laptops in discussion