About

MnNEAT (Minnesota Neurodivergent Education Advocacy and Therapy Services) incorporated at the end of January 2021, so we are a brand new organization!  Our board of directors are a group of volunteers (the majority of whom are neurodivergent), who are united around our mission and vision.

Nothing about us without us.

We embrace the motto “Nothing about us without us” and acknowledge that our board of directors does not adequately represent the diversity that exists within the neurodivergent community. We are dedicated to building trust and relationships in the neurodivergent community, and by doing so, invite you to be involved as we grow and learn.

Meet the board

Lizzie Duffy

Lizzi Duffy, MS-OTR/L
President

I’m an Autistic Occupational Therapist parenting a neurodivergent child. I’ve been an Occupational Therapist for over 13 years, and have served people across the lifespan in schools, pediatrics, TCU/LTC/ALF, and home health.

I’ve also had to personally navigate the health care and education systems. I’ve observed and experienced challenges both providing services and receiving services.

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My experience gives me a unique perspective, and I am determined to find solutions. In recent years, I’ve embraced:

“Nothing about us without us.”
– Quote from disability movements

 

Some of the methods I’ve used in the past, unknowingly likely caused harm to those I was trying to help. But, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” –Maya Angelou

I believe as time moves along, we will continue to learn, and we will continue to do better if we are willing to challenge our biases and seek other perspectives.

I founded MnNEAT so professionals and the community can learn directly from the neurodivergent community in order to provide services that match their values.

Lizzie Duffy
Dr. Julia Sterman, (PhD, OTR/L) Vice President
Dr. Julia Sterman (PhD, OTR/L) is a lecturer in occupational therapy at Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland. She has clinical experience providing family-centered, strengths-based therapy in schools, inpatient rehabilitation, clinics, and home-based early intervention. In her teaching and research, she seeks to increase inclusion and well-being of children with disabilities, especially neurodivergent children, by changing environments, including addressing ableism and racism within occupational therapy practice and education.
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Her current research includes qualitative work with autistic co-investigators to identify ways that occupational therapy can practice in a neurodiversity friendly, identity affirming manner with autistic children. She is also conducting research on family-centered emergency preparedness for children with disabilities, including actions that families can do, and advocacy that they need to support unmet needs. Julia is continually questioning her current practice and learning ways she can do better to clinically practice, teach, and research to support neurodivergent populations.

Erika Hegland, MA LPCC

As a neurodivergent individual who provides mental health therapy services to primarily neurodivergent folks, I have been overwhelmed with the lack of education, support, and understanding there is for all things neurodivergent in the professional community.

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Mis-diagnosis, problematic, and even trauma inducing therapy practices have caused insurmountable pain for far too many individuals and families. If as a professional it is difficult to find other professionals who truly support the autonomy and well-being of neurodivergent people and who “get it,” how are people looking for professional support going to find what they need?

We absolutely have to do better. I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that “gets it” and that is passionate about providing services and supports that will help move us in the direction we need to go. With all of my heart I hope that you will find the support that you need and the understanding that you deserve.

Molly Fraser Hoffard

Molly Fraser Hoffard

Molly Fraser Hoffard is a Partners in Policymaking graduate and mother of 2 children. She became an advocate for neurodiverse and disabled people after the birth of her nonspeaking autistic son. She created a hybrid advocacy and consulting group consisting of people with disabilities with the goal of making places and spaces more welcoming for every single person regardless of diagnosis. She serves on several boards related to disability and special education and strives to advocate for self determination. She works with several agencies and businesses to create events that not only meet the needs of everyone but to also make them safe and welcoming for neurodiverse people and their families. She is an advocate working against restraint and seclusion in schools.

Kelly Killorn, Ed.D.

Kelly Killorn, Ed.D
Dr. Kelly Killorn is an internationally recognized literacy expert with over 20 years of experience in public education at the primary and secondary levels. As a teacher leader in Bloomington Public Schools (Minnesota), she is implementing a district-wide initiative to build excellence-focused, good practices to prepare students for successful futures. She also works to enhance the performance of in-service educators as a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University.
Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams, Secretary

I am a neurodivergent individual, wife, and mother. I work full time as a clinical Athletic Trainer and believe that sports grow self confidence and are a great way to form relationships. I believe that every individual should have an opportunity to participate in sport regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or disability. I enjoy running, reading, eating donuts and drinking coffee.
Robyn DeCourcy
Robyn DeCourcy
Robyn DeCourcy (she/her) is a proudly neurodivergent Accessibility and Inclusion Specialist currently working as the Accessibility Coordinator for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. In addition to a self-designed BS degree in Liberal Arts and Autism Studies, DeCourcy also obtained a Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She has been a disability professional for over 13 years and is a regular speaker, writer, and consultant for a wide range of organizations across the Upper Midwest.
Jules Edwards
Summer Shepstone
Summer Shepstone

Help us grow.

If you are interested in more information, or would like to be involved in MnNEAT, please contact us! We would love to hear from you.

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