ACC student Aaron Moeller (they/them) and ACC’s Transformation Coach Samatha Thomson (she/her) will be presenting at SXSW EDU 2024 to help illustrate the work ACC has done to become neurodivergent inclusive. Thomson spearheaded ACC’s initiative to make our Student Experience & Outcomes department a Certified Neurodiverse Workplace. She coaches and works alongside ACC’s neurodivergent students to help build a sense of purpose and belonging. Moeller will be interviewed by Thomson about how services and supports have helped them persist and thrive in the session titled “Letters From a Neurodivergent Student Leader.”

Moeller is very involved at the college — they are the Vice President of NeuroBats of ACCess Autism, Vice President of ACC’s ACCENT Media, an ACC GROW associate with the college’s Student Impact & Outcomes Office, Hispanic Students Senator of the ACC Student Government Association, and more. They describe themself as non-binary, Hispanic, autistic, neurodivergent, and a survivor of both a hate crime and sexual assault.

SXSW EDU Session: Letters from a Neurodivergent Student Leader

Date: Monday, March 4, 2024
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Austin Convention Center, Room 18AB
Session Description:
Ticket Purchase Link:

Hear more about the session and Moeller’s purpose for doing it:

Samantha Thomson and I will be giving a presentation on March 4th at the SXSW EDU Conference in conversation format, and we will be discussing supports I believe are invaluable, as well as the publication I authored, edited, designed, and published, titled “ACCESS AUTISM.”

I created my newsletters to showcase students who are neurodivergent at Austin Community College. I began writing about the challenges I have faced in my life being neurodivergent. I talk about my interactions with stigmas, such as the label “high-functioning,” how I have been told I “do not look autistic,” and being told that I have had “autistic breakdowns.”

In my newsletters, I talk about the power of community and the importance of fostering a feeling of belonging for students who are neurodivergent. I also provide through my writing my experiences with autism, complex PTSD, OCD, and the intricacies of finding myself after I was sexually assaulted and how I navigated my subsequent imposter syndrome and social masking.

Samantha will interview me, and I will give my anecdotal experiences as well as advocate for schools worldwide to implement the same types of neuro-inclusive higher education wrap-around services we have at ACC, like student-led organizations, clinical counseling, Transformation Coaches, Neurodiverse Specialists, and student worker programs like GROW; all of which have changed my life and helped me gain the skills I needed to be successful.

I write my newsletters because I want to bring awareness to society of people who are neurodivergent and in crisis but may not be receiving empathy and to demystify the stigmas surrounding neurodiversity in the efforts to promote and build inclusivity.

I thank everyone who voted for me and helped me gain this opportunity to use my voice in a meaningful way; I aim to change the world by using my voice and advocating for accessibility accommodations and services for all students who need them and to create a more inclusive place for all students who are neurodivergent.