Do you want to create a thriving community for your neurodivergent community members? Do you want to support your community’s mental health? Dr. Katie Pryal has the answers.

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Katie Rose Guest Pryal, J.D., Ph.D., is a bipolar-autistic author, speaker, lawyer, and law professor. With a law degree and a doctorate in rhetoric, she is an expert in public discourse and how it influences policy. She has spent nearly two decades researching neurodiversity and how to make the world more accessible to all people.

She is the author of more than fifteen books that center neurodiversity and mental health. Her latest book, A Light in the Tower: A New Reckoning with Mental Health in Higher Education (University Press of Kansas, 2024). She is also the author Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education (Blue Crow, 2017). 

Dr. Pryal is a frequent speaker, writer, and media guest for venues such as The New York Times, Slate, Al-Jazeera, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and more, and she publishes research on neurodiversity and mental health. An avid equestrian, she founded NeuroEq, an organization dedicated to inclusion of neurodiversity in the equestrian community. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Speech topics

Reckoning with Mental Health and Neurodiversity in Higher Education

Higher education communities are facing a mental health crisis that has been a long time coming—but Dr. Pryal, expert in mental health and neurodiversity in higher education communities, has answers. In this talk, she helps audiences understand what neurodiversity is, how stigma harms neurodivergent students and faculty in higher education communities, and how to bring neurodivergent community members into the fold.

Teaching with Neurodiversity and Mental Health in Mind

We have far more neurodivergent students in our classrooms than we know—students with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and more. How can we shape our teaching to best serve these students—and all of our students—without putting too much strain on ourselves as faculty? In this talk, Dr. Pryal explains the learning struggles neurodivergent students face and gives specific advice for how to help them.

Embracing Neurodiversity in Your Workplace or Community

In this talk, Dr. Pryal reveals the barriers and provides strategies for creating true inclusion of neurodivergent people in your workplace or community. Dr. Pryal will guide your group toward a greater understanding of neurodiversity and mental health, stigma and how it prevents inclusion, and how to create a community that benefits all people.


Burnout has always been around, but only in 2019 did the World Health Organization add it to the International Classification of Diseases (the ICD-11) as an official syndrome. Post-pandemic, burnout seems to be everywhere—indeed, it is systemic. A recent study shows that, in the U.S., rates are up by nearly 25%. The mental health toll of burnout is only now being seen. Workers, parents, students, professionals, and entrepreneurs are all suffering; burnout doesn’t discriminate. But when we are burning out, we often don’t recognize it, and when we do, we often don’t know what do to about it. 

Dr. Pryal applies her decade-plus of research on mental health and organizations to help your group understand systemic burnout, spot it, and then address it. In either a keynote or workshop format, customized to your needs, Dr. Pryal delivers hopeful guidance in these challenging times.

A Field Guide to Neurodivergent Parenthood

Are you a neurodivergent parent or parent of neurodivergent children? Do you struggle to find your place in the world? Do you wish to understand how to better include neurodivergent parents and children in your community?

In this talk, Dr. Katie Pryal, a bipolar-autistic mom to two autistic kids, recounts heartwarming and hilarious stories of her own childhood and of parenting her children. Audiences will fall in love with Dr. Pryal's heartfelt, frustrating, yet inspiring and funny tales from the front lines of neurodiversity and accessibility. When Dr. Pryal shares her story of childhood and motherhood with audiences, she not only informs with research and powerful storytelling, but also expands audiences’ capacity for empathy and compassion. 

Listeners will leave with key takeaways for how to create inclusive communities for parents and children that gather everyone with accessibility and empathy.


A Light in the Tower: A New Reckoning with Mental Health in Higher Education

With evocative storytelling and incisive research, Pryal brings a new eye to the mental health crisis that higher education has faced for decades. Addressing the stigma that haunts mental disability on campus, the ableism that dogs our teaching, and the cascade of mental health struggles that far too many faculty and students face, Pryal provides straightforward solutions to these complex problems. Our communities must only garner the courage to take the necessary steps.

The Freelance Academic: Transform Your Creative Life and Career 

Higher education has changed—and we have to change with it. The Freelance Academic will show you how.

Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education 

Academia isn’t an easy place to be if your brain isn’t quite right.

Even If You’re Broken: Bodies, Boundaries, and Mental Health.

How do we make a good life in a world where sexual violence always lurks in the shadows? 

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