What is Neurodiversity?

The concept of Neurodiversity has a basis in science. We know from brain-imaging studies that there are some differences between individuals with ‘learning and thinking differences’ and their ‘neurotypical’ peers. Those differences appear in how the brain is “wired” and how it functions to support thinking and learning. These findings can explain the source of difficulty in school and community settings, for many individuals with learning and thinking differences. The setting is generally equipped for neurotypical learners and is not well suited for a full spectrum of different learners.

The Neurodiversity viewpoint understands that brain differences are normal rather than deficits and individuals who have neurodiversities that are not considered “neurotypical” are just as mainstream and therefore deserve to be respected and accommodated. Most school and community services still utilize disability labels in order for individuals to qualify for accommodations and extra funding from the government for assistance that is needed.

Neurodiversity is based on variations in the human brain regarding learning, mood, attention, sociability, and other mental functions. These differences are not pathologized as abnormal or unhealthy, but are seen as differences to be understood and worked with.

The term neurotypical arose alongside the term neurodiverse. Neurotypical describes individuals who display what is generally considered in a given social or cultural construct to be a typical range of intellectual and cognitive development.

Why does this matter?

Neurodiversity understanding is an approach to learning and disability that argues that diverse neurological conditions are a result of normal variations in the human experience, asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as any other human variation, on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury and others. This acknowledgement of Neurodiversity, can help reduce stigma around learning and thinking differences and allow for increased access and inclusion.

At Kingdon and Associates, we take into consideration the complex nuances of an individual’s expression of Neurodiversity, along with personality and environmental contributing factors, which informs the approach to intervention, determining what strategies will work best. We work with the teachers and support staff at school to ensure IEPs are well written and learning needs are being met.