Neurodiversity is a relatively new term that has been believed was first coined by the autism activist Judy Singer back in 1990s. This helps to divert the idea of ADHD being a ‘medical condition’ that needs ‘curing’ to merely just having a brain that’s differently ‘wired’ that needs ‘support’ and ‘nourishment’ to help the individual to reach their full potential!
The term “neurodiversity” is used to describe 1 in 20 people who have one or more of the following:
- TOURETT’S SYNDROME
By ‘diversity’ it’s meant acceptance. just because some people are born with a differently wired brain, it shouldn’t be a barrier in their way of success .More and more companies are now actively recruiting neurodiverse individuals. It is important that neurodiverse individuals feel accepted and a part of our growing society and economy.
In education point of view children who are neruodiverse suffer a lot! they struggle everyday, it could be because they can’t communicate their needs as well as a neurotypical child would, they might also struggle with the noise in the classroom, or maybe have additional sensory needs or disturbance. Neurodiverse children struggle and work really hard to be like a neurotypical child in making friends, getting their homework done or even feel included but still fall far behind, this can cause them to feel frustrated and act out or maybe they might completely withdraw themselves from everything and become a quite child who isn’t interested in learning anymore.
There are many ways an educator can support a neurodiverse child, some of them are provided below, but if there is something I’ve missed out please feel free to let me know!
CELEBRATE NEURODIVERSITY – celebrate neurodiversity in your classroom, with your group of children. Help them to understand the difficulties a neurodiverse child may have and encourage them to support each other and not to bully someone because they might act differently .
RAISE THEIR SELF’ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE- praise them for the other abilities they have, they might be very creative or very good at something . Show them what they should be proud of and not think of themselves as lesser being. this would greatly influence their future life.
SUPPORT & PROVIDE WITH REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS TO ‘ENABLE’ ACHIEVEMENTS- not providing a child with support who has “hidden” difficulties is just as bad as not providing someone with wheelchair a ramp to enter the building. it is best to communicate with parents and other professionals and planning how you can support individual child in best possible manner and changing or tweaking the learning approach for the child to help him/her feel confident and feel like an “achiever” .
There are currently 2 in 5 neurodiverse children who might suffer from dyslexia or dyscalculia , and this might be hidden. we must ensure that we are trained to understand and pinpoint any challenges a child may have otherwise we might have a youth in future who believes he/she aren’t capable to do simple day to day challenges.
Our job as an educator is to help child feel ‘able’ and not make them ‘disable’ .
We must help children feel confident with what skills they have and help them understand how they see the world differently and how have different challenges as compared to a neurotypical child , help them feel resilient in taking risks in order to learn something new!
Let us all take a pledge today that we would try our best to recognise the needs of neruodiverse child and help them feel confident . we will also raise awareness so that neurodiverse isn’t bullied or made feel less because of their differences.