Knowledge about the brain has grown rapidly in the last decade. Myths about conditions have been exploded. Neurodiverse conditions ARE NOT merely bad behavior and the result of bad parenting and teaching. Judy Singer coined the term “Neurodiversity” in 1999.
Inspired by the work of Mary Colly
Neurodiversity: A Complexity of inter-actions?
Singer views human beings as neurodiverse with differences in the way their brains are “wired”, inter-acting with other cultural and genetic differences. The complex and cumulative inter-actions between all these factors affect the way people think, learn and understand the world and inter-act with it, in the family and wider social contexts.
The population as a whole is incredibally neuro-diverse but some people have a combination of differences that may make them exceptionally gifted and creative in some areas but present challenges for them in everyday tasks of life and learning. Where specific differences create an identifiable group of challenging symptoms, they have been given labels – Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Bipolar syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia amongst others. Often other conditons, such as depression or anxiety are present, caused by the way in which people have been treated or mis-diagnosed. In some cases, the conditions are associated with addictions where untreated people seek to medicate themselves in order to cope with life. However, just because someone has difficulty with, say, words or memory it does not mean they have difficulties in other areas, say maths or co-ordination. This is why NeuroKnowHow never make assumptions about the needs of different students, each with their unique abilities and needs.
Social or Medical; Asset or Deficit?
The degree to which labelled conditions are viewed as problems or assets is also affected by the nature of society, how it is organised, what it demands of people and how it accommodates differences, especially those which don’t easily fit into accepted norms. Societies valuing creativity and needing new solutions or courageous people to fight or go into unexplored territory will regard the differences as valuable abilities. On the other hand, those demanding standardised, structured & known ways of life are more likely to view the differences as problems to be suppressed by ridicule, drugs or the law. The degree to which neurodiversity is a social, behavioural or medical issue, or combination of these, is an on-going debate affecting attitudes in society and the level of funding and assistance offered. What is known, however, is that help given to an individual is not sufficient if the people and communities around them are not also helped to understand the way they learn. This is why NeuroKnowHow delivers services through schools, colleges and work-place and helps increase the understanding and skills of people they work and study with, especially those who have power over their performance and results.