Understanding Neurodiversity: What Disabilities are Neurodiverse?

Neurodiversity is an approach to education and capacity that acknowledges the fact that various neurological conditions are the result of normal variations in the human genome. ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, and dyslexia are all considered neurodiverse conditions. People who are neurodivergent have different strengths and challenges than those whose brains don't have these differences. These differences can include medical disorders, learning disabilities, and other conditions.

Strengths may include better memory, the ability to visualize 3D objects easily, and the capacity to solve complex mathematical equations in one's head. The term “neurodiversity” was first used by Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, in 1998 to recognize that each person's brain develops in a unique way. It is based on the social model of disability, which views disability as a civil rights issue. This model rejects the idea that an individual must be “normal” to enjoy the full range of human experiences and holds that an impediment should not be a barrier to inclusion or access. The medical model of disability describes the disabled person as having some type of deficit; the doctor's goal is to reduce or eliminate this deficit and bring the person as close to “normality” as possible. Neurodiversity emphasizes that disability is not a lack of competence and that society has an important role to play in how “disabling” a person's deficiencies are.

It is a recognition that everyone has different abilities and needs, and that these should be respected and accommodated.

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