Introduction to NeuroDiversity 

NeuroDiversity - short for neurological diversity, refers to the diversity of human brains and minds, and to the idea that this is a natural, valuable form of diversity.

 

Description  -   The Challenges and Rewards that encompasse NeuroDiversity

There is a great deal of natural variation among human brains and human minds, and this variation is called neurodiversity. It is similar in many ways to other forms of diversity, such as ethnic, racial, cultural, sexual, or gender diversity. Like these other forms of diversity, neurodiversity can enrich a society or community that embraces it. However, unfortunately, like many other forms of diversity it can frequently be met with prejudice, judgement and hostility by people who are either unaware, ill informed, fearful of difference and/or believe that there’s just one “right” way for others to be, to think, or to act.

Therefore neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labelled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others.

It is also extremely common for a person to experience multiple symptoms and to be diagnosed as having multiple disorders.

The types of Neurodiversity

Dyscalculia

Difficulties in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in mathematics. Dyscalculia can occur in people from across the whole IQ range, often, but not always, involving difficulties with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning. It is innate, genetic or developmental in origin, and it has been reported that a quarter of children with dyscalculia will also be diagnosed with ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A chronic neurological disorder that is thought to be genetic and developmental in origin, thus beginning in childhood, affecting working memory, and occurring in individuals from across the whole IQ range.  Symptoms can affect an individuals ability remembering instructions, planning of movements, their co-ordination and balance, preforming practical tasks, poor spatial awareness and difficulty organizing one's time and remembering deadlines.  They can experience an increased propensity to lose things or have problems carrying out tasks which require remembering several steps in sequence.  They may also experience a narrowing of their attention (hyper-focusing) and sensory processing sensitivity.

Dyslexia

A learning disability that is commonly characterized by trouble reading and can occur in people from across the whole IQ range. Different people are affected to different degrees, for example they may experience problems sounding out words, spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, pronouncing words when reading aloud, and understanding what was read. In contrast, many individuals that are dyspraxic have excellent long-term memories.  The cause of dyslexia is believed to involve both genetic and environmental factors and can occur more often in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) & Asperger's Syndrome (AS)

'Autism Spectrum Condition' is a term widely used to describe the range of the Autism spectrum, including Asperger Syndrome. Autism is a difference in the way a person thinks, perceives and therefore understands the world and others.  This results in difficulties or differences in communication and social interaction including problems understanding and being aware of other people's emotions and feelings; it can also include delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly. They may also experience and show restricted and repetitive patterns of thought, interests and physical behaviours – including making repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting, and becoming upset if these set routines are disrupted. Like each of these NeuroDiverse disorders the way Autism impacts on each individual is unique - no two people are exactly the same and people with Autism can continue to learn throughout their lives and live independently.

Tourette Syndrome

neurological disorder affecting the brain and nervous system. Onset usually starts in childhood and like each of the other neurodiverse disorders continues into adulthood. In many cases Tourette's syndrome often runs in families, and can be characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics (involuntary movement) and at least one vocal (phonic) tic (involuntary noises). These tics characteristically wax and wane and can be suppressed temporarily. Tourette's is defined as part of a spectrum of tic disorders, which includes provisional, transient and persistent (chronic) tics.

Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a disorder often spotted in childhood and affects movement and co-ordination.  It is also known as Developmental Co-ordination disorder (DCD).  

Dyspraxia affects co-ordination skills such as tasks requiring balance; such as kicking and throwing a ball, riding a bike and fine motor skills (such as writing or using small objects carefully) in children and adults. It is different from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke; for example, dyspraxia is where the signals from the brain to the body get muddled, cerebral palsy is where a specific area of the brain is damaged affecting the movement of muscles in certain limbs. This suggests dyspraxia affects the whole body, whereas cerebral palsy can affect any number of limbs depending on which area of the brain is affected and occurs in people of all intellectual abilities.

The symptoms of dyspraxia can vary between individuals and may change over time.  They can also impact on a person’s social and emotional world, as well as with their time management, planning and personal organisation.  All of which can affect a person throughout their life span.