Photo by Ben White
Neurodiversity. The word helps us examine the way we view a variety of strengths and challenges. As a science, it’s backed up by research from a variety of fields, including neuroscience, psychology, and anthropology. As a working concept, it’s revolutionized our theories about education. It’s made our world richer and more complex and allowed us to see how environmental, social, and cultural norms infuse our understanding of human abilities.
Through decades of study and several best-selling books such as If Einstein Ran the Schools, The Human Odyssey, The Power of the Adolescent Brain, Awakening Genius in the Classroom, and especially, The Power of Neurodiversity, Dr. Thomas Armstrong has trail-blazed a way for students, teachers, and other assorted humans to tap into and celebrate our infinitely resplendent and uniquely neurodiverse brains.
Though each neurodivergent individual diverges from others in a very personalized way, what they have in common is a mutual need to look for and be supported by environments that accept them as they are as they try to adapt to the world around them. Rather than viewing neurodiversity as problematic, Armstrong looks through a positive lens, sharing insights about how these individuals can offer their own distinctive strengths, imagination, creativity, innovation, and talents. This is a population, which may be much bigger than we realize, waiting to be utilized, not ostracized, in the panoply of the human society.
“We’ve become one-sided in our disease-based orientation to brain differences,” writes Armstrong in The Power of Neurodiversity, “and need to spend time exploring the positive side to correct this imbalance.” Critical of the medical model, Arm...
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