Quick Theory Post #2: Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity grew out of the work of autistic self-advocates, or autistic people who identify as activists. Here is a definition from an interview with a neurodiversity activist you can read in full here.

Neurodiversity, the word, simply means the whole variety of different brain wirings people have…from the different kinds of normal to the different kinds of not so normal. Then there’s Neurodiversity, the movement which is the shocking idea that people with non standard wiring are human and deserve to be treated as such without being “fixed” first.

Neurodiversity began in the autistic community but has spread to multiple disability communities such as learning disabilities (and/or dyslexia), intellectual disabilities, ADHD, and more.  And of course, it encompasses everyone, as the concept rejects normal or abnormal.  There are no normal brains; each brain is unique. This is a fundamental concept in Universal Design for Education as well.  The concept is well established in research on the brain, which finds both variability (CAST, 2011) and increased understanding of neuroplasticity.

One way to explore neurodiversity is to look at one disability from multiple perspectives.  The following are a set of links that explore neurodiversity, from the community in which it began.

Jim Sinclair’s essay, “Don’t Mourn for Us”

Boundy, K. (2008) “Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?”: An exploration of the neurodiversity movement

Interview with neurodiversity advocate Kassaine


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