The Neurodiversity Movement arose from the resistance of neurominority activists to their exclusion from employment, health, and education etc.
But if the movement is fully understood and used properly, it will find itself humanizing the working conditions of all humans, and providing an adequate standard of living for all, not just those with inherited wealth, paid employment, or entrepreneurial abilities.
Whether your goal is competitive advantage or human service, you should be able to meet your goals better under a Neurodiversity at Work banner, as opposed to an Autism at Work one. In both cases the supports needed are similar, but the neurodivergent population is substantially larger than the “only autistic” population so your chances of success are magnified.
While labels like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or PDD-NOS may be useful for therapists and childhood educators, the community-sourced alternative “neurodivergent” is probably better suited for colleges and workplaces. In those spaces, medical labels carry stigma that leads to conscious and unconscious marginalization. Expectations are always lower for people with disability diagnoses.
Neurodiversity is a new concept but the underlying reality has been part of human society forever. In the modern era work and school programs designed for the average person have excluded those whose cognitive styles fall outside that narrow midrange. Despite that, workplaces – including colleges – already contain plenty of neurodiversity so a primary program goal should be the better support of those people. Neurodiversity at School and at Work is not just about bringing new people into the fold.
The newest Neurodiversity initiatives recognize this fact.
By embracing the neurodiversity model instead of autism, employers can move toward a more inclusive welcoming environment.
I agree. At my company, we’re framing in terms of neurodiversity at work.
“The right to learn differently should be a universal human right that’s not mediated by a diagnosis.”
For “all means all” to be meaningful for neurodivergent and disabled students, we must commit to this.
a more reasonable approach is simply to expand the spectrum of normal while building a supportive environment tempered with patience.
This open access textbook on autistic community and the neurodiversity movement—edited by an autistic neurodiversity researcher—is a free download.
Parents and educators, check it out.
The distributed model can be a boon to folks who have difficulty working in an office, but ultimately it’s up to the people who create and design work environments — distributed or co-located — to recognize that there isn’t a normal employee or a normal mode of work. There are no abnormal employees with abnormal needs. Companies should reject this false dichotomy and acknowledge that every employee is different, and that some might also experience several forms of difference and marginalization at once. Everyone, however, is likely to be happier and more productive when they have choices, agency, and a way to express their individual needs.
Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?
For me, the key significance of the “Autistic Spectrum” lies in its call for and anticipation of a politics of Neurological Diversity, or “Neurodiversity”. The “Neurologically Different” represent a new addition to the familiar political categories of class / gender / race and will augment the insights of the social model of disability.
I updated “Neurodiversity in the Classroom” with a selection on sensory overwhelm in school environments from “Inclusive Education for Autistic Children: Helping Children and Young People to Learn and Flourish in the Classroom”.
One of the more encouraging developments in the autism field over the last decade or so has been a growing awareness of the significance of sensory issues. Sensory sensitivities are included in the DSM-5 as part part of the diagnostic criteria for autism, and in teacher training materials, such as those provided by the AET. They are also highlighted in campaigns by the National Autistic Society (NAS), for example. But despite these signs of increased understanding, I’m not convinced that in our schools there is a sufficiently nuanced appreciation of this multi-faceted phenomenon, which potentially influences a whole range of physical and perceptual processes (Bogdashina 2016). Indeed, the school environment can present autistic children with a multi-sensory onslaught in terms of sounds, smells, textures and visual impacts that constitutes both a distraction and a source of discomfort (Ashburner, Ziviani and Rodger 2008; Caldwell 2008). There was also clear evidence from my own study that sensory issues, and noise in particular, can be highly exclusionary factors for autistic children in schools.
I updated “Neurodiversity in the Classroom” with a selection from “Inclusive Education for Autistic Children: Helping Children and Young People to Learn and Flourish in the Classroom”.
understanding the perspectives and experiences of autistic children and adults in particular was essential. Time and again I found that issues aired say, by teachers, would be completely reframed when the autistic adults discussed the same points.
I also added headings to break up the length and removed some dead links and embeds.