Neurodiversity is a term that was created by the autism rights advocate Judy Singer in 1998 and it is has become synonymous with a growing movement that’s aim is to take the stigma out of being neurologically different. Neurodiversity is used to describe the many diversities and differences within the human brain. People who have neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia for example, are often described as being ‘neurodivergent’ within this community. It comes from a school of thought that believes brain differences should be viewed as part of the diversity that comes with being human, rather than seen as ‘disordered’.
As well as educating us about neurodiversity, leaders in this field are encouraging people not to see differences as ‘deficits’ to be fixed, changed, or hidden, but acknowledged, better understood, and supported (with accommodations, when necessary). They view challenges that arise from being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world as having a disability, and are pushing for society to accept the Social Model of Disability framework, rather than the more pathologising medical model.
Kaleidoscope is striving to be a neurodiversity-affirming therapy provider by listening to self-advocates, and people who have lived experiences, and by following research that includes neurodivergent researchers. Ethical therapy honours a person’s differences, and focuses on their strengths and interests, no matter their age. It is person-centred, and in our case, child-led.
We believe that, as therapists, we need to be constantly learning and adapting, and we need to be engaged in continual self-reflection, to best serve the children and families we support.
You can find more information relating to neurodiversity and what it means to be neurodiversity-affirming in the resources below.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network –wwwautisticadvocacy.org
Autism National Committee – www.autcom.org
The Social Model of Disability – pwd.org.au