Neurodiversity: The Future of Special Education?

July 25, 2017 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

From: Judy Chyung, Librarian – TDSB Professional Library

Armstrong, T. (2017, April). Neurodiversity: The Future of Special Education? Educational Leadership, 74(7), 11-16.

What is neurodiversity?

“Neurodiversity can be defined as an understanding that neurological differences are to be honored and respected just like any other human variation, including diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, and so on.”

In the neurodiversity approach of teaching kids with disabilities, the focus is on maximizing the strengths of the students and minimizing their weaknesses or deficits. Neurodiversity looks at the “social and ecological dimensions of diagnostic labels by examining how a person may be disabled in certain contexts but not in others.”

These are some of the benefits with the neurodiversity approach mentioned in the article:

  • Increased expectations that can lead to more positive academic outcome.
  • Less bullying by peers due to more positive attitudes for the students with neurdiversity.
  • More seamless inclusion since teachers will view them as assets rather than burdens.
  • Greater equitable opportunities for all students.

The strengths of students can be measured using “assessments associated with asset models like the VIA Character Strengths and Virtues, Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Assessments, Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assests, Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, the Terrance Test of Creative Thinking, the Multiple Intelligences Diagnostic Assessment Scales or the Baron-Welsh Art Scale.”

As well the article mentions some informal assessment methods to use: “Neurodiversity Strengths checklist (Armstrong, 2012), “strengths chats” (Epstein, 2008), and motivational interviewing (Sheldon, 2010).”

This article is definitely worth checking out.

For additional information, you can check out these books by Thomas Armstrong available at the TDSB Professional Library.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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