Imagine living in a world in which everybody looked the same, thought the same and behaved in the same way. Would we have had the Elon Musk’s or the Maya Angelou’s that created the world we live in today?
Despite knowing the benefits of diversity, learners are constantly being asked to conform to an education system that is alien to them, and to do things in the same way as everybody else. Yet the classroom is not a production line in which one item is an exact clone of the other.
There is no child that looks exactly the same as the other. They all have different facial features, hairstyles, height and weight. Even the skin colour could be slightly different for people who hail from the same origin. We accept each other and in fact even find these differences attractive, unless that difference is related to the way our brain is wired.
Neurodivergent learners think, learn and do things in a way which is unique to them.
Yes, neurodivergent learners think, learn and do things in a way that is unique to them. They picture things differently than the rest of us. Perhaps we can’t always find common grounds with them. But this does not render them incapable of feeling, learning the same things as everybody else, or of achieving the things that they need or want to achieve in life.
It’s enough to look at the likes of Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom, Steven Spielberg, Michael Phelps, Jamie Oliver, Richard Branson and so many others -the list is never ending – to realise that although we all have different strengths and weaknesses, we can all get to where we want or need to be. If you are wondering what these celebrities have to do with our kids, the answer is simple. They are all brilliant at what they do of course, but they also all have some kind of special educational need. Did it stop them? Of course not. Was it easy? Neither. But they did get there in spite of the differences and at times because of the differences. Our kids can too.
I talk about our kids because although I am an educator, I am also a mother, and a carer to an awesome 12 year old whom I have been looking after ever since he was 5 months old. As the months progressed, I knew that something about him was different. It was little things he did such as learning to clap but then forgetting how to do it, his reactions to certain noise levels, or, as he grew older, the way he reacted when we did things out of our routine. My mind was telling me there’s an issue – that’s how I saw things at the time -but my heart kept telling me otherwise. I convinced myself that had there been a problem, somebody would have noticed it. However, as he started formal school, it became more and more obvious that he was not ticking the boxes he should have been.
I cried when I read the report. The word ‘delay’ kept glaring out at me.
He was assessed when he was six. I cried when I read the report. The word ‘delay’ kept glaring out at me. How could this be possible? It took me a while to come to terms with it. He was provided with a learning support educator at school and was put on a reading program. But things went from bad to worse. Different people kept insinuating that he was lazy or that he was not trying hard enough and that he just needed to study more. Little did they knowhow hard he worked at home. It came to a point that he dreaded waking up in the morning because he needed to go to school. To be honest, I dreaded it just as much. Everyday we had to repeat everything he had done at school, just so he could do his homework. Reviewing things was a nightmare. Even if the content had only just been covered a few weeks earlier, it was like he had never come across it before. The frustrations were many. So was the anxiety it all created….
Continue reading the full article here –PAGS® Blog – Embracing Neurodiversity (webflow.io)