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WHAT IS NEURODIVERSITY?

Firstly, neurodiversity refers to differences in the human brain not disabilities. It involves the variations in the brain and how they may present. Neurodiversity is present in 1 in 4 Irish families. Typically neurodiversity presents itself under the following headings. 

  • Attention Deficit Disorder

  • Sensory Processing Disorder

  • Dyspraxia

  • Mental Impairments/Disability

  • Dyslexia

  • Dyscalculia

  • Dysphagia

  • Tourettes

  • Anxiety

  • Dementia

  • Alzheimers

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT NOW?

Neurodiversity is often contrasted with the “medical model,” which views conditions such as autism or ADHD as disorders to prevent, treat, or cure.

Many advocates for autism and other learning differences have adopted this term as a positive way to discuss the topic. The term neurodiversity looks at these differences as an addition to the person rather than a missing puzzle piece- many advocates have voiced their issues with the puzzle piece icon as a representative of the Autism community.

is it a new concept?

In 1998 Australian sociologist Judy Singer coined
the term neurodiversity—a portmanteau of “neurological” and “diversity”— It gathered traction and support because it advocates that the human brainworks 
differently (neurological diversity) and that humans are born to think and learn differently. For those with

neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD or ASD the focus should not be on ‘curing’ them but to adapt and build an inclusive school and workplace culture through additional services and supports.

what role can schools play 

School support and resource teams cater for children with significant differences in the way they socialise, attend, learn, control, and with mental functions. These differences can cause significant learning, social communications and behavioral challenges for a neurodiverse child. 

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In a school setting these challenges can be addressed with a support framework such as IEP. A framework gives
reassurance to a child who may have developed a poor self image. Feeling there is something wrong with them as they compared themselves to their classmates is a very common frustration for these children. The right support framework will help build confidence, self esteem, motivation and resilience to overcome, build adaption strategies or have a better understanding of their challenges to help them function to the best of their ability to reach their

potential.

An IEP is an individual education plan. It is a plan prepared by a school team and a child's parents. It is designed to provide educational support for children with additional needs in a school environment. The goal is to help the child achieve THEIR full potential academically, physically, socially and emotionally. This will require structured behavioral accommodations and classroom modifications. A small % of cases will require high level interventions using a special needs assistant or higher frequency one on one/small group mentoring.


To build an effective plan the school and parents discuss: 
a) the present levels of academic performance versus the child's potential
b) review professional assessments if available from a psychologist or speech and language therapist. 
c) medical records and requirements resulting from these.
c) identify the necessary classroom modifications.
d) identify appropriate activities to help the child build necessary skills or strengths.

 

For more information on IEP’s click on the image which will bring you to NCSE.ie,  

where you can read their published document on the guidelines to preparing an IEP.

https://ncse.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/final_report.pdf.

The NCSE.ie is an excellent government provided resource with valuable information

available to read and download.

what is an iep

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ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder. It is mostly diagnosed in childhood. Children with ODD are uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. They are more troubling to others than they are to themselves.

ASD-Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.