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What is neurodiversity and what does it mean?

Updated: Jul 5, 2021


Here at Super Calm Sensory Products our aim is to educate parents, carers, teachers and children on neurodiversity and the impact it can have on the person caring for a child with a neurodiverse difference. We aim to increase understanding on what is happening in the body of a neurologically different person. This will result in greater empathy in understanding certain behaviours. By developing sensory diets and activities aimed towards their specific sensory needs the child should reach optimum levels of arousal to allow them to be present during school and home life.

Someone who has neurologically diverse differences may react differently to others around sensory stimuli and other environmental factors. The overall goal is to promote understanding and increase empathy resulting in a more harmonious environment for all.

 

Neurodiversity refers to differences in the human brain not disabilities. It involves 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

  • Tourette's

  • Anxiety

  • Dementia

  • Alzheimer's

  • 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?

The word neurodiversity—a portmanteau of “neurological” and “diversity”—was first coined in the 1990s by Australian social scientist Judy Singer, who is herself on the autism spectrum. It has gained significant ground in recent years, particularly among advocacy communities. The term originally referred most commonly to autism, but has since come to include ADHD, dyslexia, and other widespread learning and developmental differences.


Here is a list of definitions and explanations of the typical diagnosis that fall under the neurodiverse category.


ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder; Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behaviour 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 behaviour. 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.

ADD-Attention Deficit Disorder; A developmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention (such as distractibility, disorganization, or forgetfulness) or by symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity (such as fidgeting, speaking out of turn, or restlessness).

ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

SPD-Sensory Processing Disorder; Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD (originally called Sensory Integration Dysfunction) is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in atypical responses.

DCD-Dyspraxia Developmental Coordination Disorder; A motor skills disorder that affects five to six percent of all school-aged children. The ratio of boys to girls varies from 2:1 to 5:1, depending on the group studied. DCD occurs when a delay in the development of motor skills, or difficulty coordinating movements, results in a child being unable to perform common, everyday tasks. By definition, children with DCD do not have an identifiable medical or neurological condition that explains their coordination problems.

Dyslexia; Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language

Dyscalculia; A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.

Dysphagia; Difficulty swallowing. This can occur in children as a result of a developmental or learning disability.

Anxiety; It's normal for children to feel worried or anxious from time to time – such as when they're starting school or nursery, or moving to a new area.

But for some children, anxiety affects their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and social life.

Tourette's; Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.

Dementia; Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia.

Alzheimer's; Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

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