Ken Gobbo, professor of psychology at Landmark College, discusses this movement and how it can help find strengths were only weakness was seen before.
Ken Gobbo is Professor of Psychology at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. He is also a member of the steering committee for the Landmark College Center for Neurodiversity. He has published articles on neurodiversity, learning differences and teaching in several peer-reviewed journals including: Disability Studies Quarterly, Review of Disability Studies, Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disorders and College Teaching.
Diversity is generally considered a desirable characteristic; providing richness to our natural landscapes, and a variety of experiences within our social fabric.
The concept Neurodiversity, a term used to describe the multitude of naturally occurring variations in the human nervous system has been gaining steam of late. People who are autistic or have attention deficit disorder or dyslexia are starting to see themselves as “neurodivergent.” And for many it becomes an important part of their identities.
Yes, these conditions can evoke frustration, or even aggravation, for an individual when experiencing difficulty at school, work, or in social settings. Yet they frequently also impart advantages and strengths.
Many autistic individuals have strong memories and ability to follow complex procedures, for example; while those with dyslexia often have strong abilities in the areas of spatial judgement and pattern recognition.
Neurodiversity is also a growing social movement. Thinking about it in this way challenges the notion of what is considered “normal” and what is considered a “disorder.” This concept has the potential to influence our approach to education or other social constructs by focusing on human variation and strength more than symptoms and treatments.
In support of this idea a handful of colleges and universities have established Neurodiversity centers, work programs, and conferences.
By building communities and classrooms in which a wider range of people thrive, we can showcase and develop strengths, and foster a sense of respect and pride.