If we imagine our bodies as a computer, the brain is the CPU. If we imagine our bodies like a device, then the brain is the controller. The brain is what our entire being is. It controls and decides our every action, and oversees bodily functions. Every brain operates differently. Their growth is tracked by parameters and stepping stones set after years of research, and development. So, if a brain falters a bit in delivering those functions, it is classified under “Neurodivergent.” Now, what is Neurodivergent? What is, and How to maintain neurodiversity in workspace, or education?
The word “neurodivergent,” which has no medical connotations, refers to people who exhibit variance in their mental processes. It can refer to disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as other neurological or developmental issues like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A Shift in Perspective
For years, the general public walked around unaware and unbothered about any kind of mental illness, or disorder. Scientists now recognize that neurodivergence offers a significant social advantage and isn’t always a concern for the person as was once thought. Like synesthesia, not all manifestations of neurodivergence are disabilities, but they are all variations in how the brain functions.
As a result of this change, professionals no longer treat neurodivergence as a disease. Instead, they see them as various ways of learning and processing knowledge, some of which develop into impairments in an ableist and inaccessible culture.
An environment where a person with neurodivergent behavior feels accepted, and comfortable is called a neurodiverse environment. Maintaining Neurodiversity is a new notion being practiced in institutions, organizations, and households.
“The idea of neurodiversity also seeks to frame these differences as ones that are not inherently “bad” or a problem; instead, it treats them more neutrally and also highlights the many different ways that neurodivergence should be celebrated and how it can be beneficial.”
The word “neurodiversity,” which is related, gave rise to the phrase “neurodivergent.” In 1998, Australian sociologist Judy Singer created the term “neurodiversity” to acknowledge that each person’s brain develops differently.
No two brains, not even those of identical twins, are precisely alike, just like a person’s fingerprints. Because of this, there is no established definition of what constitutes “normal” brain function.
Conditions of a Neurodivergent Person
The following conditions or disorders are frequently present in people who identify as neurodivergent. However, since there are no established medical standards or definitions of what it means to be neurodivergent, this term can also apply to other disorders.
- Autism spectrum disorder (this includes what was once known as Asperger’s syndrome).
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Down syndrome.
- Dyscalculia (difficulty with math).
- Dysgraphia (difficulty with writing).
- Dyslexia (difficulty with reading).
- Dyspraxia (difficulty with coordination).
- Intellectual disabilities.
- Mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.
- Prader-Willi syndrome.
- Sensory processing disorders.
- Social anxiety (a specific type of anxiety disorder).
- Tourette syndrome.
- Williams syndrome.
“I think the concept of Neurodiversity has been world-changing, by giving us a new perspective on humanity, but it needs to mature to the point where we see that human nature is complex, and nature is beautiful but not benign.”
– Judy Singer to Autism Awareness
Neurodiversity Around Us
If anyone claims that the world doesn’t have any neurodivergent people, they’re living under a rock. (Hi Patrick!)
According to a study by Deloitte, around 10% to 20% of the global population constitutes neurodivergent.
According to the World Health Organization’s most recent statistics, one in 100 children worldwide has autism, but for many people, like AJ, the condition is not discovered until much later in life. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, affects one in every 44 children in the US.
According to Deloitte, the majority of those with autism (85%) are jobless, compared to 4.2% of the general population, despite autism’s high prevalence in the US.
Numerous companies, including Deloitte, Microsoft, SAP, JPMorgan Chase, and EY, have established neurodiversity hiring initiatives in response to their recognition of the skills that neurodiverse individuals can bring to the workplace. These companies are taking active measures to maintain neurodiversity in their workplace.
Neurodiversity in Education
Neurodiversity, or variances in how pupils’ brains learn, is a form of diversity in the classroom. More and more kids are being affected by neurodevelopmental diseases including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
To satisfy the requirements of these pupils and guarantee that all sorts of learners succeed both in the classroom and outside of it, education systems must operate.
Whether or not to include kids with neurodevelopmental problems in regular classroom settings or provide them with distinct learning environments is a common starting point for discussions on how to best fulfill the needs of students with learning difficulties. Neurodiversity in education should be something every institution should look after.
There is currently no scholarly agreement to help instructors and a broad variety of strategies and models are used in teacher training for neurodiverse pupils.
Many educators believe they are ill-equipped to handle the demands of neurodiverse kids. Teaching children with special needs was continuously listed by teachers as their top priority for professional development in the previous two TALIS surveys. Neurodiversity in education can be maintained when these gaps between students can be filled, and fortunately, we are heading there.
“Trust me when I say there are many different types of intelligence and education. Nobody has them all. Maybe you’re a social charmer who can read any room with no formal education or perhaps you’re a physics professor who has to wear Velcro shoes and can’t read an analog clock – there really shouldn’t be a hierarchy of these skills. One is not cleverer than the others.”
― Kaiya Stone, Everything is Going to be K.O.: An Illustrated Memoir of Living with Specific Learning Difficulties
Neurodiversity in The Workplace
The presence of different applicants and workers in the workforce is crucial because it may make them feel more welcomed by fostering a feeling of community and understanding. In the workplace, the representation may demonstrate someone’s worth and give them confidence and assurance that they are appreciated and capable of giving their best effort. You don’t know how validated you might make an employee feel if an organization maintains neurodiversity in the workplace.
Employees who are neurodiverse frequently pay close attention to detail and can maintain focus. When JPMorgan Chase launched its Autism at Work project, they discovered that new workers from neurodiverse backgrounds were often 90% to 140% more productive than those who had worked there for the previous five or ten years.