Neurodiveristy

Neurodiversity is:

  • Recognising that all brains are unique and that people think, learn and experience the world differently
  • Regarding the differences in brain function as part of normal variation in human neurocognition
  • Promoting a culture of embracing and nurturing differences and strengths to enable individuals and communities to flourish 

'Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will be best at any given moment?'

Harvey Blume
Why is Neurodiversity Important?

Just as no two people are alike, all brains are unique and learn differently.  The perspective of neurodiversity is that there is no ‘normal’ brain, but innumerable variations.

It is estimated that at least 10% of the population are neurodivergent and perhaps the number is far greater.  In recent years, the term 'neurodiversity' has been commonly associated with Autism, but has also been used to describe a wide range of other neurological differences previously pathologized by society as a disorder or, seen in terms of deficit, for example: ADHD, dyslexia, tourette's syndrome, dyspraxia and more.

Proponents of the neurodiversity perspective, challenge  models of employment and education that are structured for ‘neurotypical’ people, and the traditional efforts to assist neurodivergent individuals ‘fit in’.  Rather, they contend that environments and programs must become more flexible, individualized and inclusive.  Embracing diverse approaches to problem solving, and opening up to a different world view is essential for innovation, creativity and visionary thinking. This will lead to new ideas, better productivity and inspired solutions.  

The neurodiversity movement values the individual's strengths and capacity for growth and contribution through inclusivity, empowerment, awareness and education.

Why Promote Neurodiversity in Schools?

Thomas Armstrong has written an article titled: 8 Reasons Why We Need Neurodiversity in Education.  He cites building a growth paradigm (as opposed to a deficit one); high expectations and achievement; inclusivity; reduction of discrimination and bullying, and, stimulating school reform.  Building awareness through education is essential to promote a culture of diversity and tolerance as universal values in our schools and society.  

The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework explicitly states 'that students feel safe in a community where all members are active participants in building a welcoming school culture that values diversity and fosters positive, respectful relationships. Schools are required to recognise and respond to the distinct needs of specific groups in the school community and ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging and connectedness.' 

Neurodiversity at Genazzano

Genazzano's Mission Statement highlights the values of respecting the dignity of every individual, working with and supporting others, and, celebrating life's gifts. A commitment to social justice and an appreciation of the transformative power of learning underpins many of the College's programs and priorities.  

The College's wellbeing program, GenSTAR, is guided by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework and promotes the understanding and respecting of diversity, positive relationships and healthy minds, and promoting growth.  

Genazzano Institute is putting a spotlight on neurodiversity to further the work of progressive individuals, educational bodies and organisations in raising awareness and promoting a culture of tolerance and appreciation of others in our society.  Rather than labels, diagnoses, stereotypes, or pinpointing differences, we see the term 'neurodiversity' as being inclusive of all brains' unique ways of functioning, thinking and learning. The Institute is committed to promoting a positive approach to neurodiversity through providing awareness and educational opportunities for students, staff and the community.  

AIMS:

  • Promote awareness and education to enable understanding, inclusiveness, acceptance and respect
  • Foster peer alliances and a culture of embracing and valuing individual differences
  • Support a culture of growth where students can recognise and appreciate their own and others' strengths
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, depression and absences arising from confusion, discrimination and exclusion 
  • Develop partnerships, initiatives and resources to make an impact within the school, and the broader community
Inspiring Programs in Neurodiversity

Below is a snapshot of some the exciting work being done internationally and in Australia to promote neurodiversity:  

  • As a world leader in higher education, Stanford University is a progressive front runner in offering innovative programs and education on neurodiversity.  The Neurodiversity Project is about 'attracting, protecting, and nurturing talents that can maximize the university’s potential to solve the most significant problems in our country, society and the world today and in the future.'  The project includes new courses in neurodiversity awareness and design thinking;  fostering on-campus alliances and support for neurodivergent students, and the University has a number of educational and research projects in development.
  • IBM Australia has rolled out a neurodiversity program at its Client Innovation Centre in Ballarat. (ABC News)

Neurodiversity Initiative

Celebrating Talents & Maximising Potential

More Information Soon


'Differences in neurocognitive functioning need to be anticipated, expected and accepted –the benefits for society as a whole are immense.'

Victoria Honeybourne

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