Neurodiversity is, as the name suggests, a term which expresses the fact that every brain is wired differently, about how the brain is different in every individual. Originally used in the late 1990s in particular with those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is now used for a wider collection of conditions including dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD or Developmental Coordination Difficulties), ADHD and language disorders. The common factor with these “labels” is that they all use a series of traits to identify/diagnose the condition but you do not need to show all of those conditions to have that “classification”. This, of course, highlights that everybody is different – neurodiverse. So, for example, no two dyslexia individuals are the same. Once we understand this, then we can focus on the specific problems rather than try to make assumptions about what may be the difficulties based on some generalised classification. That is, the labels may be very good (in current circumstances) to open funding pots, but may be limited in the provision of support.
The ND app provides guidance based upon these principles, offering feedback from specific responses. However, it does also provide a summary of traits, since we also understand that people sometimes need labels.
In the video shown here, Professor Amanda Kirby highlights that whilst the individual is supported through this app, the wider context is also important, such as the workplace.
Those wishing to read an “academic” review of the role of labels (related to special education but also applicable to most contexts) may wish to read the following:
Lauchlan F and Boyle C (2007) Is the use of labels in special education helpful? Support for Learning 22(1), p36-42
“Once you label me you negate me.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher
“People are too complicated to have simple labels.” ― Philip Pullman, author of The Amber Spyglass
“A label locks me into a definition that people use to control me. A vision graces me with an idea that serves to release me.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough, author and counselor.