Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Classroom

When it comes to celebrating neurodiversity in the classroom, let’s start with what the term “neurodiversity” is? It’s becoming more widely used and known, but what does it mean?

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of brains and minds. It acknowledges that everyone’s brain is wired differently and that this difference should be celebrated.

It covers the great superpowers such as Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and more. Whether it be a learning challenge or developmental condition, neurodiversity covers them all.

Recognising neurodiverse people is becoming more common, which is fabulous particularly in the classroom and will hopefully lead to a more inclusive society in the long run. How good would that be?

Many neurodiverse children don’t have a diagnosis

Like most things, many of our children are slipping through the cracks for one reason or another. And this means many kids aren’t getting a neurodiverse diagnosis.

On the one hand, does a diagnosis matter? There’s no correct answer to that, and it depends on your situation and the severity of the condition. If your child’s challenges are more severe, they will benefit from more support. And to get that support, especially if you want to receive funding, you will need an official diagnosis.

A diagnosis could make your life easier in so many ways as it:

  • opens up doors for support
  • opens up funding opportunities
  • gives you the knowledge you need to best support your child
  • helps your school support your child
  • sometimes knowing can help your child to understand and be more accepting of their superpowers
  • can help your child reach their full potential

Having the knowledge and understanding to support your child through school, social situations, and the like can go a long way to creating a happy child and home life. So, as you can see, there are a lot of benefits to seeking a diagnosis.

But for those kids whose superpowers aren’t as severe, perhaps you need to consider whether going through the process (and what is usually a long process) is beneficial. A few things to consider are:

  • will it make your child’ life better?
  • will it make your life better?
  • what are the benefits of having a diagnosis?

If it’s only mild and they can comfortably get through life and school, then it might not be worth the lengthy process and cost associated with it all.

But it’s a personal choice and comes down to your families situation.

We’re a big believer that knowledge is power. So, that’s always something to consider too.

10 ways to support neurodiversity in the classroom

As the world becomes more diverse, so do classrooms. Students come from all walks of life and bring different languages, cultures, experiences, skills, and learning styles into the classroom.

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child succeed in school. Or perhaps you’re a teacher and want to make your classroom more neurodiverse friendly. Here are some great ways you can do so:

    1. Create a space where all learners are welcome
    2. Keep visual distractions to a minimum
    3. Try and keep noise to a minimum
    4. Provide a brain break area or plan for when a child needs a break
    5. Allocate particular seating (at a desk and on the mat) for the child. That way, they know where they are sitting and who’s sitting next to them.
    6. Share information in small blocks
    7. Be clear and concise with your communication
    8. Support emotion regulation
    9. Visual cues can work well
    10. Have fidget toys on hand

By working together with your child’s teachers and therapists, you can hopefully develop a plan that will work for your child and see them thrive in the classroom. But it all takes time, so do go easy on yourself.

Why do we need neurodiversity in the classroom?

Neurodiversity in the classroom should be celebrated because it teaches inclusivity and acceptance from an early age which helps reduce stigmas around learning and thinking differences.

Neurodiverse students that are included in mainstream classes also seem to have better self-esteem and learn how to form friendships and all that goes along with that, which is a big positive for neurodiverse kids.

Seeing and interacting with neurodiverse kids regularly helps neurotypical kids realise that we’re all different:

  • Our skin colour can be different
  • Some kids might have an accent when they speak
  • Our hair colour varies
  • Our eye colour can be different
  • Some people are tall, and some people are vertically challenged 😉

And we all communicate and learn differently, and everyone should be respected no matter what.

Can you be neurotypical and neurodivergent at the same time?

Yes, you can. Sometimes a child can experience many different signs and symptoms, but they don’t necessarily fall into one neat box. And sometimes, these signs and symptoms can be because of other challenges:

  • Speech delay or development challenges
  • Language or comprehension difficulties
  • Liking things to be a certain way
  • Doesn’t like a change in routine
  • Or they might be exceptional at language but not comprehend math

The above are only a few aspects that can overlap between neurotypical and neurodivergent.

Want more ways to support neurodivergent children in the classroom?

We have some fabulous neurodiverse resources in our online store about neurodiversity in the classroom and even neurodiversity in the workplace. Or we have a store in Altona North if you’d like to drop in and visit us.



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