The Neurodiversity Movement:

The term ‘neurodiversity’ is not a new one; it suggests that there are differences in the human brain due to natural variance in DNA. It is a biological fact. This idea is not the same as the neurodiversity movement. Unlike the term, the movement is related to social justice. Its members advocate for equality, respect, and full societal inclusion for the neurodivergent.  The movement was developed to  counteract the prevailing notion that neurodiversity is a thing to be fixed rather than celebrated.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, this neurodiversity movement discussion will be applied to autism. Not all families, adults, and children with autism align themselves with the neurodiversity movement. However, those that do, advocate for acceptance of autism rather than finding a cure. An advocate believes that autism is a societal problem, not an individual problem. A proponent would argue that society should become more tolerant of neurodivergent behaviors rather than forcing a person into socially accepted norms. For instance, they might argue that a person should not be forced to make eye contact if it makes them uncomfortable. Instead, society could understand that there is a range of acceptable behavior.

For more information about both sides of this debate check out the resources and articles below:

http://autisticadvocacy.org/http://www.autreat.com/intro.html

http://www.autism.com/expanding_2014

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/25/they-don-t-want-an-autism-cure.html

Embracing Neurodiversity at School:

Schools are always searching for new ways to become more inclusive. One stand out special education teacher at Lawton Alternative School in San Francisco, CA has developed a fun and functional way for her students to integrate into their school and neighborhood communities. Her “Coffee Cart” reinforces interpersonal, academic, and life skills. Please check out this video for her innovative story. How does your child’s school support and celebrate neurodiversity?

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/11/12/a-fun-way-to-help-special-needs-students-feel-valued-by-school-community/

Fun and Language at the Playground

Spring is finally here and kids are eager to spend more time outside. While playgrounds are an automatic “fun” zone, they can also be a great place to reinforce language and social concepts. Building an obstacle course by using sequencing words “first, second, then, before, after” is a simple way to practice following directions. For instance, you can say “first go down the slide, then go across the monkey bars.” If your child is working on social skills, the playground is ripe with opportunities to take turns, make introductions, or simply say “hi”. For more ideas check out: https://www.speechandlanguagekids.com/speech-and-language-activities-for-the-park-or-playground/