The Critical Importance of Improving Learning Conditions for Neurodivergent Individuals
By SN Inclusion's Palo Alto Chapter
9 June, 2021 by
The Critical Importance of Improving Learning Conditions for Neurodivergent Individuals
SN Inclusion

Neurodivergent individuals have differently wired brains that contribute to learning differences between neurodivergents and neurotypicals. To cultivate an inclusive, diverse society, we must realize that neurodivergent individuals think and learn in different ways. Many neurodivergent individuals have attention and sensory differences thus making it integral that teachers of these individuals supply the best learning conditions for them. 

Cady Stanton, a writer for Facilitate joy! recalled how “[her] son, diagnosed with autism and ADHD, couldn’t focus in class, distressed and distracted by the sound of the clock ticking on the wall. Other kids startled, cried, even sobbed at the sound of plastic crinkling, fabric moving against fabric, a phone conversation three rooms away.'' Neurodivergent individuals also get easily distracted by other uncomfortable sensory details like uncomfortable chairs, weird smells, bad lighting, etc. Upside Therapy proposes teachers to “[create] a classroom environment with sensory supports available (for example, wiggle seats, fidget toys, soft blankets, or a rocking chair) and to “teach to the[ir] interests.” Therefore, it is essential that we and teachers be considerate, kind, and accommodating.

Constant movement and fidgeting has been attributed to the increased attentiveness of neurodivergent individuals. Additude Magazine explains how “John Ratey, M.D., shows that physical activity — even something as small as fidgeting the hands — increases levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the way ADHD medications do. Both chemicals play a key role in sharpening focus and increasing attention.” Many preoccupying things such as moving chairs and music are useful, though fidget toys have been shown to be the most effective.

 
 

By better understanding the ideal learning conditions for neurodiverse learners, we can create supportive learning conditions to help them thrive.

The Critical Importance of Improving Learning Conditions for Neurodivergent Individuals
SN Inclusion
9 June, 2021
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