Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. It highlights that people naturally think about things differently. We have different interests and motivations and are naturally better at some things and poorer at others. It is important to identify that each person has a brain that is unique to them; no two brains are the same.
The best way to think of a neurodiverse brain in a neurotypical society is to imagine gaming consoles and discs. If you have an Xbox console (typical society) with an Xbox disc (neurotypical individual) inside, it will function as expected. However, if you were to insert a PlayStation disc (neurodiverse individual) inside, it will run into many errors and not function as expected. Neurodiversity accounts for at least 20% of the adult population in the UK. It was in the 1990’s that the concept of neurodiversity emerged.
Although we have a much better understanding, and awareness, of neurodiverse conditions today, the past hasn’t always been as good. Unfortunately, neurodiverse individuals have had to endure a pretty nasty past. It was sadly common to view someone who was autistic, for example, as having an ‘abnormal’ condition that should be ‘cured’, or someone who was dyslexic to be ‘stupid’ or having a ‘low level of intelligence’.
It’s important that we are now at a point in understanding and development that we now see such neuro-differences as a social category similar to differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or ability. As such, a neurodivergent condition, i.e., dyslexia, is an integral part of a person, and to take away their dyslexia is to take away from the person.
So, tell me some statistics!
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Around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent.
Over 6 million individuals (around 10%) in the UK have dyslexia but may not have received a diagnosis.
Visual stress affects around 50% of neurodiverse and around 14% of the neurotypical population.
Dyspraxia ‘severely’ affects around 2% of the population (1.3 million people).
75% of dyslexic people believe recruitment processes put dyslexic people at a disadvantage.
72% of the UK’s employers do not include neurodiversity in their diversity policies.
It was only in 2009 that the NHS accepted ADHD as a medical condition.
1 in 3 autistic individuals develop mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.
Around 6% of people have dyscalculia, otherwise known as, “number dyslexia” or “math dyslexia”
The most important thing to note is that, if you have a diagnosis of a neurodiverse condition is, you are not alone! To find out more about Neurodiversity or to find how you can access support follow the below links.
https://www.neurodiversityhub.org/resources (Use this link to gather useful resources and information on many different areas of neurodiversity and those linked too)
https://www.thebraincharity.org.uk/what-is-neurodiversity/ (Use this link to learn more about our brain functionality and how this is different for neurodiverse individuals)
https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowance-dsa (Use this link to explore your options for additional support during your studies. Support packages are recommended via an assessor and can consist of assistive technology, software, personal 1-to-1 support)
https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/apply (Use this link when you enter the world of employment following your education to continue receiving support where you need it. Tip: You can continue accessing the same software in work as you used whilst at university through this scheme)