Neurodiversity has been a trending buzzword over the last year, but what does it really mean?
Neurodiversity is a way to describe the differences in our brain function as simply a variation of our uniqueness. Neurodiversity recognizes and celebrates an individual’s talents and skills while also acknowledging the various challenges that may come with neurological differences. The neurodiverse spectrum includes cognitive variations including but not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, and Dyscalculia. Those who fall under the neurodiverse umbrella often have many unique strengths and challenges, which can make catering to each students’ unique needs more difficult for the teacher.
Through the process of neuroplasticity, we know that the brain can change and that neurodiverse students with challenges can make large gains! So, how can we create an equitable classroom experience that can provide value for brains on all levels of the neurotypical to neurodivergent scale?
Research shows that developmental delays and behavioral challenges can be linked to altered development, retained primitive reflexes and decreased or altered firing in some brain networks, which can improve with the right classroom learning approaches. Regardless of neurological capabilities, learning practises such as mindfulness and gross/fine motor movements may contribute to improving kids’ readiness to learn and academic performance.
We must look to the brain itself and how it is functioning as the basis of a wide range of emotional and learning challenges. The brain and its development plays a significant role in many of today’s most common classroom problems. Specific brain-based movements (like those found in the Brain 1st Platform) help develop critical neural networks and ongoing neuroplasticity growth. The movements and exercises in the Brain 1st Program benefit all students, neurotypical and neurodivergent alike, by providing them with strong building blocks to improve their readiness to learn and maximize their learning outcomes. By providing students with the right tools, we can help set up our classroom for success and create an equitable, productive learning environment.
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