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Conditions: Neurodiversity

What does ‘neurodiversity’ mean?

Neurodiversity is a term that is believed to have been coined in the 1990s by Judy Singer (an autistic individual, sociologist, and parent of an autistic child).

The term was originally used by the autistic community with the aim of moving away from the medical model and dispelling the assumption that autism is something to be treated and cured rather than an important and valuable part of human diversity.

The idea of neurodiversity has now been embraced by many other groups and it is used to promote empowerment and the positive qualities possessed by those with a neurodevelopmental difference. It encourages people to view neurodevelopmental differences such as autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia as natural and normal variations of the human genome. 

It is important to highlight that the whole of society is neurodiverse. Research indicates that around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) have neurodevelopmental differences, including autism, which are observed when they learn and process information in a particular way. Every condition covered under neurodiversity has its own set of challenges.

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The term neurodiversity usually refers to range of specific learning differences including:

 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) - autism affects the way someone perceives the world. People with autism can find social interaction and change difficult and uncomfortable; autism is a spectrum. This means everybody with autism is different.

Asperger's (or Asperger syndrome) - a form of autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger's Syndrome have a difficult time relating to others socially and their behaviour and thinking patterns can be rigid and repetitive

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - ADHD can cause issues with impulse control, attention, and concentration

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) - refers to significant, on-going difficulties understanding and/or using spoken language

Dyslexia - a condition that gives someone language processing difficulties that cause issues with reading, writing, and spelling

Dyspraxia – the condition affects physical coordination. People may seem clumsy, disorganised, and have trouble with structure

Dyscalculia - a specific learning disorder with impairments in learning basic arithmetic facts, processing numbers and performing accurate and fluent calculations.

Dysgraphia - a specific learning disability that affects written expression. Dysgraphia can appear as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on paper

Tourette’s and Tic disorders - a neurological condition where there are tics they can’t control; this can take the form of sounds and/or movements

Meares – Irlen Syndrome- a form of visual stress which leads to difficulties with fine vision tasks such as reading

Treatment recommendations

Our service provides neurodevelopmental/neurodiversity assessments for those who wish to pursue a diagnostic label or simply increase an understanding of their condition, including strengths and areas of need. 

Following a comprehensive assessment process in the service, the treatment plan could be tailored to your needs. The therapy would emphasise neurodiversity and holism and would aim to identify your strengths, values, and needs as well as offer help with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationships, living with sensory issues, career choice or accepting change among other difficulties you may experience. There are various types of therapies that emphasise social communication and emotional regulation and can be of help in improving your overall wellbeing.

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