ERIC Number: EJ1138105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Neurodiversity: The Future of Special Education?
Educational Leadership, v74 n7 p10-16 Apr 2017
The way special education is carried out in U.S. schools must change. Special education has become weighed down by its emphasis on deficits and disorders: As regular education has opened to new ways of thinking about brain neuroplasticity, growth mindsets, and other innovations, special education has held fast to its diagnostic categories, objectives, and remedial methods. The concept of neurodiversity, Armstrong argues, can be a catalyst for change. He defines neurodiversity as "an understanding that neurological differences are to be honored and respected just like any other human variation, including diversity in race, ethnicity... and so on." Armstrong discusses four key ways a neurodiversity-based approach to teaching kids with learning differences would differ from the traditional approach: (1) neurodiversity offers a more nuanced idea of the origins of "disabilities"; (2) neurodiversity focuses more on finding and maximizing learners' strengths rather than remediating deficits; (3) a neurodiversity approach would stress "workarounds," ways kids can manage their academic work without letting their disability interfere; and (4) rather than "teaching kids about their disorders," we'd teach students about the adaptability of the brain, growth mindsets, and the value of neurological diversity. The article gives suggestions for how to start making this shift happen in special education.
Descriptors: Special Education, Brain, Neurological Impairments, Neurology, Teaching Methods, Disabilities, Student Characteristics, Creative Teaching, Student Needs, Barriers, Change Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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