February 1, 2023
Provide an inclusive classroom environment for all students by recognizing and accommodating neurological differences.
As scientists have hacked away at understanding the human brain, one revelation stands out among the rest: human brains don’t all function the same. Whether it be nature or nurture, there’s a significant amount of diversity within the way our neurons connect and our thoughts process.
Traditionally, neurodivergent (involving atypical brain function) students have been overlooked in academic settings. Individuals who aren’t neurotypical (not displaying neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior) have had to struggle to emulate neurotypical patterns. This historical push for neurological conformity has put neurodivergent students at an academic disadvantage, despite neurodiverse traits not necessarily having an effect on intellect.
Now, with an improved understanding of neuroscience and neurodiversity, we have the opportunity to radically improve the education system to work for a much wider swath of learners - resulting in a more inclusive, productive, and supportive society.
Neurodiversity is an emerging term that describes the individual variations in brain functioning within a population. It’s not exclusive to any specific set of diagnoses, but often refers to the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder , ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, and Anxiety within a population of individuals without any of these diagnoses. Neurodiversity can also include uncommon neurological abilities, like synesthesia.
Neurodiveristy recognizes that these, and other conditions, are a natural part of human diversity, rather than a problem or disorder to be fixed. The neurodiversity movement seeks to promote acceptance and understanding of neurodiverse individuals, and to advocate for their rights and inclusion in society.
The Impact of Neurodiversity in the Classroom
Neurodiversity in students can affect a classroom in a variety of ways, including:
Overall, accommodating neurodiverse students in the classroom can be a complex task and may require a tailored approach for each individual student. It is important for teachers to work closely with parents, other educators, and specialists to understand the unique needs and strengths of each neurodiverse student, and to create a classroom environment that is inclusive, supportive, and respectful of all students.
Supporting Neurodivergent Students
To accommodate these needs, teachers may need to provide alternative learning strategies and accommodations, such as allowing students to move around the room during class, or providing additional visual aids to help students understand a concept.
Teachers may also need to be aware of how they are communicating with neurodiverse students, as some students may have difficulty understanding or responding to verbal instruction.
It is also important to note that, although a classroom may have a number of students with different neurological differences, each student is unique and so their needs and accommodations may vary greatly, it is essential to be open to listening to the student's and their families needs, and to work collaboratively with them to find the best approach to help them succeed in the classroom.
Creating an inclusive and respectful classroom culture that values and respects the diversity of all students, including those with neurological differences, can help to promote acceptance and understanding of neurodiversity among all students.
Why Addressing Neurodiversity Matters
Providing educational materials that are accessible to all types of learners boosts class morale, supports a more inclusive group of students, and, ultimately, can increase average class performance. Teachers have the power to define their classroom’s culture and, when that culture supports everyone, all students are given the opportunity to succeed.
Recognizing neurodiversity in the classroom is crucial for providing inclusive and equitable education for all students. By taking the time to recognize and accommodate neurological differences, teachers can ensure that all students feel comfortable and included in the classroom. This helps create an environment where all students can reach their full potential, regardless of their neurological differences.
Teachers play a vital role in creating a supportive and understanding environment for neurodivergent students. It is ultimately their responsibility to create an atmosphere that is free of judgment or bias, and instead fosters acceptance and understanding. Teachers can do this by educating themselves on neurological diversity and the particular needs of their students, and providing accommodations and resources accordingly. By making inclusive changes, teachers can help ensure that all students are able to reach their full potential and feel accepted and valued in the classroom.
At Mastery Coding, supporting each and every student is our mission: no matter their background, economic status, or condition they may have. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a STEM career - and STEM advances best when all perspectives are included in the dialogue.
Mastery Coding delivers curriculum in a way that is inclusive and accessible to students with neurodiverse needs. To learn more about how Mastery Coding supports students see Product Accessibility
Olivia has background in behavioral ecology and data analysis. She develops and implements SEO, CRO, social media strategy, and authors multi-disciplinary content for our blog, & our social media sites. She's contributed to many of the STEM tie-ins within our curriculum, authored our SEL course, and is a specialist in neurodiverse learning strategies.