[Podcast] Insight into Neurodiversity

[Podcast] Insight into Neurodiversity


hello everyone this is the insight into
neurodiversity podcast brought to you by the epic project. Today we would like to
discuss a topic with you that we are striving to become more attuned with:
neurodiversity. Aiming to provide free media that advocates for a better
understanding of neurodiversity, we engage in a discussion that explores
some key issues. Joining us is Jean Hanks, a professional designer and
neurodiversity advocate. Dr. Neil Shepard, a professor of social science
and humanities at Aquinas College, along with neurodiverse college students Colin
Vince Wade and Sarah. They all graciously agreed to share some typical challenges
they have witnessed and faced as well as recommend some ways we can shift our
common perceptions. Well there’s a saying: if you’ve met one autistic person you’ve
met one autistic person. I think it’s about two years ago now I started just
having feelings of depression and anxiety and stuff and like really
noticeable. So I was diagnosed as an adult many times people will have a child or a person in their family who is recommended to go in and get evaluated
and while they’re being evaluated they’ll start saying “oh my gosh that’s
that that’s me now!” My main issues with neurodiversity I suppose
really started in middle school probably my most difficult schooling year. I’ve always had some issues dealing with Asperger’s socially I was always that
kid that whenever we would be out in the playground or play sports I was just I
would just be out on the corner just minding his own business I’ve admitted
that I have ASD to some of my friends and they treated me the same : unconditionally. I was spending a lot of time looking at
message boards and various kinds of online communities where I started to
discover this concept called neuro diversity and
indeed that’s really where the term neuro diversity seems to have arisen It’s first started in the autistic community and is used to was used to
describe the idea that there is normal variation in human brains. Like biodiversity where we accept the fact that you know there are billions of
life-forms on the planet we seem very hesitant as a culture particularly in
education to accept the fact that there are there’s diversity in in the ways in
which people think. Generally they tend to portray neuro-diverse people as like
amazing special snowflakes who are just like misunderstood geniuses and can do
no wrong or as like kind of subpar like oh there’s something wrong with them
they either are kind of creepy or they need like constant protection and be
like handheld all the time and I feel like both portrayals are harmful
simply because they either limit what the neuro-diverse a person can do by
kind of putting them in the position where it feels like they constantly need
help or they kind of create this false impression that oh if you get a
neuro-diverse person there’s like everything they do is some sort of
genius message that you just have to try and decode and then everything will be
perfect. Headlines that read “so and so struggling
with autism”, right, that language I think works very much against the interests of
people is still very prevalent. My wish for the media in terms of how they would
present neuro diversity is that they would portray people in complex rich
terms without flattening their experience into stereotypes. I feel like we’re still in early days of saying okay we got a signal to the audience that
this is a person who is this and in neuro diversity we still have these
stereotypes and I think as you know other marginalized groups
become more mainstream they get portrayed as more rounded fully human
characters I’m looking forward to the media doing that for people who aren’t
neuro-diverse as well. Get to know the student
better or the person better because I think a big problem with what went on
with me was that I like my professors and I didn’t know each other very well
so they thought that like I just was a slacker and they didn’t realize that
anything was going wrong with me until like it got really bad you know and then
it wasn’t fixable. I personally think after all those years I’ve been in the
autistic institution when I was in elementary and middle school, is that
everybody is different and you have to learn their code you have to learn what
they go by and how they communicate. First up I think that any teacher
employers should do is to first look up and understand what exactly the person
has and trying to understand what done they’re going through and what kind of
issues they’re dealing with and overall just be patient with them say I think
it’s best if both sides both people with Asperger’s and people trying to
understand them both make an effort to change in some way. You definitely want
to create a safe environment just create generally in a place where the neuro
diverse individual feels safe or kind of feels like you are a friend and often
if you can do that that will put you in a position where you can ask them
specifically what works for them I feel like one of the best ways to deal with
neuro-diverse situations is to just study kinds of neuro diversity because
there is literature out there and I just feel like even people who are neuro
diverse like in some ways just like read up on yourself in a way because I think
that the best way we can handle this is just having everyone be as
educated as possible about neurodiversity and related topics Thank you for joining us today. improving
our understanding of neurodiversity and our relationships with the neuro-diverse
population is important to us here at KCAD. You can find more EPIC media about
the topic of neurodiversity at epicsite.org

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