The Neurodiversity Affirming Model: What is it?

Differences are normal.

The Neurodiversity affirming model is based on the idea that everyone has differences in the way they think and interact with the world.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a disability or being neurodivergent. The problems arise when society won’t accommodate for differences in needs.

Who is neurodivergent?

The term “neurodivergent” refers to anyone who does not have what we think of as a “typical” brain. They thrive in different ways of learning and understanding concepts than the majority of people, and have a different sensory experience of the world. Here are some diagnoses and disabilities usually included under the neurodivergence umbrella:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • OCD

There are many more that are sometimes included in this list. The main idea is that every brain is different, and that’s okay! In fact, it’s something to be celebrated.

The term “neurodiversity” was coined in 1998 by Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist.

The Neurodiversity Affirming model has gained traction in response to the “defecit model” of treatment. The deficit model looks at disabilities and neurodivergencies as something to be cured or eliminated. It focuses on what a person can’t do, rather than on their unique strengths.

The Neurodiversity Affirming model recognizes that the problem is with societal issues, not the individual. The right coping strategies and accommodations can help anyone thrive, even in a world tailored to neurotypical people!

But, in the long-term, we should think about the societal structures and expectations that we can change to make the world more accommodating for people of every neurotype. The pressure to change should not only be on neurodivergent people. Neurotypical people have a duty to meet disabled and neurodivergent people in the middle.

At NeuroMotif, we are serious about being a Neurodiversity Affirming practice.

We believe that there are benefits to being Neurodivergent! It’s so cool that everyone’s brains are unique.

We celebrate Neurodiversity and lean into our clients’ strengths to help them achieve their goals. We like to make Music Therapy success-oriented and fun. Sometimes neurodivergent people need different levels of structure and different kinds of sensory input in order to get the most out of a session. Our therapists use client-led approaches, and don’t rely on neurotypical social cues to track progress, like eye contact or sitting still. Also, we encourage stimming – making music is one of the best ways to stim!

Thanks to The Cleveland Clinic and Amy Yacoub from TherapyWorks for the source information.

If you are interested in learning more about us or about our Neurodiversity Affirming approach, contact us! We would love to tell you more.

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