In increasingly diverse classrooms, educators play a vital role in promoting equity and ensuring that every student thrives. Recognizing and embracing neurodiversity is a crucial step towards creating inclusive learning environments. In a recent article from LD Online (link opens in new tab/window)↗, Simmi Goomer, Chief Learning and Impact Officer at Eye to Eye, discusses how educators can uplift all students by focusing on equity in schools through the lens of neurodiversity.
“Schools that support neurodiversity are ones that truly believe in the power of choice and voice for students to step in as owners of their own learning.”
Neurodiversity is the concept that neurological differences, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other cognitive variations, are natural and should be respected. Rather than viewing these differences as deficits, neurodiversity emphasizes the unique strengths and perspectives that individuals with diverse learning and thinking profiles bring to society.
Promoting Equity through Awareness
Educators can start by increasing their understanding of neurodiversity and its implications in the classroom. By being aware of the diverse ways students process information, communicate, and learn, teachers can adapt their teaching methods to create a more inclusive learning environment. This includes employing varied instructional strategies, offering flexible learning options, and providing support tailored to each student’s needs. The Professional Learning Program for Educators at Eye to Eye (link opens in new tab/window)↗ is an example of how schools can help teachers create classrooms with equity, inclusion, and neurodiversity at the core.
Creating an Inclusive Classroom with Individualized Support
“For me, equity is about how we ensure that there’s opportunities for deeper learning for all students. That means building from the margins in rather than from the center out.”
An inclusive classroom celebrates the strengths of every student and fosters a sense of belonging. To achieve this, teachers can promote a positive and accepting classroom culture. Encouraging open discussions about neurodiversity, challenging stereotypes, and valuing different learning styles can help create an atmosphere where students feel supported and accepted. Individualized support can involve implementing personalized learning plans, leveraging assistive technologies, and collaborating with specialists, parents, and support services to ensure each student receives the necessary accommodations and resources for their success.
Promoting equity in schools requires embracing neurodiversity as a core principle. By understanding and valuing all students, educators can create inclusive classrooms that uplift and empower all learners. Let us strive to build a future where neurodiversity is not only accepted but celebrated, enabling all students to reach their full potential.
- Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org