Dr. Armstrong’s Neurodiverse Universe Blog

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This next week I travel to Brazil to present at two conferences, one in Sao Paulo (May 19), and one in Sao Luis (May 26).  I’ll be speaking about ADHD and neurodiversity.  For my ADHD presentation, I’ll be lecturing on the growing medicalization of our schools, where children are routinely medicated for not fitting into the “worksheet...
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I’ve noticed a new buzz word hovering around educational circles these days.  It’s called 21st century learning.  My first reaction to this is:  aren’t we living in the 21st century?  And doesn’t that mean that any kind of learning we engage in is 21st century learning?  Well, I suppose that’s unfair.  What the people behind this...
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Teachers have been taking it on the chin a lot lately with calls for the abolishment of tenure, and its replacement with what have been called “value-added models” of teaching evaluation.  Basically, what this means is that teachers are going to be increasingly assessed in terms of their ability to raise the standardized test scores of their students. ...
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There’s a whole new climate of opinion that’s been sweeping over the educational scene in America these days.  It’s all about accepting as perfectly normal the creation of a monstrous monolithic “learning” enterprise from preschool to post-college that consists of uniform standards, standardized testing, the collection of “data”, and the evaluation of teachers based on test scores (a practice incongruously called “value-added”).  I find this...
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I’m leaving on Monday to present a lecture on neurodiversity at the Title I Conference in Tampa, Florida.  My presentation will be February 1, 2011 at 12:45 in Ballroom C of the Tampa Convention Center.  In the presentation, I’ll be emphasizing how neurodiversity represents an opportunity to reframe our understanding of children with disability labels like “autism”...
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I was happy to see recently a post on the Encyclopedia Brittanica blog that featured an interview with Cambridge University researcher Simon Baron-Cohen on the topic of neurodiversity.  When asked about the movement, Baron-Cohen replied:  “The neurodiversity movement has been a very positive influence in reminding us that there is no single pathway in neurological...
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Thirty-five years ago, when I was at the beginning of my teaching career, Piaget was all the rage.  We read his books, and puzzled over how observation of children interacting with real life situations could enable us to understand the development of their minds.  We also were able to catch the tail end of interest...
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There’s a very good interview with neurodiversity advocate Ari Ne’eman on the website of Wired magazine.  He discusses the importance of helping autistic individuals and others with mental and neurological disabilities live better lives – lives of quality – free of discrimination, stereotypes, limited access to tools of living, and other limiting factors.  This is...
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I have noticed that kids in Scandinavia are allowed to play in freer ways than in the United States.  For example, in one elementary school that I visited in Norway, kids were climbing trees, and they were really high up – I was very concerned for their safety.  And yet the teachers seemed perfectly at...
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