"Publishers Weekly", 4/26/10 "Armstrong, an educational consultant turned author, argues that there is no 'normal' brain or 'normal' mental capability and that we are making a serious mistake in assuming that the kinds of differences we see in people with conditions like autism or dyslexia involve only deficits...emphasizing that a broader understanding of neurodiversity will generate more respect and better results for people with the conditions he discusses." "Times Higher Education Supplement "(UK), 7/29/10"This quietly spoken book is at its strongest when examining the ideology itself and outlining the arguments in its favour. It is sensible in examining how other cultures, past and present, have accepted forms of neurodiversity, and it is wise in its critique of the use of normative standardisations to identify objectives in education and society in general."From the Publisher:
In this title, bestselling author and psychologist Armstrong reframes the debate about neurodiversity, offering up-to-date research on brain differences while pinpointing the gifts and abilities of people with neuropsychological. In "The Gift of Neurodiversity", Armstrong argues that we have been too quick to pathologise brain differences. Indeed, in recent years, we have re-classified these differences, labeling many of them 'disorders'. While it is true that many do suffer from clinical disorders that call for, among other things, medical treatment, many people who are seen as disordered are highly functioning. What science actually suggests is that there are many different ways for our brains to be wired, and that there are actual 'gifts' or 'strengths' attached to some of these differences. For example, a highly functioning person with Asperger's may be blessed with a tremendous ability to focus and analytical skills. Silicon Valley's success stories have been built on the collective efforts of many such individuals who are ideally suited to work at computer screens in cubicles, and do not necessarily need to interface that much with others. Similarly, as has been chronicled in Kay Jamison's superb chronicle of her struggle as a renowned psychiatrist and medical researcher with manic depression, many highly accomplished artists, performers, and thought leaders such as Jamison have drawn from the energy cycles of their illness to make breakthroughs or create great art. At once a popular course on brain differences, a manifesto on neurodiversity that presents the brain as an ecosystem that adapts to different environments and a compilation of up-to-date research on the gifts and abilities of individuals with neuropsychological disorders, Armstrong's book will reframe the debate about neurodiversity in a very positive and concrete way. Adults with these disorders, in the age of the Internet, are speaking out, whether contributing videos to YouTube about what it feels like to have a disorder (or organising around message boards and blogs to give voice to the positive aspects of their brain differences.
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