Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2021

19 March 2021

This week from 15 to 23 March 2021 we celebrate neurodiversity and people with neurodivergent conditions. It’s estimated that around 1 in 7 of us are neurodivergent.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain processes information. Some people who are neurodivergent may experience learning differently, in that their brain does not function or process information in the way our society expects.

The term neurodiversity was coined in the 1990s in an attempt to move away from a rigidly medical view of learning differences and the belief that these should be ‘cured’. This week instead puts the focus on celebration and understanding of these differences, and acknowledging the benefits they can bring to society.

Examples of some neurodiverse conditions might be:

  • Dyslexia: a learning difference which affects reading and writing skills, as well as organisational skills, and a person’s ability to process and retain information;
     
  • Dyscalculia: a learning difference resulting in difficulty understanding numbers, sometimes with high mathematics anxiety;
     
  • Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder or ADHD: this condition often results in restlessness, impulsive, erratic or inappropriate behaviour. If there is no hyperactivity, this is known as ADD and the person may be easily distracted and have trouble paying attention to details;
     
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: this is a developmental disorder that affects how a person communicated with and relates to the world around them. A person with ASD may demonstrate some unusual behaviours, due to inflexible thinking and behaviours and a misunderstanding of social cues and communication;
     
  • Tourette’s Syndrome: this condition causes people to make involuntary sounds or movements, known as ‘tics’. These might include blinking, shrugging their shoulders, jerking of the limbs, or touching objects as well as verbal tics such as coughing or repeating specific words or phrases. Tics can become worse during periods of stress or anxiety for the person; and
     
  • Dyspraxia: this is a disorder affecting fine or gross motor coordination, and is distinct from conditions  such as cerebral palsy. These coordination difficulties may affect self-care, writing, typing, recreational activities or driving and DIY.

Importantly, these conditions can co-occur and overlap, and so are hugely personal to each individual.

Causes of neurodiversity

There are many causes of neurodiversity. Some instances may be genetic, or due to disease or various immune disorders. However, neurodivergent conditions also occur following trauma. This might be due to a brain injury following a road traffic accident, a brain injury at birth, or cerebral palsy.

FURTHER INFORMATION

At Kingsley Napley we have significant experience in dealing with claims following these types of injury. If this has been your experience, or that of someone you care about, please call a member of our team on 020 7814 1200.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terrence Donovan is the Head of the Medical Negligence and Personal Injury Department.  He has a national reputation, and is one of the most respected and senior solicitors in the field.

Phoebe Alexander joined Kingsley Napley in 2020. She is currently a trainee solicitor in the Medical Negligence and Personal Injury team. Her previous seat was with the Private Client team, where she assisted with the administration of trusts and estates, and the drafting of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Phoebe also assisted with Court of Protection matters, including the drafting of Deputyship applications.

 

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