Skip to main

March 1, 2024

A Strengths-Based Approach to Neurodiversity

10-year-old Ben drew elevators.

I mean, well past the doors and the box that lifts us up and down; his drawings included the inner workings of an elevator. The pulleys, counterweights, buffers, all in painstaking perfect penciled detail, right down to the nuts and bolts.

He couldn’t describe them to me, but his drawings were so intricate and beautiful, it was like he was showing me how it all worked.

Ben has Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD: part of the umbrella known as neurodiversity.

Art by Sonny Jane of @livedexperienceeducator on Instagram

The way Ben’s brain works, with his ability to construct complicated machinery, is an example of a strength that might show up in other neurodivergent individuals. As we learn more about neurodiversity and what it means for neurodiverse kids in the classroom, it’s important to celebrate what all students bring to the table. Below is a snapshot of just a few strengths that are present in other disorders under the neurodiversity umbrella.

People with:May show a strength in:
DyslexiaConveying information and explaining things in a clear and concise way
Understanding patterns and processing information
Empathy: understanding and connecting with others
Visualization: interacting with space, sense, ideas and concepts
ADHD
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Hyperfocusing on the task at hand
Spontaneity
Creativity
Humor
ASD
(Autism Spectrum Disorder)
STEM subjects; logical thinking ability
Dependability
Excellent sense of direction
Drive for perfection and order
Honesty
Thinking and learning in a visual way

If the list above seems a bit abstract, look to neurodivergent role models to inspire all students! 

There’s so much more to know about neurodiversity! Check out our brand new course, 5291: Strengths-Based Support for Neurodiverse Learners to learn more about a strengths-based approach, strategies for neurodivergent learners, executive function, and more!

Resources

On the Strengths of Neurodiversity,” from Ludo Tutors

What is Neurodiversity?” by Caroline Miller of the Child Mind Institute


About the Author

Betsy Butler (she/her) is a Professional Learning Specialist at Teaching Channel. She holds a B.A. in English, and a Master’s in Education, and has been teaching since 1992. Betsy uses her three decades of teaching experience to write and revise our courses while selecting the perfect accompanying texts. Her specialty areas include ELA, special education topics, behavior management, and mental health.

Fun Fact: Betsy’s daily conquest is solving the New York Times crossword puzzle!

Share

Search the K12 Hub

More From Teaching Channel

Nurturing the Whole Gifted Child

Students identified as gifted excel in academics, but their journey is not without challenges. While student’s intellectual abilities shine, it’s crucial to address their social-emotional

Recommended Courses

Maximizing Learning for All through Differentiation

Instructional Strategies

#5151

Grade

PK-12+

Flex Credit

$189

3 Credits

$475

Differentiated Learning: How to Teach to Varying Ability Levels

Instructional Strategies

#717

Grade

K-12+

3 Credits

$475

SEL Skills and Practices for High Potential and Gifted Students

Special Populations

#5299

Grade

K-12+

Flex Credit

$189

3 Credits

$475

Want to partner with us?

We’re always looking for new authors! If you’re interested in writing an article, please get in touch with us.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Get notified of new content added to K12 Hub.

Pay As You Learn with our flexible payment plan - starting from $75 per month! Learn More >>
close-image