We feel the voice of our students on local, national and global affairs needs to be heard. Our Engage Inc. Student, James will blog on a subject of his choice – enjoy!
I would like to give my views on what it is like to be a ‘neurodiverse’ person. If you are a neurodiverse person, your brain works in a different way to someone who is a neurotypical person. For example, someone like me with Autism might repeat the same words, struggle to make eye contact or not get what someone is asking them. Repeating the same words is often done without meaning to do it and it might annoy the person they are talking too.
This brings me to some of the barriers that can stop people like us from learning, not making eye contact with teachers or colleagues could make them believe you are being rude or are uninterested in learning when that is not the intention. A lack of eye contact is something most autistic people find difficult [I know I do]. We don’t always understand why it would be helpful to look at the person you are talking too; this could lead to the same consequence. When I was at primary school, a teacher told me to ‘look at me when I am talking to you’, I felt nervous after that as I didn’t know eye contact was important at the time.
Potential solutions include explaining a rule, opinion or activity clearly so they get why they should do it. Giving an autistic person time to process things could also help them to learn. I remember when I was seven, I didn’t know why I couldn’t go out in the rain, my mum explained to me that I could get my clothes soaked or get a cold if I did. From my own experience, these solutions do work.