Synopses & Reviews
A new term has emerged from the disability movement in the past decade to help change the way we think about neurological disorders: Neurodiversity.
ADHD. Dyslexia. Autism. The number of categories of illnesses listed by the American Psychiatric Association has tripled in the past fifty years. With so many people affected by our growing culture of disabilities,” it no longer makes sense to hold on to the deficit-ridden idea of neuropsychological illness.
With the sensibility of Oliver Sacks and Kay Redfield Jamison, psychologist Thomas Armstrong offers a revolutionary perspective that reframes many neuropsychological disorders as part of the natural diversity of the human brain rather than as definitive illnesses. Neurodiversity emphasizes their positive dimensions, showing how people with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other conditions have inherent evolutionary advantages that, matched with the appropriate environment or ecological niche, can help them achieve dignity and wholeness in their lives.
"Armstrong (7 Kinds of Smart), 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. People with these conditions also have strengths, he emphasizes, and by focusing on these, rather than on the 'labels,' we can find the modes of learning and living that can help them thrive. Focusing primarily on seven 'labels' (autism, ADHD, dyslexia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intellectual disabilities, and schizophrenia), He offers some good teaching tips. Yet while claiming not to romanticize, say, depression, his conclusions fall too close, as when he writes, 'in some mood disorders, there may be a silver lining,' citing how Jung and Beethoven found creativity in the depths of their depression. In equating anecdote with pattern, he strains credibility. Armstrong is strongest in emphasizing that a broader understanding of neurodiversity will generate more respect and better results for people with the conditions he discusses. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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.”
Bestselling author Thomas Armstrong reframes the debate about neurodiversity, offering current research on brain differences while pinpointing the gifts of people with neuropsychological disorders.
About the Author
Thomas Armstrong, PhD, is an award-winning author and speaker who has written fourteen books, including 7 Kinds of Smart. Dr. Armstrong has also written for many publications and appeared on television and radio programs, including The Today Show and CNN. He lives in northern California.