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What is Neurodiversity, Really?

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Part of the 2020-2021 Minerva Lecture Series.

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Neurodevelopmental conditions, such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia, are often misunderstood despite having a significant impact on many people’s lives. There is a lot of overlap between these conditions, but they are usually researched and managed separately by clinicians.

Neurodevelopmental conditions can also be conceptualised as 'neurodiversity', which aims to appreciate the strengths of ‘neurodivergent’ people – such as Richard Branson and Greta Thunberg – who have made some amazing contributions to our society in recent times. However, this can lead to tension; whilst there are many highly successful neurodivergent people, there are also parents of children who have severe neurodevelopmental issues who require support. The idea of ‘neurodiversity’ is poorly understood and is often used as a buzzword among academic and commercial organisations who increasingly use it without awareness of up-to-date scientific research on neurodevelopmental conditions and neurodiversity.

Dr Punit Shah, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and an expert on neurodevelopmental conditions in adulthood, will discuss his work on mental processing in neurodevelopmental conditions. Drawing on a growing collaboration of leading researchers in the South West’s GW4 Universities (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, & Exeter), the GW4 Neurodevelopmental Neurodiversity Network, he will discuss the promise and pitfalls of the neurodiversity paradigm, working with the audience to consider ways in which it may inform their work in and outside of academic settings.

This lecture will take place online via Microsoft Teams. You can join the live online lecture from 18:00 – 19:00 on Wednesday 3 March 2021 by registering here. A link will be emailed to you before the event allowing you to view the lecture via Microsoft Teams - no account is required.

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