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Creative Conversation

It's all in the mind – literally

Updated: Apr 12

Two outline heads showing different ways on thinking

According to a 2016 UK study, one person in seven is neurodivergent – that’s roughly 15% of the population. 


Neurodiversity refers to the different ways a person’s brain processes information and is a term that embraces a variety of thinking styles. These include


  • Dyslexia – which primarily affects reading and spelling skills


  • Dyspraxia (DCD) –  which affects movement skills and can affect short-term memory, planning and organisational skills


  • Dyscalculia – which affects the ability to deal with numbers


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – which affects social communication and interaction, and can include restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – characterised by high levels of activity, impulsivity and difficulty in focusing


One thing these neurodivergent thinking styles share is the fact that often they're not immediately obvious – sometimes even to those who possess them. Which can be a recipe for misunderstanding, conflict and various forms of disconnection that affect a lot of relationships – personal, professional and in the routine encounters of everyday life.


Tackling stereotypes


Guidance from the Samaritans suicide prevention charity describes the challenges well.

There are many stereotypes about neurodivergence in our society that are unhelpful, or even harmful to individuals. They can impact people’s daily life – for example how people might interact with an autistic person when their understanding of it is based on their own bias, perhaps from what they have seen in the media. They can also have wider impacts on our society- for example women and girls are less likely to receive a diagnosis of autism or ADHD, partially because they present in a different way to the ‘stereotypical’ expectations we have of those conditions...
The way we talk about neurodiversity is also important in tackling stereotypes. It is often seen one of two ways – on the one hand it can be seen as disabling, isolating, and something to be 'managed', while more recent narratives talk about it as people having 'superpowers', giving people special abilities or advantages.
Many neurodivergent people feel the reality is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. They may have specific traits that give them an advantage in some areas, maybe maths or music, public speaking or acting, pattern recognition or creative thinking.
But other ways their neurodivergence can present may be challenging – for example sensory overwhelm, difficulties processing new information, or remembering instructions. What this looks like may be different from person to person – while people with the same neurodivergent condition can share certain characteristics, each person’s experience will be unique to them.

So what does neurodiversity mean for creative conversation?


Implications


First, while we're aware of the challenges of neurodiversity, we readily acknowledge that this initial version of the 7 Habits course is – in its content and presentation – aimed at the 85% of people who would be described as neurotypical.


So if a difficulty you’re having in communicating with another person is actually rooted in neurodivergence, attempts to connect using creative conversation alone might still prove frustrating, despite everyone's best efforts. And especially if this isn't recognised as a factor, as can often be the case.


That said – and second – it's our firm intention to make subsequent versions of the course as inclusive as possible. This means ensuring that the content is more relevant and its presentation more accessible to those who are neurodiverse.


So – third – if you’d like to contribute your experience and knowledge of any aspect of neurodiversity to the future development of the 7 Habits course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – via the Forum, the regular feedback opportunities or directly through the contact form. We welcome your input.


Because true connection means the meeting of hearts and minds.


(Information on neurodiversity courtesy of Lexxic.com)

 


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