Cherish the Spark
Dyslexia….. Dyspraxia….. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder…..
Definition of distinctive: Markedly Individual
Despite the labels, no two people with unconventional learning styles are the same. Learning to understand, embrace and animate the unique potential of neurodiversity can be a fascination and a joy.
Tam has taught, supported and empowered children, parents, adults and young people affected by neurodiversity for over 35 years, delivered training to numerous organisations and campaigned for greater awareness and equality for Unconventional Learners.
In 2005 Tam co-founded Cornwall Dyslexia Association (now Dyslexia Cornwall)’s DAISI Project, which she subsequently managed. She has been a trainer and assessor on Cornwall Council’s Dyselxia Friendly Schools team and is now an independent Neurodiversity Awareness trainer, speaker, consultant and coach.
Tam and her daughter Fenna both have dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADD. Tam’s personal and parental experiences have contributed to her innovative and passionate approach.
Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysrationalia, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Specific Learning Difficulties:
These are just some of the labels applied to individuals of sound intelligence whose styles of learning and thinking do not fall within the restrictive norms of our society and education system.
Disorder, Deficit, Difficulties and words beginning with Dys are a heavy load to carry throughout a lifetime. They pathologise an individual’s unique way of being in the world, and continually reinforce, to that individual and to others, that there is “something wrong” with them. This can erode self-esteem and cause lasting and debilitating mental and emotional distress.
If labels are to be applied, there are more positive alternatives. Two that I prefer are Specific Learning Difference and Neurodiversity.
Far from being inferior to others who learn, think and respond conventionally, we square pegs possess a wealth of resources not available to the average person, and the ability to effectively manage our challenges with the right support. Our inherent gifts, once harnessed, can make us a tremenous asset in any environment. Through creative, interactive training, Dystinctive Learning can help individuals, educators, employers and service providers to recognise, understand, and celebrate the markedly individual qualities that can transform lives, environments and the wider world.
Let’s change the labels