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Neurodiversity: Discovering the Extraordinary Gifts of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Brain Differences

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  281 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Bestselling author Thomas Armstrong reframes the debate about neurodiversity, offering current research on brain differences while pinpointing the gifts of people with neuropsychological disorders.
ebook, 289 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Not Avail (first published May 13th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,079)
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Dec 30, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really liked most of the book, it has a good perspective and is very informative on some topics, but near the end he started to get a little extreme especially with his educational philosophies. He reviews several common mental states/conditions (including ADHD, dyslexia, depression, autism...) and discusses the typical strengths associated with each as well as the weaknesses. While it's true that many mental "conditions" can better be viewed as alternate ways of thinking rather than "disorder ...more
Pretty good look at various types of neurodiversity (autism, dyslexia, schizophrenia, OCD, etc), how these traits might've been advantageous to our ancestors and thus survived in the gene pool, and how special education could be reshaped to take more of a difference view and less of a deficit view. While parts were quite interesting, the special education focus effectively distanced me from the book.
Michelle Davaadorj
Дауны синдромтой, аутизмтай, анхаарал төвлөрөх эмгэгтэй, Уилсоны хам шинжтэй буюу бидний "хэвийн бус" гэж үздэг хүмүүс түүхэн өөр цаг үе болон өөр иргэншилд төрсөн бол харин ч тэдний сул тал гэж оношлогддог чанарууд нь өндрөөр үнэлэгдэн, "жирийн" амьдарч болдог талаар олон жишээ дурдагдахаас гадна эдгээр хүмүүст таарсан ажлыг нь олговоос бусад хүмүүсийн л адил биеэ дааж амьдрах боломжтой гэдгийг бодит хүмүүсийн жишээгээр нотлоод хийж болох ажлуудын жагсаалтыг хавсаргаж өгсөн ажээ. Бид "neurodive ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
The author compares people with differences in the way their brain works (neurodiversity) to biodiversity or cultural diversity which are seen as important and good for our earth and society. Without downplaying the challenges these people face he illustrates how people with various neurological disorders have also been given some extraordinary gifts and talents and that when they are guided to the right environment through niche construction they flourish. Two chapters that intrigued me were Th ...more
Dale Gomez
Quick read that reframes some conditions to focus on the amazing gifts that also seem to go hand in hand with the shortfalls of these conditions. One problem I generally have with books like this is that they often miss the mark when they try to pull in hard science to support their positions. Case and point in this book is the reference to Jared Edward Reser's proposition that Down syndrome may represent an adaptation to severe maternal deprivation. Anyone with a reasonable handle on biology, g ...more
I would have like to see some questioning of the foundations of the mental health industries here, but as I found out the author himself has been on antidepressant medications for decades so he's not really going to rock the boat.

The book is a fairly high level, pop-mental-health tone, not like more technical stuff I've read lately like Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health. It even has a list of suitable careers for people in each category of neurodiversity (Forest Ranger i
Jonathan Karmel
It is hard to argue with the central premise of this book – that we should look for and value the positive attributes of every individual. I also agree that people need to respect neurodiversity. Neurotypical people should seek to understand and appreciate people whose brains work differently.

I think the author approaches the subject from the perspective of psychology. He wants society to help individuals recognize and nurture their most positive human attributes. Even if an individual is mental
The idea of Neurodiversity is that the time and place a person lives determines what is viewed as neurotypical. In societies where children are expected to run and yell and play, behaviors that are considered inappropriate in other societies are viewed as 'normal' and these dichotomies lead to different labels. In cultures that value youth, imagination, creativity and action, a child with ADHD would thrive and teaching styles would match the way that child thinks. However, in another world, that ...more
This was a great book that challenges readers to see the gifts that are inherent in people whose attributes are typically viewed from a medical (deficit/abnormality) perspective. As an individual who works in special education (which all education should be), I highly recommend this book. At the start of this book, the author recounts how he would prepare for I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) meetings by highlighting and summarizing every positive statement he found in a student's file. He woul ...more
Mazen Alloujami
Jan 07, 2015 Mazen Alloujami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look over psychiatric disorders and illnesses. A book for general public, not specialists.
Jacques Coulardeau
The author attacks seven conditions of mental disorder: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia. Why these seven and only these seven? What about the Down syndrome or other syndromes of the same type, basically genetic? But we have to follow the author to understand his approach that has to be limited to the cases he studies, and we are going to discover that some chapters are in fact kind o ...more
Douglas Lord
Aug 27, 2015 Douglas Lord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smartdude Thomas Armstrong posits that conditions like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia aren't diseases that need to be cured but, rather, exist like outliers of humanity's evolution. This assertion essentially raises the question, "Is anyone normal?" But Armstrong isn't just farting rainbows, cheerfully singing, "Make your disability an ability!" Instead, he highlights the positive aspects of various high-functioning conditions that our culture prejudicially characterizes as "disabilities" and explai ...more
Elizabeth Desole
Kudos to the author for writing a book that focuses on the positive aspects of having a non-neurotypical brain. The book is a nice start but on the whole came off as quite meager. His theories had a lot of maybes (maybe being overanxious was helpful in a hunter-gatherer society because...) I also found his credentials and facts slim or questionable. As far as I could tell, he is mostly qualified to make these assertions about special education because he taught it for a couple of years? Excuse m ...more
Dec 09, 2014 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What I liked about this book was how it incorporated various mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities into neurodiversity. I'm used to the neurodiversity discussion focusing on autism, and extending to ADHD and dyslexia, but I've not encountered it going much further than this. Actually, the chapter on autism was really rubbish - it was based on very outdated stereotypes, such as autistic people not wanting to interact with people, and not having any empathy, and all being best suited to j ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Aili rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf
This is a paradigm changing book. I consider myself an open-minded person, but this book pushed some of my stereotypes and assumptions right in my face. And I liked it. Armstrong explains the whole brains of neurodiverse people and not just their "deficiencies." Conclusion: everyone really is special. Warning: he does talk a lot about evolution.

I highly recommend it as a mind-opening experience.
Mar 17, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really easy, interesting read. Talks about a variety of brain-based disorders & offers a new perspective about how to think about them. Doesn't gloss over the difficulties, but helps to focus on the positive & strengths that people with these disorders often have. I also really appreciated how it listed specific famous people with each disorder & suggested potential job paths for those with each one.
Raghad Mohammed
Sep 22, 2016 Raghad Mohammed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do we feel the need to label everything and everyone ? it is in the labeling of people as mentally retarded and not good enough for us that the greatest injustice is done. we focus on their difficulties rather than their strengths. The book offers a new perspective, where we start accepting others and believe that everyone is gifted in their own way. A great and informative book!
Sep 08, 2010 Legustafson rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for any parent with a child who is neurodiverse. It puts into words many of the things I have tried to convey to the educators I have met. I have shared the introduction with my son's teachers this year. Excellent book!!!
Jeffrey Bumiller
While this is not the most thorough book I've ever read, it does serve as a nice introduction to the concept of Neurodivesity and the very important goal of seeing brain differences as assets rather than liabilities.
Mar 21, 2014 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The “neurodiverse,” and parents of the same, would benefit from reading about how to create employment & other niches that minimize the weaknesses & emphasize the unusual strengths of those who think different.
Harry Curtis
The book was better than many other which I have read on the subject of autism and other cognitive differences, in that, as a book which deals with the concept of neurodiversity in relation to autism, there was an effort to highlight the positive as well as the negative attributes to those conditions.

That being said, I felt that the author,in some of his proposed methods of how those who neurodiverse should find their niche in society, perhaps expects shows low expectations in certain respects.
Feb 26, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was tempted to rate with a 3-star rating because of the evolutionary slant but decided to do 4 as it was very helpful in changing my attitude towards my children's learning difficulties. In the past I have thought that everyone should be able to learn certain things ( though some may find it harder than others) and learn them the way I teach them. I thought that my children were not "trying" hard enough. But over the years I've come to realize that is just not so. This book and other books and ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Astoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On rethinking the medicalization of brain difference and the culture of disability into an understanding of a full diverse range of human intelligences.
Aug 31, 2010 Bridgett rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I learned about a variety of neurological conditions, though the autism section was the most familiar. I liked the intellectual disability chapter.
Mar 12, 2011 Shirley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I think I was expecting more from this book. It was written well, but I didn't learn anything extraordinary.
This book needs to be read by everyone.
Nov 18, 2010 Jamie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i find it refreshing
Oct 23, 2011 Jessie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it.
Betti Gefecht
I loved it, basically. The author's approach to explain the concept of neurodiversity and point out its benefits in not only 'special education' but simply EDUCATION is not only educating in itself, but also heartwarming, even entertaining. You don't have to be an expert in neurology or something to grasp it, nor is it necessary to have a special dictionary at hand. The writing is almost colloquial, riddled with lots and lost of examples and anecdotes, and special terms are explained right away. ...more
Holly St. Pierre
I absolutely LOVED Armstrong's exposure of the sometimes alienating nature of American values for non-neuro-typical folks. When someone doesn't fit the mold, they are overlooked or disdained. Everyone deserves to be valued for the strengths they bring to community.

He doesn't gloss over the fact that states of being like schizophrenia and depression can be miserable. Instead he brings an awareness of the potential gifts within these altered states of being.
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Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is the author of sixteen books including his latest, The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for Teaching Middle and High School Students.

His other books include, Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life, The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain, The Human
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