EnglishDevelopmental & Educational Psychology

Celebrating Neurodiversity in Educational Psychology

Eminem, Simone Biles, and Ryan Gosling are just some of many well-known figures who have identified themselves as neurodiverse. Support and encouragement for children who are neurodiverse is about accepting, including, and celebrating them.

Neurodiversity today

Although the term “neurodiversity” was only first coined in the late 1990s (Singer, 1999), neurodiversity has always existed. It is estimated that approximately 15-20% of the population are neurodiverse, which includes up to 10% of people diagnosed with dyslexia, 6% with dyspraxia, 5% with ADHD, and 1-2% with autism spectrum disorder (Doyle, 2020).

Being neurodiverse means that the brain functions slightly differently to someone who is “neurotypical,” but these are considered “normal variations” within the human population (merriam-webster.com). Despite this, there is a strong belief that we have yet to fully accommodate the needs of the neurodiverse population other than potentially identifying them as “special needs” when diagnosed.

In light of Neurodiversity Celebration Week March 13–19, we have looked at some of the resources and research around neurodiversity in educational settings.

Equipping teachers with the right tools

Multiple news outlets and scholarly articles, including a qualitative study conducted by Anna Cook & Jane Ogden (2022), report that teachers feel underequipped and unprepared to teach children with special educational needs, and many lack the confidence and knowledge to support neurodiverse children. Accommodations for the child may include curriculum changes, different classroom organizations, and tailored teaching techniques. (Daly, 2016, p. 52). Therefore, developing these skills in teachers so they are confidently able to assist the child is likely to improve the educational experience for neurodiverse children.

Hogrefe’s books and journals can help educational psychologists and other education professionals to better understand the current psychology research and evidence around neurodiverse conditions – including different aspects of diagnosis, intervention, and daily living.

… and peruse our journal articles:

Restructuring assessments

Standardized exams in schools have also been an issue for children with neurodivergence. Accommodations such as a longer amount of time to take the exam, regular breaks, or even assistance during the tests can help children to show their full potential. However, in order to receive these accommodations, psychological testing is often required to confirm that the child requires them. Standardized assessments can help children to obtain a diagnosis, which often leads to support for additional funding required for extra needs at schools, as well as important access for additional exam requirements.

When data collection is completed, the new Intelligence and Development Scales – 2nd Edition (IDS-2) will help fulfill that requirement, as the test assesses the ‘whole child’, by including the functional dimensions of intelligence, executive functions, psychomotor skills, social-emotional competence, basic school skills, and motivation and work attitude scores. These modules can be used independently to tailor learning to the child’s needs, and the results can show the psychologist whether the child needs extra support in school, including during exams.


Aitken, D. and Fletcher-Watson, S. (2022) Neurodiversity-Affirmative Education: Why and how? The British Psychological Society. <https://www.bps.org.uk/psychologist/neurodiversity-affirmative-education-why-and-how>

Bölte, S., & Hallmayer, J. (2011). Autism Spectrum Conditions. Hogrefe Publishing.

Cook, A., Ogden, J. (2022). Challenges, strategies and self-efficacy of teachers supporting autistic pupils in contrasting school settings: a qualitative study. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 37(3). <https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2021.1878659>

Daly, B.P., Hildenbrand, A.K., & Brown, R.T. (2016). ADHD in Children and Adolescents. Hogrefe Publishing.

Doyle, N. (2020). Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults. British Medical Bulletin, 135(1), 108-125. <https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldaa021>

Grob, A., Hagmann-von Arx, P., Barnett, A., Stuart, N., Vanzan, S. (2021). IDS Intelligence and Development Scales™ – 2nd Edition. Hogrefe Publishing.

Honeybourne, V. (2018) Neurodiversity in education. National Autistic Society.<https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/professional-practice/neurodiversity-education>

How Standardized Tests Are Limiting for Those With Disabilities (2021) NeuroHealth Arlington Heights. <https://neurohealthah.com/blog/standardized-tests-with-disabilities/>

Joseph, L., Soorya, L., & Thurm, T. (2015). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hogrefe Publishing.

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Neurodiversity. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurodiversity>

Mirfin-Veitch, B., Jalota, N., Schmidt, L. (2020). Responding to neurodiversity in the education context: An integrative literature review. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week. <https://www.neurodiversityweek.com/>

Neurodiversity in education. The Education Hub. <https://theeducationhub.org.nz/neurodiversity-in-education/>

OECD (2017). Trends Shaping Education Spotlight 12 <https://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Spotlight12-Neurodiversity.pdf>

Paz, Z. (no date) Test taking accommodation devices and assistive technology, LDRFA. <https://www.ldrfa.org/test-taking-accommodation-devices-and-assistive-technology/>

Singer, J. (1999). ‘Why can’t you be normal for once in your life?’ From a ‘problem with no name’ to the emergence of a new category of difference. In M. Corker & S. French (Eds.), Disability Discourse (59-67). Open University Press.

What is neurodiversity. Neurodiversity Hub. <https://www.neurodiversityhub.org/what-is-neurodiversity>