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Neurodiversity-Affirming Social Groups

Our social groups support kids aged 8 to 15 to advocate for their social and sensory needs while connecting and collaborating with their peers over a similar interest, whether it be Minecraft, drawing or science experiments. We use a neurodiversity affirming framework to support kids and teens to be themselves while being social!

Sharing Pizza

What is neurodiversity?

The concept that the variation in human brains is biologically normal and adaptive is called neurodiversity. The term 'neurodiverse' refers to a collection of brains together that have different brain types. 

 

Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for anyone who has a mind or brain that diverges from what is seen as typical or normal. This includes Autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, bipolar, epilepsy, psychosis, OCD, and many many more.

The Social Model of Disability

At The Happy Space, we work using the social model of disability, which considers limitations of disability to be socially constructed, through environments and attitudes. The social model of disability identifies the barriers and attitudes in a person's environments as limiting, rather than the disability itself. 

 

The social model seeks to change society in order to accommodate people living with impairment; rather than attempting to change people with disabilities to accommodate society. For this reason, at The Happy Space, we focus on environmental accomodations and self-advocacy where appropriate, rather than making other changes to the person themselves (for example teaching 'social skills'). To achieve this, we may work with parents and educators to consider environmental modifications which can help support children to thrive. 

Differences, rather than deficits. 

Research shows that neurodivergent people often experience differences in the way they communicate, play, experience and display emotions, interact with others, form and define friendships and relationships, engage in areas of passion or expertise, see patterns and connections and perceive the world around them. This can often be a difference, rather than a deficit and does not always need to be 'treated'.

 

If these differences are bothering your child, this is where a speech pathologist can work collaboratively with your child to understand these differences and give them strategies and support to allow them to participate in their desired social and communicative activities. 

So... what happens in our groups?

  • Helping our Autistic kids develop a positive identity

  • Working to understand their sensory processing differences and communication style

  • Allowing them to pursue the things that make them happy

  • Putting accommodations in place to help support them, and helping them advocate for themselves with regards to these accomodations in other environments.

  • Listening to Autistic voices and taking their advice on board. At the end of the day, they know what it’s like to be Autistic kids because they used to be them.

more information about neurodiversity

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