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What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe neurological differences in the human brain.

From this perspective, the diverse spectrum of neurological difference is viewed as a range of natural variations in the human brain rather than as a deficit in individuals.

The concept of neurodiversity has foundations in neuroscience. Numerous studies have detailed a range of physiological differences in how people process information and the impact this can have. These differences are often diagnosed as neurological conditions.

Neurodiversity is a term that includes both conditions that are life-long and those that can develop across the lifespan. People may fall into more than one group and this can change across the lifespan.

Why is it important to understand neurodiversity?

It’s critically important for the workforce to develop a better understanding of neurodiversity and how to best support different and diverse groups of people.

We know that many people who identify as neurodiverse experience barriers due to complexities around diagnosis as well as disproportionately negative outcomes across the lifespan. Neurodiverse people currently access a range of services across disability, mental health and addiction, and it’s likely that demand for services will only increase for this group. It’s important for anyone supporting individuals and whānau to have a better understanding of neurodiversity and reflect on what it means for their practice.

Understanding Neurodiversity e-learning

Te Pou has produced the e-learning course, Understanding Neurodiversity to help the workforce to learn more about the language, underpinning values and person-centred approaches necessary to provide good support to neurodiverse people and their whānau.

The e-learning introduces the concept of neurodiversity. You will learn a bit about the term itself, as well as the different groups of people that identify as neurodiverse. It covers several of the more prevalent impairments and describes important aspects of these conditions which can influence a person's support needs.

Our e-learning modules are hosted on Moodle. If you do not have an existing Moodle account, you will need to create one to access the e-learning modules. You will only need to do this once in order to access a range of the Te Pou courses available.

If you have any problems accessing your account, please email

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