Neurodiversity superpowers!

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By Psychologist, Christine Flavel

The earth has a variety of life forms- plants, land animals, marine animals, insects…. We call this biodiversity and it is why we have a beautiful, wonderful world.

Just as the earth has different living things, people have different brains and we can call this neurodiversity. When we hear others talk about brain differences, it’s often based on the things that people find difficult. What if we focused on encouraging people to recognise and use their strengths instead?

Here comes…..the iceberg…….

You may have seen the analogy of the ‘success iceberg’ (if not, you can google it). As a psychologist, I like to use the iceberg with kids and parents I work with to get them thinking about their strengths.

If you know someone who has a different brain to you (it might be your child, or someone else you know), consider the top of the iceberg (the small bits of what people see). This might be a couple of broad good things, or even some challenging behaviour.

Now consider the bottom of the iceberg underwater (strengths that people don’t see straight away). There are always more strengths under the water which we don’t always see. These can be nurtured and encouraged to bring out the best in an individual.

Here’s an example of an ADHD iceberg:

Why don’t you try your own? Even better, do it with your child and see just how many brilliant superpowers you uncover!

Christine is a registered psychologist undertaking endorsement in Educational & Developmental psychology.  Christine has worked with a range of ages (children, youth and adults) in helping them understand mental health concerns including anxiety and depression, support with coping through stress and change, and setting and achieving goals. Christine also conducts psychoeducational and diagnostic assessments primarily for learning difficulties, autism and ADHD. Using a strengths based approach and working with clients to find what works for them, Christine will often utilise Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy to explore and achieve client goals. Outside the clinic, Christine enjoys spending time with her puppy and eating cruffins (croissant muffins).

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