Recognition of different modes of thinking is on the rise thanks to social media platforms and inclusivity movements. Understanding that the human brain operates differently from person to person is a relatively new concept and is changing the way we educate, work, and communicate. This understanding has given rise to the neurodiversity movement. Many forms of neurodivergence have been labeled as learning disabilities in years past, but it is becoming more evident that some of these conditions aren’t so much a disability as they are a different way of thinking.
In the past, those who have been diagnosed with a condition such as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia, have struggled to thrive in a traditional work or education environment. With the recognition of different brain functions encompassed by neurodivergent people, individuals with these types of conditions are becoming more seen, understood, and accommodated in their day-to-day lives.
What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity means an individual whose neurological function or mode of thinking differs from what would be considered normal, or neurotypical. It was coined by sociologist Judy Singer in 1998. Neurodivergence is commonly used to describe those with autistic spectrum disorders.
Common conditions that fall under the term neurodiversity are ADHD, autism, asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette syndrome (TS).
What is a Neurotypical?
A neurotypical person is someone whose neurological function and cognitive development is considered to be normal variations. This term is commonly used by autistic people and communities to describe someone whose cognitive function is what is perceived to be normal or non-autistic.
Helpful Tools for Neurodivergent Thinkers
Because of the different ways in which their brains operate, those with neurological differences may require certain accommodations when it comes to reading. There are many tools available to assist with these unique cognitive functions. One of the more preferred tools to assist with processing information is a text-to-speech reader.
Text-to-Speech readers enable people with disabilities to hear the text and follow along as it is read out loud. This is very helpful for neurodivergent individuals as it helps them process the information in both auditory and visual capacities.
Listening to text while it is read assists with increasing focus and building a stronger understanding than just reading alone can provide. It also improves the retention of information consumed because of the multiple modes in which is consumed.
Speechify is a text-to-speech reader that reads aloud any materials that would normally be read. For those who are neurodivergent and struggle to find the focus to read in a classic setting or who struggle with letters on the page, Speechify is a fantastic option to assist them.
With reading being such an integral part of work and school, those who struggle with reading often find themselves falling behind and can suffer lower self-esteem and confidence as a result. Speechify can help reading tasks become more manageable by offering the option of listening in place of reading or listening as opposed to reading.
Speechify allows its subscribers to take photos of pages that they need to read, helping the neurodivergent with homework, training materials, mail, bills and so much more. As the app reads it also highlights the words as it goes, giving a visual appeal to reading along while listening. Speechify is compatible with Chrome, iOS, and Android allowing for listening on desktop from the comfort of home or mobile for on the go.
Information retention is increased with the use of text-to-speech software like Speechify because it allows reading materials to be consumed by both the auditory and visual modes of learning. Speechify also allows its users to adjust the speed at which the material is read to them, allowing them to consume a larger amount of material than they would normally be able to by reading alone.
Audible learning is very effective for the neurodivergent community as it has been shown to help the material to be more comprehensible. For those who struggle with reading comprehension, understanding tone and voice inflection in text can be very difficult. However, when the material is read out loud, the listener can pick up on these cues because they can hear the difference in the words.
The ability to remove the stress of reading from someone who is struggling with comprehension of what they read makes all the difference in that person’s ability to retain the information that was read. Having materials read aloud allows those who struggle with reading to break down barriers surrounding comprehension and make connections with information that they already know.
Speechify is an effective tool in helping neurodiverse people who struggle with reading comprehension. With Speechify, reading becomes less of a struggle and more enjoyable.
To assist with the flow and retention of the material that the application reads, the artificial intelligence voices used by Speechify are considered more fluid and human-like than the typical AI voices that have been experienced in applications past.
By listening to an artificial voice that sounds inherently human, the reading experience becomes more natural. This is a large benefit to those who struggle with autism and removes some of the barriers to retention and understanding of the materials.
What is considered neurodivergent?
The term neurodivergence is used to describe an individual whose neurological function or mode of thinking differs from what would be considered normal, or neurotypical. Neurodivergence is commonly used to describe those with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).
What are the signs of neurodiversity?
Neurodivergent people have been diagnosed by a healthcare provider with a cognitive, learning, or developmental disorder such as ADHD, autism, or dyslexia. Some people consider themselves neurodivergent without an official diagnosis if they feel that their brains operate in a way that is atypical of what is perceived as normal.
What are the most common forms of neurodiversity?
The most common types of neurodivergence include but are not limited to neurological conditions or health conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. Many forms of neurodiversity can be managed with medication prescribed by a mental health provider.
What are the benefits of being neurodivergent?
While being neurodivergent presents many challenges, it does come with its fair share of benefits as well. The brain differences that neurodivergent people bring to the table make them more apt to think outside of the box and bring fresh perspectives that may have not been considered in the past.