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Neurodiversity and Innovation
January 23, 2023
Any problem can be made clearer with a picture.
-Dan Roam, The Back of the Napkin

Thanks to Margie Carter for sharing a recent article by Temple Grandin, animal science professor and author, who writes, “When I was younger, I believed that everybody thought in photo-realistic pictures the same way I did, with images clicking through my mind a little bit like PowerPoint slides or TikTok videos.”

“…I had no idea that most people are more word-centric than I am. For many, words, not pictures, shape thought. That’s probably how our culture got to be so talky: Teachers lecture, religious leaders preach, politicians make speeches and we watch ‘talking heads’ on TV. We call most of these people neurotypical — they develop along predictable lines and communicate, for the most part, verbally.”

“…Today, we want our students to be well-rounded; we should think about making sure that the education we provide is as well. At the same time, I wager that the people who will fix America’s infrastructure have spent hours and hours on one thing, whether it be Legos, violin or chess — hyper-focus is a classic sign of neurodivergent thinking and it’s critical for innovation and invention.”

“…the first thing I tell managers is that they need a neurodiverse work force. Complementary skills are the key to successful teams. We need the people who can build our trains and planes and internet, and the people who can make them run. Studies have shown that diverse teams will outperform homogeneous teams. If you’ve ever attended a meeting where nothing gets solved, it may be because there are too many people who think alike.”

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Francis Wardle · January 23, 2023
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, United States


This is one of the reasons why I am so upset with our current, singular focus on teaching literacy to young children. It's also why I am a huge advocate of teaching the arts to ALL children, including those with developmental delays. Finally, there are interesting crossovers. I have written most of my adult life, but I write as a painter. Colors, shapes, and lines have meaning, just as words do.



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