Nowadays, Singaporeans are fortunate enough to have a greater awareness of neurodivergent individuals, people whose brains essentially function differently from neurotypical individuals.
This awareness has also led to a better understanding of those with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia.
Despite this progress, Singapore can do better to accommodate neurodivergent students in classroom environments, to ensure that their learning is as fruitful and comfortable as that of everyone else.
For instance, allowing students short breaks in between lessons may help students with ADHD, who may struggle to pay attention for long periods of time. Also, as many neurodivergent students may suffer from sensory overload, allowing students to step out of the classroom whenever they need to can benefit their overall learning experience.
The people around them can also make the classroom a more inclusive space through their daily actions.
As a neurodivergent individual myself, I know that we may sometimes behave differently from neurotypical people.
But we go to school for the same reasons as everyone else – to learn and make friends.
Instead of judging us, students can learn to be patient and more accepting by talking to us and learning more about our conditions.
Through clear communication, students will be able to understand their neurodivergent peers better and can better accommodate their needs.
Ultimately, the classroom should be a safe space for all students. Through fostering an understanding environment, all students can understand one another better and not only get along, but also thrive together.
Kooi Xiu Min, 18