What is 'Neurodiversity?' - Social Justice Committee
Yui Araki

The Social Justice Committee is now up to a new topic. We are bringing the conversation up about neurodiversity through a collaboration with the Sacred Heart Social Service Council. Please take a read of this article to find out what neurodiversity is, and how we can support it!

Hello!

This is the Social Justice Committee. We are currently in collaboration with the Sacred Heart Social Service Council from Sacred Heart International School about the advocacy of neurodiversity and support of an NPO for Down Syndrome inclusion, SUPLIFE. Our committee is using this opportunity to share information regarding neurodiversity, a key factor that we tend to overlook for awareness in our HS community.

 

So what is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity in the human brain and cognitive functions. It presents the viewpoint that these variations are normal rather than deficit; thus, we should accept individuals who experience and interact with the world in differing ways.

An example of neurodiversity can be exhibited in Down Syndrome. Also known as Trisomy 21, it is a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, causing them to suffer from physical and mental development delays. It is important to note that most cases of down syndrome are not genetically inherited as the chromosomal abnormality is a direct result of nondisjunction in cell division. Nondisjunction refers to when an error happens that does not separate chromosomes evenly, thus causing some babies to be born with an extra copy of a chromosome. 

 

What are some of the issues?

Many neurodiverse people are treated differently based on their behaviors and some become excluded from their social surroundings. A common stereotype of those with down syndrome is that they cannot be successful in the future. The public often categorizes people with down syndrome as those who are not good at studies, cannot practice sports, and more. However, it is important for everyone to understand that those with down syndrome are as capable as those without the disorder.

 

What can we do?

There are many ways that we can be more inclusive and help neuro-diverse individuals.


One is a change of attitude. Being more aware of the dangers of labeling and by respecting these students and treating them like any other friend, is vital. Everyone is different and there are things you need to consider when interacting with everyone, so just apply that with these students as well.
Maybe if you are a closer friend, knowing their needs and adjusting to their needs and qualities might help. For example, not being sarcastic if you know they tend to take things literally.


Outside of Seisen, you can also reach out to SUPLIFE, a Non-Profit Organization based in Japan that works toward an inclusive and diverse community that does not notice the ‘difference’ between children, specifically, children with down syndrome. They have held many events to raise money and awareness, and they also help with many other organizations to support children and this cause. They have an annual ‘Buddy Walk’ event, recognized by the United States National Down Syndrome Society. They hold events and walks to advocate for diversity here and to ultimately allow people to expand their knowledge about a supportive community and let people with down syndrome know they are not alone. On the official site, there is information about their annual Buddy walks. You can contact them to volunteer or join this event, or you can contact Elena, (23elena18@students.issh.ac.jp) from the International School of Sacred Heart, to know how you can get involved! 

 

buddy walk

(SUPLIFE Buddy Walk 2022 Blog)

 

If you want to start on a closer scale, teachers like Ms. Maiya (nmaiya@seisen.com), Ms. Dawson (bdawson@seisen.com), and Mr. Frain (pfrain@seisen.com) are also willing to help. Both are in the Neurodiversity Teacher Association, and Mr. Frain is also a learning support teacher, who aims to let students have a managed school life, including being inclusive. Lastly, if you would like to gain more information, the Seisen Social Justice Committee and Sacred Heart Social Service Council are always willing to help!

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or want to help out!

 

From, 

The Social Justice Committee
 

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