Issue 12/23

Disruption for some, strengths for others

Angelika Lonnemann

Under the right circumstances, being different is a superpower». For some years now, researchers and the general public have been calling for a new look at the special needs of children, adolescents and adults. Neurological conditions should not be seen as a disorder, but as a characteristic. The technical term for this is "neurodiversity". On the one hand, this raises the question of how mental disorders should be defined. At the same time, a diagnosis of all mental characteristics is important and helpful because it is the only way to provide special support. This can make life much easier for the affected children and their parents.

As a mother at a Waldorf school, it was always a source of great admiration for me when teachers included several children with special needs in their large classes. Not all class teachers felt able to do this – in this respect, it is probably also a question of the teacher's personality, to what extent inclusive Waldorf education is part of everyday life. Class teacher Nadine Mescher, who tells us in her article how she manages to meet the many different needs of her students, says: «It is important for me to show that there are many reasons for and possibilities of differentiation. For example, if I use lots of signs and symbols for autistic children in the classroom, even the very shy children benefit from this». In our special section, we also have articles by two doctors who deal with ADHD schoolchildren, a report on a highly gifted student by Christian Boettger, one on high sensitivity by social pedagogue Melanie Vita and two lively reports by Katrin Kühne, who talked to students and alumni about their lives with giftedness and high sensitivity.


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