Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Neurodiversity Celebration Week
"Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. It aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual."

Head to to learn more. <3

With a list of prompts to choose from, I was assigned an essay in my academic writing class last year. We had previously completed two short paragraph assignments and were given the choice to elongate one into an essay or write for a new prompt.

Common sense says elongating a paragraph you already got a good grade is the smart move. But alas ADHD is a moth and novelty the flame, so a new prompt it was.

Looking through the prompts list, they were either too boring, too uncontroversial, or too redundant.

90% of the class chose "Social Media's Role in Teenage Depression" and I couldn't bare the thought of making my instructor read another essay about depression lest she fall into one herself.

In an attempt to fish for inspiration, I asked a friend about her chosen topic, which she told me was "Should Disabled Students Attend Mainstream Schools?".

I had glanced at the prompt before and labeled it too uncontroversial because we all know the answer, right? As a formality, I ask her opinion and to my surprise, it was that they shouldn't...

Cue an hour-long discussion that ended in agreeing to disagree. My stubbornness barring me from satisfaction, I wallowed at home unable to get the topic out of my mind.

It hit me. Novelty!

We both write our essays on the same topic, not sharing anything until the final drafts. A written debate of sorts.

That was just the fuel I needed to motivate my content generation.

But apparently not enough to cure my procrastination, because at 3 am running on no sleep, I churned out this essay and submitted it barely two minutes before the 11 am deadline completely unsatisfied with it. (It was above the word count and I couldn't fathom shortening it, every sentence was intentional and necessary)

Rereading it after a good night's sleep improved it in my eyes by tenfold. But what I was most proud of was how enjoyable it was for others to read as it was for me to write.

A year later there are things I would've written differently (assuming I can significantly exceed the word count this time).

I'd talk more about the infantilization and ostracization of disabled people. I would refine my word choice to better convey my stance, changing words like "exclude" to "segregate". I would keep my hook and concluding sentence though, they're my favorite part.

Opinions change with time, they grow and shift just as we do.

If you are someone who believes disabled children should have their own schools, I hope this essay offers you something to consider.

Disabled Students Should Attend Mainstream Schools

 Just like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and more, 14% of students in the US have a disability according to The National Center for Education Statistics.(1) Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), which states that those who receive special education services should learn in the least restrictive environment possible, spending as much time as possible in “regular” classrooms, more and more schools have implemented inclusive classrooms. The idea of special schools sounds agreeable at first but upon deeper inspection, it becomes evident that the benefits of disabled children attending mainstream schools are much greater and far more beneficial for disabled and typical students alike.

 To begin with, it’s immoral and ableist to exclude disabled children from mainstream education simply due to differences in ability. Ableism is defined as “the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior”, it is also rooted in the assumption that disabled people need to be “fixed” and “dealt with”. Understanding this, it’s not hard to see that segregating disabled children to their own schools sends a message of “You’re difficult to deal with”. In addition, it causes a rift between typical and non-typical children causing an “us and them” mindset because they’re not interacting at school, where most friendships and world views are built.

 Next, attending mainstream schools improves the academic success of disabled students. Many non-disabled people understandably assume that special schools are a better option because it allows disabled students to get special treatment, consequently improving their abilities. On the contrary, disabled students show greater academic success when placed in traditional classrooms. This is proven in a study published in the International Journal of Special Education, which found that students with autism performed better in mainstream classrooms in comparison to special education classrooms.(2) This could be because of the Pygmalion Effect. This effect suggests that people do better when more is expected of them. Being in a mainstream school allows disabled students to be given higher expectations than what is given at special schools, as a result, they accomplish higher goals.

 Lastly, disabled students’ attendance in mainstream schools increases diversity and inclusivity within classrooms. People often focus on the drawbacks of including disabled students in mainstream schools, when they should be considering the unique perspectives they provide. Although disabled students have their weaknesses, they also have their strengths. For example, kids with dyslexia have high spatial ability, students with ADHD are strong creative thinkers, autistic students have great pattern recognition, and much more. Diverse classrooms full of students with differing strengths and perspectives teaches them to be open-minded and accepting of others by exposing students to different ways of thinking and experiencing life. Besides, there’s no better place to teach kids the value of acceptance and diversity than in the classroom. School is often where children are introduced to the world. Interacting with disabled students on a regular basis reduces the stigma surrounding disabilities, fosters a culture of respect, and provides the opportunity to learn about individual differences. Furthermore, by providing all students with opportunities to develop friendships with one another, they are also provided with role models and room for growth.

 To conclude, as well-intentioned as special schools are, the beneficial outcomes of mainstream schools for disabled students exceed those of special schools. It is not only unjust to exclude disabled children from mainstream education, but it is also incredibly beneficial to have them as an asset in the classroom, and it improves the performance and growth of everyone involved. With enough support, disabled students are able to excel in mainstream schools just as much as their non-disabled peers and maybe even grow to be the next Picasso.


1. Katherine Schaeffer. As schools shift to online learning amid pandemic, here’s what we know about disabled students in the U.S [Internet]. Pew Research Center: Pew Research Center; 2020 [updated 2020 April 23; cited 2022 April 22]. Available from:

2. Alvernia University. The Importance of Inclusion Classrooms [Internet]. Special Education; Alvernia University; 2019 [updated 2019 June 5; cited 2022 April 22]. Available from: