Welcome to BRAINHE
Brain.HE is a non-commercial/non-profit-making resource website for students and staff in higher education. We are hosted by the London School of Economics' Neurodiversity Team and are supported by the LSE Annual Fund, and as such we disseminate information about the Disability Equality Research Network (DERN). All new information published has been reviewed by the BRAINHE Editorial Board. Author guidance is available; please see the 'Contact' link above.
Ed Griffin (Webmaster) maintains the site, including the events calendar. Please contact Ed if you have an event to promote which relates to neurodiversity in post-compulsory, higher or adult education anywhere in the world, and/or you have an article you would like to publish on the website. Ed will ensure that two members of the Editorial Board review your article. We aim to give feedback within four weeks. Please use the subject header BRAIN.HE article or BRAIN.HE event when contacting Ed. The Editorial Board members (in alphabetical order) are: Sheila Blankfield, Sebastian Boo, Ross Cooper, Linda Kelland, Nicola Martin, Anna Robinson and Jane Sedwick.
We support the 'social model of disability' and use the term neurodiversity to encompass the types of brain currently associated with 'specific learning difficulties' (UK) and 'learning disabilities' (USA), as well as Meares-Irlen syndrome, Tourette's, stroke survivors and mental well-being issues. Click here for information about the history of BRAINHE.
We realise that this site is somewhat text-heavy. Unfortunately, we can no longer afford a speech engine for the site. Visitors may like to download a free screen reader; the website Dyslexia the Gift has links to a range of them on this page .
Mindmap of BRAINHE homepage
The Holist Manifesto
The holist manifesto is based on principles of the social model of disability and neurodiversity. It is also underpinned by two realisations that were first articulated in the Bagatelle Model of specific learning differences (Cooper, 2010). The first is that all people with specific learning ‘difficulties’ have two things in common: a strong need to process information holistically for them to be meaningful and difficulties with working memory. The second realisation is that apparent ‘difficulties’ with working memory are a product of a strong need to process information holistically, since unlike sequential processing, holistic processing requires imagination rather than working memory. This then makes holistic learners vulnerable to the charge of appearing to have ‘difficulties’ with any process which requires working memory. (Sequential thinkers could be vulnerable to the charge of a lack of imagination, but sadly, schools are rarely concerned with this inability).
The school sector is dominated by the requirement to process information sequentially, depending on working memory and indeed rote learning creating significant barriers to holistic learners. This is largely because education serves the fundamental purpose of social reproduction. This requires a close control over what is learned, how it is learned, in what order, and how it is assessed. Consequently, holistic learners are unintentional casualties of this arbitrary imposition. We are systematically invalidated, bullied, humiliated, punished, medicated and imprisoned. Yet holistic thinkers (notwithstanding their apparent ‘difficulties’) are at the forefront of original thinking, problem solving and creative endeavours. The world needs us rather more than we need them. The political implications are that we need to challenge the imposition of sequential thinking, teaching and assessment. There should be no tyranny of ‘experts’, no ‘remediation’ without representation. Holistic approaches and values should be supported in a context of the free association of ideas. Together we represent at least 20% of the population. We are entitled to be different and to learn and work differently for the benefit of all. This is not just about education, it is time for a political and social agenda of neuro-liberation.
BRAIN.HE supports this manifesto. The text above is an abstract of Ross Cooper's full manifesto, which can be seen here.
January - March 2013
The Disability Equality Research Network
DERN has been set up at the London School of Economics to provide disability researchers the opportunity to share their work and to receive constructive feedback. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have expressed an interest in the network. DERN may be useful if you are researching anything with a broad disability equality theme or if you are a disabled researcher engaging with any theme. If you would like to join DERN please click here.
What is Neurodiversity?
We prefer the word neurodiversity to other words or phrases, not only because we include such a range of brain types (which may not always be associated with an educational context), but also because it is a more "user friendly" term. Within neurodiversity, we include stroke survivors and those with mental health issues. Terminology is a tricky issue and there are different views of the term 'neurodiversity'. Mary Colley from the UK Developmental Adult Neurodiversity Association (DANDA) has some thoughts on this subject.
- The Wikipedia entry on neurodiversity can be found here.
- Opposing views to the concept of neurodiversity: Generation Rescue & F.E.A.T
- This diagram aims to show the overlaps between many of the types of neurodiversity. It is our first attempt at such a thing, and is based on the work of Mary Colley of the UK DANDA. We welcome comments on it, and links to any similar work elsewhere.
- We support a social model of dyslexia, and recommend this statement of it, written by Dr Ross Cooper of LLU+ at London South Bank University. The Adult Dyslexia Organisation in the UK also has a similar statement.
- Dr Cooper also has some video blogs about the social model of dyslexia and a new paradigm of specific learning differences (called the Bagatelle model). You can see them by following this link .
- Brainhe supports the social model of disability which underpins the concept of neurodiversity. Our paper on the topic by Ed Griffin can be found here. We also like this article on applying the social model to health and social care services.
- Dr Armstrong’s website provides some detailed and interseting ideas about neurodiversity here.
What does this site offer?
- This is an independent information site for all university students and tutors in higher education; for those studying every subject from ancient history, physics, performance art, to veterinary science and medicine.
- We provide thorough and up-to-date information resourced from, and collated by, specialists in the field of education, psychology and importantly, national and international support organisations for neurodiverse people run by neurodiverse people.
- We also provide links to universities worldwide.