S3, E4: Ask The Experts – Neurodiversity Globally

Today, there are 193 recognized countries in the world. And according to a recent review published in the journal Science, about 10 percent of people worldwide live with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and autism.

Meanwhile, Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires countries around the world ensure that students with disabilities receive free, inclusive, and appropriate education up to college.

How that plays out in real life, however, is spotty at best.

Diagnosis, services and supports differ. Legal guardrails ensuring inclusive education are hit or miss. There isn’t even global consensus what constitutes learning disabilities.

Worse, in countries riddled with misconceptions and cultural shame about learning disabilities it isn’t unusual for students to be physically punished or reprimanded over their learning struggles.

In short, there is a world of difference regarding how neurodivergence is viewed and embraced around the globe.

On this episode, our international panel of experts will explore the global response to learning disabilities.

Mohammad Bahareth who is dyslexic, is an author, entrepreneur and the founder of the Dyslexia Awareness Initiative in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Matthias Grünke is a full professor of special education at the University of Cologne in Germany, and a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland in England. He is also the immediate past president of Learning Disabilities Worldwide, is the premier international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational, professional, and personal outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities (LD) and other related disorders.

Dr. George J. Hagerty is the president of Beacon College, America’s first accredited baccalaureate institution dedicated to educating neurodivergent students. Prior to Beacon, he served as the Chief of Compliance and Enforcement in the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education.

Adepeju Namme is founder and director of the Pitanga Resource and (Special Educational Needs) Learning Centre in Angola, Africa. A British-qualified teacher and SEN consultant with a postgraduate diploma in severe, profound and complex learning difficulties and disabilities; she has over 30 years teaching and SENCO experience in schools across the UK and Africa.