At The Greer Meister Group, we take a strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming approach. What does that mean?

Neurodiversity describes the natural variation in human cognition–the way that people process information. It is absolutely essential for human society to thrive. Expecting children to change the way that they process information is not only futile, it’s harmful, yet it is what takes place in so many academic environments.

We are all neurodiverse. No two people think identically. Neurodiversity is wonderful, powerful, and beneficial for our species. If we want a cure for cancer or a solution to climate change, why would we think that forcing everyone into the same mold would yield a different result?

We are all neurodiverse.

Too often, educators view neurodiversity through a deficits-based lens, labeling forms of neurodiversity as deficits, disorders, and disabilities, and designing treatments with the goal of conformity and uniformity. It’s reductive, damaging, and marginalizing. It’s not what’s best for your child, and it isn’t supported by research.

At The Greer Meister Group, we value our students’ interests, passions, skills, and capacity. Taking a strengths-based approach means that we help them discover their strengths and build new skills on top of that foundation. It doesn’t mean that we ignore their challenges or gloss over their struggles. It means that we don’t define kids in terms of ways they’re not succeeding. We begin the relationship by discovering the ways kids are succeeding, and we apply those strengths to develop in other areas that need more support. Research shows that focusing on strengths results in greater engagement and higher levels of academic achievement–not to mention happiness and better overall mental health.

We don’t define kids in terms of ways they’re not succeeding.

Let’s look at writing as an example. In English, we have one verb, “to write,” but we really mean two different things. We mean the act of composing writing, and we mean the act of physically writing or typing. If Inuit can have dozens of words for snow, we should be able to have two different words for those two very different writing-related activities, but we don’t. Now imagine you’re a child with a language-based learning difference–a form of neurodiversity that makes it difficult to put your ideas on the page with a pencil or keyboard–and because you’ve been through years of schooling designed to get you to conform to writing in a certain way, you’ve internalized that you’re a bad writer. And yet, asked to tell a story, you compose your writing beautifully. You are a wonderful writer! Once we’ve identified that strength, we build the child’s skills from there rather than saying here are the ways in which you’re not meeting our expectations, so we need to help you catch up.

Our approach improves confidence, engagement, and academic success.

Once you identify as a writer (or mathematician or scientist or artist), when someone says here are skills that I can teach you to grow even stronger, you are going to be more receptive to learning them.

Which approach do you think improves confidence, engagement, and academic success?
That’s what your child deserves.