What would learning be like if we accepted the idea that every brain is different and we focused on strengths and needs? Jessy Lammers, a fellow Neurolanguage Coach®, joins me on the podcast to talk about her own experience with neurodiversity and how it informs her work with students and clients.
About Jessy Lammers
Jessy Lammers is an online Language Coach. She has over 10 years of experience teaching and coaching English to speakers of other languages and a Masters in applied linguistics, specializing in English teaching. Her experiences as a private tutor and public school teacher in the past often brought her into contact with students who have learning disabilities, and at age 30 she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Learning more about learning disabilities and neurodivergence has helped her to make learning a language a more inclusive experience for her students.
Learn more at www.BeFluentish.com
Vocabulary from our conversation
- neurodivergent – thinking differently than what is considered typical or normal
- neurotypical – thinking in a way that is considered the norm in society
- neurotype – a cognitive style; a way of thinking
- cognitive differences – different ways of thinking
- to dawn on (phrasal verb) – to begin to understand for the first time
- spectrum – a continuous range of something
- empathy/empathetic – being aware and sensitive to another person’s feelings and experiences; attempting to see things from someone else’s perspective
- quirky – someone with unusual or unexpected traits
- hyperlexic – reading above what is expected at a certain age
- echolalia – repeating words or sounds that you hear
“Neurodiversity is sort of like the word biodiversity. So if you imagine that you have a really big garden, the biodiversity in the garden isn’t the individual. It’s sort of the whole landscape. You have a lot of different species and a lot of different types of maybe the same species, right? You have five different types of butterflies or something.
And so neurodiversity is this idea that within humans there is a diversity of neurological realities and within that, we talk about neurotypical people, so people who sort of fit in the norms of society and fit in the norms of neurological development. And then you have people who are neurodivergent,
Generally speaking, we’re talking about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD. And a lot of people are also including people with Tourette’s Syndrome or mood disorders like Bipolar Disorder. . . things like that. So anything that has to do with the brain having some sort of structural or chemical difference that’s going to affect how you think or interact with the world.”
“Imagine a color wheel. . . there’s not really a better or worse. . . , you have different traits or characteristics, different struggles in different areas. Some people really struggle with language skills. . . social skills. . . fine or gross motor skills. For some people, it depends on the situation that there in. ”
Jessy’s tips for enhancing learning
Ask yourself: What do you like doing? What motivates you to keep working on it?
Combine your interests, for example:
- Listen to a language podcast while gardening.
- Read an article of interest and then create a mind map of new and related vocabulary and expressions.
Team up with other people with the same neurotype or cognitive style. Arrange a Zoom meeting where everyone works on their own projects.