Neurodiversity affirmative approaches start with recognition of the diversity in brain development that shape people’s perception, cognition and experience. This diversity can be associated with both strengths and varying support needs in different socio-cultural contexts. Neurodiversity affirmative approaches aim to increase the quality of life of neurodivergent people by both reducing stigma and obstacles in current society and by creating tailored support that respects human diversity.
Precision healthcare was motivated by the recognition that categorical diagnoses (for example, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD) do not allow us to make accurate predictions about a person’s development, support needs and benefits, or the underlying cause an mechanisms of clinical features. It aims to match therapies (medical and non-medical) to individual needs and biological profiles.
Neurodiversity affirmative approaches and precision healthcare intersect by appreciating the diversity among neurodivergent people, and share the common goal to tailor support to individual needs, strengths and characteristics.
At the same time, major advances in neurotechnologies are being made. This includes increasing resolution and reliability of non-invasive neuroimaging techniques, development of wearable and mobile neurotechnologies that may be more accessible for families, advances in robotics, as well as in Artificial Intelligence approaches such as closed-loop neuroadaptive techniques.
Together, these technologies offer new opportunities to support neurodivergent children in healthcare, at home and in educational settings.
In the past, these different communities have had little direct contact with each other. To realise this vision, we need to bring all major stakeholders together. In addition to the communities listed above, this critically includes ethicists, regulators, health care providers so that that it is viable for these neurotechnologies to be responsibly implemented in real-life settings.