10 to 20% of New Zealand’s young people are neurodiverse. They have brains wired to think, learn, perceive the world and feel differently from neurotypical people.
Each neurodiverse brain is unique. Some young people may be gifted, or have ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, processing issues or other diagnoses - or a number of these conditions. These unique brains have an enormous amount to offer a world which needs new thinking to solve ever more challenging problems. Right now, too few of New Zealand’s 160,000 to 320,000 neurodiverse young people are able to achieve their potential. Most have to operate in an education system not designed for them. Despite the Government's 2019-2025 Learning Support Action Plan. still too few are identified and supported as neurodiverse, and too few ECEs, schools and tertiary organisations have teachers with the capabilities and resources to understand and support them. Far too many of our neurodiverse young people end up underachieving - disengaging, dropping out, and suffering from mental health challenges - and never contributing their unique gifts to our communities. In Election Year 2023, it’s time for the voices of our neurodiverse rangatahi to be heard. As a non-profit supporting neurodiverse young people, we are backing our rangatahi to drive the change they want to see.