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Embracing our individual differences- Rupert Syme’s take on neurodiversity and education

neurodiversity in education

Published: 06/01/2023

This article was originally published in the December edition of Life Magazine’s Independent Schools Guide (p 228):

Lionheart has provided bespoke educational advice and support to young people throughout the world since 1989. Our relentless child-focussed approach and commitment to the success of young people utilises 1:1 tutoring, bespoke schooling, revision courses, educational consultancy and advice, to strategise, guide and support young people’s education.

In this short article, Chairman Rupert Syme talks about embracing our differences and recognising the neurodiversity of young people to advance their education.

At Lionheart we regularly work with young people who have neurodiverse cognitive profiles. Neurodiversity is a term used to describe neuronal variances in the brain: life experiences, schooling, culture, genetics and environment uniquely influence brain development. This variety of cognitive profiles includes disorders where young people have been ‘labelled’, such as Dyslexia, Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), ADHD and Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Lionheart argues the necessity of utilising labels as a guide, to explore any cognitive strengths, while understanding weaknesses.  For example, young people who score in the top 0.1% of standardised cognitive scores for certain components can, conversely, have cognitive scores significantly lower in other areas; therefore, they perform at the average level of their highest and lowest scores.

Our unique approach often involves a multi-disciplinary team including teachers, tutors, SENCOs, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.  By building a holistic profile, considering psychological traits and mental health, Lionheart’s team is able to create an evolving educational pathway for that young person. This can be delivered using 1:1 tutoring, online or at home, at Lionheart’s bespoke school in west London, or a combination of all three, in any subject a young person wishes to study.

We consult and guide families throughout the entire process, support the existing school to ensure continuity of learning, and aid the transition to a new school if appropriate (and, further down the line, to university).  Lionheart offers a refreshing ethos, with an approach tailored solely for each young person at the right moment in time, for that particular child.

“The future of education has never looked so exciting: young people with exceptional strengths in areas not traditionally seen in formal exams can thrive thanks to a deeper recognition of their cognitive abilities.”

Rupert Syme is Chairman and Head of Educational Consultancy at Lionheart. He holds a first-class undergraduate degree in Educational Psychology and MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. He is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development and a graduate member of the British Psychological Society.

 If your child would benefit from a different educational approach, please get in touch so we can set up a consultancy call with Rupert.