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The gift of neurodiversity: celebrating the kaleidoscope of minds

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Just imagine how different our world would be without the innovation and contributions of visionary individuals who ‘thought differently’.

Would we have mobile phones or electric cars?

Would the world be devoid of extraordinary music, art, and literature that has brought joy to generations?

Where would humanity be now without the likes of Mozart, Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Lewis Carrol, Emily Dickenson, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, or Sir Isaac Newton – all believed to have been on the autism spectrum?

Autistic individuals are neurodiverse – they think, learn, and perceive the world uniquely. They are not broken. They do not need fixing. Their autism is not a disease to be cured or an affliction to be removed. However, autistic individuals do experience barriers to participating in life and enjoying it to the full.

What autistic individuals do need is opportunity. Opportunity and support to unlock their innate gifts, so they can participate more fully in the world in the way that they choose.

Autistic individuals are neurodiverse – they think, learn, and perceive the world uniquely. They are not broken. They do not need fixing.
Ron Davis, with his wife, Alice
Ron Davis, with his wife, Alice

Meet Ron Davis.

Born almost 80 years ago, he was diagnosed as a Kanner’s baby, severely autistic and non-verbal for the first 17 years of his life. The experts wanted Ron to be institutionalized. Luckily for the world, his mother refused, and he was brought up at home under her loving care.

Eventually, when he started speaking, Ron was found to have a genius level IQ as well as math savant abilities. He subsequently became an engineer for NASA, a talented sculptor, and a successful real estate agent – all because his mother supported and believed in him.

Ron was a true visionary. He started sharing his message about the gifts of neurodiversity over 30 years ago, and was laughed off stage for the absurdity of the notion. “Gift of dyslexia?” people would scoff. “Don’t be ridiculous!”

Ron was unfazed. He knew that learning differences such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and autism came with associated challenges. But he also knew, that they brought real gifts and talents. So he put his genius dyslexic, autistic mind to work, creating life-changing programs for neurodiverse individuals, addressing the root cause of the challenges, and helping to unlock what he refers to as the ‘Seed of Genius’. The resulting programs include the Davis Autism Approach that is now offered worldwide, and has helped thousands of individuals and their families create lasting, positive change.

What if Ron’s mother had listened to the ‘experts’? He undoubtedly would have ended up in an institution and he would likely have never left. And all he has created and gifted to the world would never have come to exist.

Hans Asperger was once quoted as saying: “It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential.” Ron Davis is certainly living testament to this.

Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes, agrees. He states, “The necessary ingredient may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, from the simply practical, an ability to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways.”

The world needs neurodiversity to survive – and thrive.

Three things you can do today to support autistic individuals.

  1. Educate yourself on autism. Some great books to get you started are Autism and the Seeds of Change, Uniquely Human, NeuroTribes, and The Reason I Jump (now also a feature film).

  2. Talk to those you know who are neurodiverse, talk to their families. Ask the questions that matter: What are their strengths and challenges? What do they need in order to be supported?

  3. Gain further understanding of autism. Attend one of our sponsored webinars for free to dive a little deeper into the Davis perspective on autism.

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