Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), located in northern Virginia in the D.C. metropolitan area, announced that it will be hiring three “neurodiversity specialists” to help its K-12 students.
FCPS Board Chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer said that the hiring will help students like her own son in order to get FCPS to “look at people with disabilities as their disabilities first.” Sizemore Heizer added, “No one was talking about this in K–12 … I think this is a way we can lead the nation, and I’m excited that my colleagues on the board were very supportive in adding a neurodiversity specialist in our budget.”
One of the new hires, Kristen Haynor, claimed this move “could truly transform our educational system as we know it today.”
Neurodiverse people, according to Haynor, are people whose brain works in a different way when it comes to reading, behaving, or thinking. She said that FCPS’s approach to neurodiversity is “very progressive” because “if we look at our public school system as a garden, we have created a system where one thrives and the others just survive.” Haynor claimed about 1 in every 5 people have a form of neurodivergence.
ABC 7 News reported the news.
But news like this is a reminder that public education tends to be inflexible and monolithic. For those with learning disabilities or special needs, it may take too long before necessary changes, reforms, or innovations to help the students who need it most.