“And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane by those
who could not hear the music.”
The Foundation is guided by the idea of supporting and promoting neurodiversity. We are particularly focused on strengthening the social position of atypical persons, as they often find that it is impossible for them to pursue their everyday life goals and use their individual predispositions because of their psychological characteristics. We believe that one of the important barriers for such persons in developing their potential is the fact that this very potential is only too often overlooked by society and, as a result, underutilised.
The situation of atypical persons does not meet with widespread understanding. Likewise, the level of knowledge about this issue among general public is rather limited and largely one-sided. It mainly focuses on aspects related to mental disabilities, such as emotional instability, cognitive deficits, or invalidization in private and social life. The issue manifests itself on many levels, such as the image of atypical people presented in the media and education sector, or the existence of stigmatizing language and discriminatory legal regulations. In most cases, this excessive pathologization leads to harmful individual effects such as suffering, feeling shame, or anxiety, as well as social exclusion of individuals who otherwise might prove valuable to society.
We believe that social awareness should not only acknowledge the mental difficulties of atypical persons, but also focus on their valuable qualities. Research performed in the area of neurodiversity proves that such persons, if in favourable conditions, are characterized not only by an ability to develop their potential in the context of everyday social relations, but that they often exhibit above-average abilities in various areas of functioning, such as creativity, innovation, cognitive and emotional intelligence, self-awareness, or the ability to empathize.1,2,3,4 History knows a lot of atypical people who significantly contributed to the development of Western civilization: interdisciplinary biographical analyses indicate that atypical individuals included Isaac Newton, Amadeus Mozart, Charles Darwin, Emily Dickinson, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sylvia Plath, Stanley Kubrick and many others.5,6 However, the awareness that they had to struggle with psychological difficulties, and that often their achievements were in fact related to those difficulties, is not that common.
Therefore, by “atypicality” we also mean the expanded awareness and above-average abilities, which often are defined by concepts such as inspiration, mystical experiences, genius, or “mundus adiumens” and they often coexist with what we call mental disorders or diseases, such as depression, the autism spectrum, ADHD, bipolar affective disorder, or schizophrenia.
As the Foundation, we would like to contribute to creating more enabling conditions for the development of atypical persons through the widest possible social education. We believe that the perspective of neurodiversity which emphasizes these persons’ potential, is going to significantly complement the picture of mental health as it is commonly understood in our society. No matter how trivial this may sound, the awareness of how different and diverse people can be, is still very low and a lot remains to be done in this regard. We would like to focus our activities on changing the perception of atypical people, improving discriminatory regulations and changing the language used, popularizing scientific research, introducing programs which promote inclusion of mental diversity in the education system and workplaces, and creating a space in which these persons could be better understood, as well as better understand and accept themselves. To this end, we plan to utilise such platforms as e.g. publishing, workshops, and media. We believe that our activities are going to prove beneficial not only for atypical persons and their relatives, but also for the society.
1 MacCabe, J. H. et al. (2010) ‘Excellent school performance at age 16 and risk of adult bipolar disorder: National cohort study’,
British Journal of Psychiatry. doi: 10.1192/bjp. bp.108.060368.
2 Cao, Y. et al. (2017) ‘Low mood leads to increased empathic distress at seeing others’ pain’, Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02024.
3 de Manzano, 0. et al. (2010) ‘Thinking outside a less intact box: Thalamic dopamine D2 receptor densities are negatively related to psychometric creativity in healthy individuals’, PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010670
4 Crespi, B. J. (2016) ‘Autism as a disorder of high intelligence’,
Frontiers in Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00300.
5 Dieguez, S. (2011). , Artist’s afflictions. How sickness influences creativity’. Belin / Pour la Science