Nedbels: Neurodiversity Between Law and Science

euThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie-Curie Grant.  



This research aims to inquire into the legal impacts and socio-political implications of the concept of Neurodiversity. This term pertains to individuals diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism and Dyslexia and hypothesizes the emergence of a new category of difference in the human population. Are “different” neurological conditions the new frontier of inequality and discrimination, at least in western societies? If neurosciences and research on brain cognition are progressively deepening the understanding of human functioning, the problem is how to better accommodate legal systems on the basis of these new assumptions. Thus, Nedbels explores how the concept of Neurodiversity challenges the constitutional principle of equality, as well as fosters the need to accommodate new principles in criminal and civil law.


Applied research fields and research methodology:

Nedbels is based on specific research methodology. Exploring legal implications and judicial dimensions of the concept of Neurodiversity implies acquiring concrete experience and up-to-date scientific data on neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as creating a profitable intellectual common ground with clinicians and scientists. This goal is achieved by emphasizing the importance of integrating the clinical perspective into the realm of law. Thus, interaction with scientists, clinicians, and health care actors, as well as individuals on the spectrum and family involved, is one of the core Nedbels features. One of its goals is to acquire an advanced understanding of general diagnostic process based on diagnostic battery tests, and brain scan technologies. Behavioral and cognitive aspects of neurodevelopemental disorders are also of major importance. Deepening the understanding of prevalence data of neurodevelopmental disorders in the general population is a precondition for developing reliable legal analysis.


This methodology is put into force through collaborations with two units of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF):

1) The ALBA Language Neurobiology Lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach based on latest scientific discovery to characterize the strengths and weaknesses with Dyslexia.

2) UCSF Star Center includes some of the nation’s top clinical experts and researchers working to develop treatments and health care strategies for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Andrea Lollini is actually operating as a Social Coach in Star Center’s treatment programs for young adults on ASD spectrum.

NEDBELS Facebook Page

Feature in Hastings Magazine

Andrea Lollini

Associated Professor
Comparative Constitutional Law
University of Bologna, Italy

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