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Neurodiversity

What is Neurodiversity?

Jody Singer, an Australian sociologist, first used the term “Neurodiversity” in her 1988 thesis, a term later popularized in Robert Blume’s article in The Atlantic:

“Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?”

Robert Blume

Some Basic Definitions

Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is a term referring to the diversity of human minds/brains. And identifies this as a natural part of biological diversity.

Neurodiversity is simply just another form of human diversity. Neurodiversity is a biological fact. It is a natural, valuable, and beneficial part of human evolution. Everyone has a unique brain and therefore different skills, abilities, and needs.

Neurodiverse

Describes the neurodiversity and variation in people. Neurodiverse is typically used to describe neurodivergent people.

Neurodivergent

A person can be neurodivergent, meaning they deviate from the neuro-normative or neurotypical majority. ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism are all examples of neurodivergence. A person can have an innate (from birth) neurodivergence or acquired (such as from a brain injury).

There is no “Normal” brain

The idea that there is one “normal” or “right” brain is a social construct. There are diverse forms of processing social information, cognitions and sensory information. In the same way that there isn’t a “right” gender, race, class, or sexual orientation, there isn’t a “right” way for the brain to be wired. Neurodiversity can be a powerful asset for society, a business, a relationship, or a family.

Moving from “Cure” to “Embrace”

Neurodivergence doesn’t intrinsically cause suffering; much of the struggle and strain comes from navigating a world that can be overwhelming on a sensory, social, and cognitive level.

Emphasis shifts from trying to “cure” neurodivergent individuals to helping neurodivergent individuals embrace their diversity. Therapists should work with neurodivergent individuals to find ways of living that are more in sync with their natural neurological wiring and help them to heal from internalised ableism and oppression. We are moving away from the idea of teaching ‘social skills’, and actually trying to help neurodivergent people unmask and embrace themselves.

Types of Neurodivergent Conditions:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Tourette’s
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Brain Injury
  • Epilepsy
  • OCD
  • Dysgraphia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Hyperlexia
  • Irlen Syndrome
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Down Syndrome
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment

Are you Neurodivergent?