Understanding Neurodiversity: Does ADHD Fall Under It?

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the natural variations in the way our brains think, feel and learn. It is a recognition that not all brains are the same and that these differences should be appreciated and accepted. Neurodiversity includes conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other neurodivergent conditions. People with ADHD have high levels of spontaneity, courage and empathy, but may also focus too much on certain tasks.

The neurodiversity movement advocates for equal treatment of all people, regardless of whether they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. The self-identifying label “neurodivergent” was originally used to describe autistic people, but has since been used to refer to those who think, behave and learn differently from what is typical in society. Neurodivergence should not be seen as an inherent deficit, but simply as a difference in processing the world around us. ADHD is a difference in the way the brain is connected and is hereditary.

It is generally visible in children from age six and can affect academic or professional performance. Intelligence is not affected by ADHD or any of the associated learning difficulties. It is important for people to know that neurodivergent individuals may have different preferences when it comes to communication. Respect their wishes when they request something to be communicated in writing or specify their needs and preferences.

Openly discuss the differences in processing and thinking and consider how your work can be accessible to all members of the group. If you identify yourself as neurodivergent or fall into one of the categories included in neurodivergence and would like support or more information, contact Disability Services. For many adults, discovering that they have ADHD, autism, or another form of neurodivergence often helps explain things they didn't understand before about themselves.

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