Neurodivergence is a relatively new term that refers to people who think differently than most people expect. This is known as being neurotypical, which is the opposite of neurodivergent. The concept of neurodiversity seeks to frame these differences in a more neutral way, and also highlights the different ways in which neurodivergence can be beneficial. Autism is an example of a spectrum disorder, meaning that cases range from mild to severe.
It used to have many subtypes, such as Asperger syndrome and generalized developmental disorder (PDD), but now all are classified as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD can affect a person's behavior and emotions. People with ADHD are often excellent problem solvers, energetic and fun, and sensitive to others. There are many books with neurodivergent main characters, such as Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Flowers For Algernon and On the Edge of Gone.
It is important to remember that not everyone feels the same way about having bodies, or about people with different neurodivergent diagnoses. 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. Neurodivergence is no longer seen as a problem or an anomaly; scientists now understand that it can have many benefits. People with neurodivergence may have different preferences when it comes to communication, so it is important for them to know this.
Masking their authentic personalities and traits can make them feel like they have no sense of self. This requires a lot of energy and can cause them to feel exhausted after social interactions. Neurodivergence is the term for people whose brains work differently in one or more ways than are considered standard or typical. It can be identified through diagnoses such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Tourette syndrome.
Masking themselves can protect them from discrimination, harassment, or from having their disability “revealed”. There are many ways in which thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses can be neurodivergent. Unfortunately, masking can also have an adverse effect on neurodivergent people; it can make them feel like a burden and increase the likelihood of having suicidal thoughts throughout their lives. If you self-identify as neurodivergent or fall into one of the categories included in neurodivergence and want support or for more information, contact Disability Services.