Understanding Neurodiversity: Is ADHD Considered Neurodiverse?

Neurodifferences, such as ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia, are increasingly recognized and appreciated as a social category similar to differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or ability. Neurodivergence is the term for people whose brains work differently in one or more ways than are considered standard or typical. Neurodiversity is the concept that these neurodifferences should be accepted and respected as a part of normal human variation. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition; its symptoms and associated behaviors and traits result from a person's brain developing differently during key developmental stages before birth or as a very young child.

It is increasingly recognized that, along with ADHD, a person may experience symptoms of other neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dyslexia and dyspraxia. The neurotypical brain is the standard or typical brain. People are described as neurodiverse when their thinking patterns, behaviors, or learning styles are outside of what is considered normal or neurotypical. 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.

The ADHD brain has been found to be structurally different from the neurotypical brain, which is part of the reason it is able to address problems that perplex others and seek solutions that no one else saw. In addition, because people don't get out of autism, ADHD, learning difficulties, or Tourette syndrome, children with neurodiversity become neurodiverse adults, many of whom are quite capable of defending themselves. Once considered a problem or an anomaly, scientists now understand that neurodivergence can have many benefits. The concept of neurodiversity has become popular because the definitions of terms such as the autism spectrum, ADHD and learning disabilities (some of the challenges most commonly associated with neurodiversity) were and continue to change.

In the late 1990s, Judy Singer coined the term 'neurodiversity' to refer to conditions such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia. The neurodiverse population includes people with specific diagnoses that are considered developmental disorders (as opposed to intellectual disabilities or mental illness). It's OK to declare that you're a member of MENSA but don't be reckless or stupid and reveal that ADD or ADHD are the driving force behind it. You're absolutely neurodivergent if you've been diagnosed with a developmental or learning disorder such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Tourette syndrome.

Many autistic people feel that their autism is a strength and so do people with diagnoses such as ADHD or dyslexia.

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