Neurodivergence and neurotypicality are terms used to describe the way in which people perceive and understand the world around them. Neurodivergent refers to those who have a less typical cognitive variation, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc. On the other hand, neurotypical is a descriptor that refers to someone who has the functions, behaviors, and processing of the brain considered standard or typical. It is important to understand the differences between these two terms in order to better understand how people interact with each other and their environment.
The term neurodivergent was coined in the neurodiversity movement as opposed to neurotypical; previously, the term neurodiversity was sometimes applied to individuals for this purpose. Neurodiversity suggests that too much attention is paid to the deficiencies that come with conditions such as ADHD. It can be compared to terms such as race, culture, class and gender, and is useful for describing people with different characteristics and behaviors of neurodevelopmental conditions along with the “neurotypical majority” without prejudice. Neurotypical people generally have good communication skills and can easily deal with complex social situations.
They can establish social connections such as friendships more easily and can work in environments that distract or stimulate without being overwhelmed by stimuli. Many aspects of society are based on the assumption that there is a form of “human mind” and, consequently, many systems (education, employment, social and health services, social relations) have been built on the premise of being neurotypical. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition; that is, 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. 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.
It is also common for neurodevelopmental conditions to be misdiagnosed as mental illness due to lack of awareness. Neurotypical people show the most common physical behaviors such as being able to easily modulate their speaking volume depending on the situation and it is not distressing for them to maintain eye contact. If you've never been diagnosed with any of the above terms and you've never felt like you had any symptoms, it's likely neurotypical. Understanding the differences between neurotypicality and neurodivergence can help us better understand how people interact with each other and their environment. It can also help us recognize when someone may be experiencing an overlap in what is considered neurodiverse and neurotypical. Being aware of these terms can help us create more inclusive systems that are better suited for everyone.