Is neurodivergent the correct term?

There is no such thing as a “neurodiverse individual”. The correct term is “neurodivergent individual”. An individual can diverge, but an individual cannot be diverse. The opposite of neurotypical is neurodivergent, not neurodiverse.

One of the many positive and powerful things about neurodiversity is that the lexicon encompasses ways of capturing the individual differences between all of us (sources of neurodiversity) and recognizing the boundaries of categories (sources of neurodivergence) in a unified framework. In addition to their individual strengths, neurodivergent employees often have highly desirable skills and attributes. There is a long and depressing history in which the language used to describe neurodivergent people and people with disabilities has become an insult when associated with pre-existing stigma. While some people refer to themselves as neurodiverse people, the term “neurodiversity” is now more commonly used to refer to a group that spans the full spectrum of brain differences and is made up of neurodivergent and neurotypical people.

Neurodiversity training from The Brain Charity can help your workplace support neurodivergent employees and celebrate neurodiversity. Judy Singer coined the word “neurodiversity” more than two decades ago, and Kassiane Asasumasu (formerly Kassiane Sibley) gave us the term “neurodivergent”. The label is used by neurodivergent people and the neurodiversity community to refer to anyone who does not have a neurological condition, in particular autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. The terms neurodivergent and neurodivergence are now used to describe all people whose neurological conditions cause them not to be considered neurotypical.

The use of incorrect terminology can spread misinformation and biased views about neurodivergent people and also lead to greater alienation of those affected.

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