Understanding Neurodivergence: What Does it Mean and How Can We Support It?

The term neurodivergence has been used to refer to any structured and consistent way in which the brain works differently for a group of people than for most others. This includes people who are diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Tourette syndrome, as well as those who don't have a diagnosis but think, behave, or interact in ways that are out of the ordinary. Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems that allow neurodivergent people to live their lives as they are, rather than being coerced or compelled to adopt ideas of normality accepted without criticism or to conform to a clinical ideal. The neurodiversity movement advocates the idea that our brains are different and that everyone (whether neurotypical or neurodivergent) should be treated equally by people, the workplace and external environments. Being neurodivergent should not be considered an inherent deficit, but simply a difference in processing the world around us.

People who are neurodivergent and learn that that means they're different, aren't sick or have flaws, are more likely to be happier and aspire higher in their careers. Some of the most popular spaces are on view, with neurodiverging communities, groups and information sharing on some of the most popular websites and social media platforms. Several large national and international corporations have hiring processes that can adapt to neurodivergent people. However, since there is no medical criterion or definition of what it means to be neurodivergent, other conditions may also be included in this term. Over time, some long-term conditions that people consider psychological, such as schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder, may ultimately become part of the concept of neurodivergence or neurodiversity. Autistic people and people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and similar conditions are sometimes identified as neurodivergent.

Some other conditions, such as schizophrenia, OCD, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorder, and bipolar disorder can also be classified as a form of neurodivergence. Some neurodivergent people struggle because of systems or processes that don't give them the opportunity to show their strengths or that pose new or more intense challenges. There are several online spaces where groups of neurodivergent people meet, exchange information, discuss their experiences and difficulties, and offer advice and resources to each other. 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.

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