Is neurodiversity a term?

While everyone's brain develops in a similar way, no two brains work the same way. Being neurodivergent means having a brain that works differently from that of an average or “neurotypical” person. Judy Singer, a sociologist who has autism, began using the term neurodiversity in the late 1990s. It refers to the concept that certain developmental disorders are normal variations of the brain.

And people who have these characteristics also have certain strengths. Neurodiversity is a view that brain differences are normal, not deficits. The neurodiversity movement emerged during the 1990s, with the goal of increasing the acceptance and inclusion of all people and, at the same time, accepting neurological differences. At the same time, Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term neurodiversity to promote the equality and inclusion of neurological minorities.

The terms “neurodivergent” and “neurodivergence” were coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, a neurodiversity activist characterized by multiple neurodivergence. Medical experts and people with neurodiverse characteristics don't always agree on what neurodiversity means. Hear an expert talk about what neurodiversity means and how it applies to children who think and learn differently. Knowledge about neurodiversity and respectful language are also important for doctors, so that they can address the mental and physical health of people with neurodevelopmental differences.

The word neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions, such as ADHD or learning difficulties. While this is primarily a movement for social justice, research and education on neurodiversity are increasingly important to the way doctors view and address certain neurological disabilities and conditions. Neurodiversity advocates suggest that too much attention is paid to the deficiencies that accompany conditions such as ADHD. That's the basic idea of neurodiversity: that differences shouldn't be considered just as weaknesses.

It is important that we all promote an environment that favors neurodiversity and that we recognize and emphasize the individual strengths and talents of each person and, at the same time, support their differences and needs. Understanding and embracing neurodiversity in communities, schools, healthcare settings, and workplaces can improve the inclusion of all people. It is important not to draw dividing lines between “neurotypical” people and neurodivergent people: human neurodiversity is a very complex spectrum in which everyone can be found. Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no right way to think, learn, and behave, and differences are not considered deficits.

If the modern workplace embraces the concept of neurodiversity, Santuzzi believes that could alleviate some of the stigma and stress affecting these workers. And although there is a distinction between neurodiversity and disability, right now some people want to preserve the identity of the disability to recognize that the work and school environment has not yet adapted, Santuzzi says.

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