Understanding Neurodiversity: Neurodivergent vs Neurodiverse

The term “neurodiverse individual” is incorrect. The correct term is “neurodivergent individual”, which is defined as someone whose neurological development and condition are atypical, generally considered abnormal or extreme. Neurodivergence was coined by the neurodiversity movement as the opposite of the neurotypical. Neurodiversity is an acknowledgment that not all brains think or feel the same way, and that these differences are natural variations of the human genome.

A group of people is neurodiverse, an individual is not. Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems that allow neurodivergent people to live their lives as they are, rather than being coerced or forced to adopt ideas of normality accepted without criticism or to conform to a clinical ideal. The terms neurodivergent and neurodivergence were coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, a multiple neurodivergent neurodiversity activist. Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that holds that various neurological conditions are the result of normal variations in the human genome.

The term “learning difference” is a term that has gained popularity, especially when talking to children about their difficulties, since it doesn't qualify them as “messy”. Author David Pollak views neurodiversity as an inclusive term that refers to the equality of all possible mental states. However, the language of neurodiversity is not yet used in a standard way, neither in the community, nor in practice, nor in research. Judy Singer coined the word “neurodiversity” more than two decades ago, and Kassiane Asasumasu (formerly Kassiane Sibley) gave us the term “neurodivergent”.

The term neurodiversity is used to describe a group of people, not an individual person, in which at least one or more people in the group have different styles of brain functioning or types of brain. The study found that part of non-cisgender identities could be related to having behavioral preferences of the opposite sex, but this could not explain the greater prevalence of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of human brains and the wide variety of individual differences in brain functioning. How a person chooses to identify themselves depends on them, and they should not be corrected or admonished if they choose not to use language that prioritizes identity.

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