Understanding Neurodiversity: Conditions, Prevalence, and Approaches

ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, and dyslexia are all neurodiverse conditions that fall within the spectrum of “neurodiversity”. This concept recognizes that brain function and behavioral traits are simply indicators of the diversity of the human population. Neurodiversity is the idea that it is normal and acceptable for people to have brains that work differently from one another. It is a social justice movement that seeks to understand and appreciate these differences, rather than thinking that there is something wrong or problematic when some people don't act in a similar way to others.

Acquired neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and Alzheimer's disease, can also cause neurodivergence. Autism is a broad set of conditions that can include challenges with social and social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech difficulties that can lead people to communicate only non-verbally. Self-harm behaviors, speech and language deficiencies, or other co-occurring health conditions may also be included in this term. Research and education on neurodiversity are increasingly important in the way doctors view and address certain disabilities and neurological conditions.

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. People who are identified as neurodivergent usually have one or more of the conditions or disorders listed below: ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyspraxia, dyslexia, schizophrenia, OCD, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorder, bipolar disorder, intellectual disabilities, mental health conditions, acquired brain injuries. The exact number of people who are neurodivergent is unknown but the prevalence of conditions related to neurodiversity may indicate how common it can be. Proponents of neurodiversity suggest that too much attention is paid to the deficiencies that come with conditions such as ADHD.

Similarly, autism spectrum disorder is a condition that can take many different forms, many of which occur in people who don't have ASD. We recognize that any neurocognitive profile that is not “neurotypical” could be included as a minority group. Neurodiversity approaches can be applied to non-harmful or adaptive autistic traits as well as medical conditions that need treatment. It is important to understand and appreciate these differences in order to create an inclusive society where everyone can thrive.

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