Understanding Neurodiversity: What Diagnoses Are Considered Neurodiverse?

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the range of differences in the way people think, learn, and interact. It includes people with specific diagnoses that are considered developmental disorders, such as ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, and dyslexia. Neurodifferences are recognized and appreciated as a social category similar to differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or capacity. People with ADHD may have high levels of spontaneity, courage, and empathy, but they may also focus too much on certain tasks. The concept of neurodiversity has become increasingly attractive to those who consider themselves to be neurodivergent (often those with specific diagnoses) and to those who write about, talk about, and work directly with them.

It is also possible to consider yourself neurodivergent if you don't have a diagnosis but think, behave, or interact in ways that are out of the ordinary. Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are not usually included in the definitions of neurodivergence. Neurodivergence is often first recognized as the result of a diagnosis, but it can exist with or without one. People with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Tourette syndrome can benefit from certain adaptations that help them cope. However, many autistic people feel that their autism is a strength, and the same is true for people with diagnoses such as ADHD or dyslexia. If you've been diagnosed with a developmental or learning disorder such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Tourette syndrome, then you are absolutely neurodivergent.

It is also possible to be neurodiverse without a diagnosis if you think, behave, or interact in ways that are out of the ordinary.

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