What is a neurodivergence that isn't autism?

Other types of neurodivergence include Tourette syndrome, dyspraxia, synesthesia, dyscalculia, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and chronic mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. The terms neurodivergent and neurodiverse refer to people whose thinking patterns, behaviors, or learning styles are outside of what is considered normal or neurotypical. On the contrary, research shows that people who know the idea of being neurodivergent use that knowledge to adapt and succeed. Experts also believe that several prominent historical figures were neurodivergent based on the evidence of their lives. However, because there are no medical criteria or definitions of what it means to be neurodivergent, other conditions may also be included in this term.

While a healthcare professional may be able to diagnose a condition that causes neurodivergence, there is no official test that can detect it. That same article pointed out that several of the main national and international companies have hiring processes that can be adapted to neurodivergent people. However, learning about types of neurodivergence through reputable online resources can be helpful, especially if you think you're neurodivergent, and some people in the neurodivergent community encourage self-diagnosis. Neurodivergent people have different brain function from what Western medicine considers common or neurotypical.

You can also choose to describe yourself as neurodivergent if you are diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, although mental illness is not usually included in the definitions 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. Sometimes, you'll find that people use labels like “low functional” or “very functional” to describe a neurodivergent person. While it's true that some neurodivergent people may need more support than others, functional terms are problematic because they make value judgments about human beings and suggest that some are more valuable members of society than others.

Neurodivergent people can be very different from each other, making it difficult to provide a single list of useful adaptations. Describing neurodivergence can be difficult because standard medical diagnoses of neurodivergence are based on the identification of problems. Neurodivergence encompasses the idea that differences in the human brain are natural and, in many cases, can lead to meaningful and positive knowledge and skills. Because they are not considered to be like other people, neurodivergent people may have difficulty adapting socially, behaving as expected, or easily adapting to changes.

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