Understanding Neurodivergence: What is it and Who Does it Affect?

Neurodivergence is a term used to describe a variety of conditions related to cognitive abilities. It is often used to refer to people who have a developmental disorder or mental illness, such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or Tourette syndrome. Neurodivergence can also be caused by exposure to certain medications in the womb or as a result of physical or emotional injury. The concept of neurodiversity has been gaining traction in recent years, with more people recognizing that neurodivergent individuals have unique strengths and abilities that should be celebrated and supported.

Neurodivergent self-advocates, students, and employees can benefit from adaptations that help them show their strengths and use them to their advantage. The first step in understanding neurodivergence is to talk to your healthcare provider. It is important for people who are neurodivergent to know that they may have different preferences when it comes to communication. People who learn that they are different, but not sick or flawed, are more likely to be happier and aim higher in their careers.

Experts believe that several successful historical figures were neurodivergent based on the evidence of their lives. For example, Albert Einstein was thought to have had ADHD, while Isaac Newton was thought to have had Asperger's Syndrome. It is also possible for people to become neurodivergent over time due to certain long-term conditions. For example, ADHD Aware states that schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder may ultimately become part of the concept of neurodivergence or neurodiversity.

Regardless of whether it is identified as neurodivergent or not, it is important for people to know that systems or processes may pose new or more intense challenges for those who are neurodivergent. It is essential for employers and educators to work with neurodivergent individuals and offer adaptations while supporting and promoting individual strengths and abilities.

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