What Does it Mean to be Neurodivergent?

The term “neurodivergent” is used to describe people whose brain differences affect their functioning. This includes medical disorders, learning disabilities, and other conditions. Neurodiversity is a movement that seeks to frame these differences in a more neutral way and also highlights the different ways in which neurodivergence can be beneficial. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder because cases range from mild to severe, and it is now classified as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

People with ADHD are often excellent problem solvers, can be energetic and fun, and are often sensitive to others. Fiction books with neurodivergent main characters include Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Flowers For Algernon and On the Edge of Gone. Someone who is neurodivergent behaves, thinks and learns differently compared to those who are neurotypical. This term can be used to describe an individual whose brain works differently from what we consider “normal”. This includes people with autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, dyslexia, and a variety of other neurodiverse conditions.

A neurodivergent person is defined as someone whose neurological development and condition are atypical, generally considered abnormal or extreme. The term was coined in the neurodiversity movement as opposed to neurotypical. A relatively new term, neurodivergent simply means someone who thinks differently than most people expect. 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. If you want to diversify your social media feed with neurodivergent voices and advocates, some of the main options to follow are Neurodivergent Activist, Nurturing Neurodiversity, Paige Layle and The Chronic Couple. Since the idea of neurodivergence has grown to encompass a variety of consistent ways in which some brains work differently than others, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are many different ways in which neurodivergence is manifested. At work, it's not hard to imagine how insympathetic co-workers could lead neurodivergent people to feel isolated or even ridiculed or harassed, or how insympathetic managers could contribute to stress and anxiety regarding job performance and job safety.

Autistic people and people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and similar conditions are sometimes identified as neurodivergent. Once considered a problem or an anomaly, scientists now understand that neurodivergence can have many benefits. Like the general term neurodiversity, the word neurodivergent was also coined by sociologist Judy Singer. While neurodivergence is common, many people don't realize they are neurodivergent until they reach adulthood. The word “neurodiverse” refers to a group of people in which some members of that group are neurodivergent. We often view neurodiversity as a social justice movement that focuses on celebrating neurodivergence along with cultural diversity.

The results of these questionnaires don't count as a diagnosis but you can take the results to your doctor to help explain why you think you may be neurodivergent. Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems (such as services focused on inclusion, adaptations, communication and assistance technologies, vocational training, and support for independent living) that allow neurodivergent people to live their lives as they are rather than being coerced or compelled to adopt uncritically accepted ideas of normality or to conform to a clinical ideal. The neurotypical is a descriptor that refers to someone who has the functions, behaviors, and processing of the brain considered standard or typical. It also teaches you how to know if you are neurodivergent and describes what it is to be neurodivergent.

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