Understanding Neurotypicality and Neurodivergence

Neurodivergence is a term used to describe individuals who have a less typical cognitive variation, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc. It is the opposite of neurotypical, which is used to describe someone who thinks and processes information in the way expected for their culture and environment. Neurodivergence is a concept that has been coined by the neurodiversity movement, which seeks to recognize and celebrate the full spectrum of brain differences. Neurotypical people may focus too much on material things or agree with social norms that can be hurtful or destructive to themselves or others.

They can also be someone without dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or other neurological differences. For at least 20% of the adult population in the United Kingdom, these differences mean that they are not considered “neurotypical” and can be diagnosed with neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Being neurotypical means thinking, processing information and behaving in ways that the general population considers normal or average. People who are neurotypical don't necessarily see themselves that way, but they generally recognize that day-to-day tasks and systems aren't something they have problems with.

They can generally deal with complex social situations, have good communication skills, establish social connections as friendships more easily, and can function in distracting or stimulating environments without being overwhelmed by stimuli. Neurotypical people also show the most common physical behaviors, such as being able to easily modulate their speaking volume depending on the situation and it is not distressing for them to maintain eye contact. People who are neurotypical develop skills, such as social or organizational skills, at approximately the same rate as other people their age. Sometimes a person may experience an overlap in what is considered neurodiverse and neurotypical; for example, a difficulty understanding mathematics but a typical or even early skill with language.

The terms neurodivergent and neurodivergence are now used to describe all people whose neurological conditions mean that they are not considered neurotypical. Neurodiversity is now more commonly used to refer to a group that spans the full spectrum of brain differences and is made up of both neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals.

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