Understanding Neurodiversity and Neurodivergence

Neurodiversity and neurodivergence are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the range of human neurological variations, while neurodivergence is a term used to refer to an individual who has a less typical cognitive variation, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc. Neurodiversity does not mean “not neurotypical”; rather, it is the opposite of neurohomogeneous, meaning “composed of people who are all neurocognitively similar to each other”. Neurodiversity is not a single group or organization, and it does not have a leader.

It is a concept that was coined by sociologist Judy Singer in 1998 to recognize that each person's brain develops in a unique way. The Neurodiversity Movement is made up of a large number of people, some of them organized into groups of one kind or another. It is an idea that takes into account variations in the human brain with respect to learning, mood, attention, sociability and other mental functions that do not pathologize conditions. It is important to note that neurodiversity encompasses all differences and should not be used to mean “not neurotypical”. Neurodivergence refers to an individual who has a less typical cognitive variation.

It is important to recognize that while some people refer to themselves as neurodiverse, the term neurodivergent is more commonly used to refer to an individual who has a neurological condition such as autism, ADHD or dyslexia. Research by experts also shows that words and language related to neurodiversity make a difference in the way people live. People are individual and unique; just as not everyone feels the same way about having bodies, they don't feel the same way about everyone with different neurodivergent diagnoses. It is important to remember that neurotypical people are part of the spectrum of human neurodiversity and should not be viewed as intrinsically separated from the rest of humanity.

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