What is Neurodiversity?

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Medically: Any neurodevelopmental condition causing variation in the wiring of the developing brain (e.g. autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette's and other learning differences), resulting in an individual's different perceptions of thought and learning abilities.

Socially: variation in behavioral traits and brain function that are accommodated by society, not the other way around.

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Neurodiversity is...
  • A neurodevelopmental disorder causing structural differences in the brain.

  • A result of natural variation within the human brain. 

  • Stronger perception of thought, sense, and ability. 

  • Heightened creativity and processing abilities compared to neurotypical individuals. 

  • A unique identity that bestows empathy, creative thinking, passion, dedication, and diversity

  • Empowering

  • A competitive edge to be respected and embraced

  • An explanation

Neurodiversity is not...
  • Not something to be ashamed of 

  • Not something that needs to be "cured"

  • Not stupidity, inferiority, or laziness 

  • Not the result of bad parenting or laziness

  • Not something that the individual has to change in order to fit in with society

  • Not an "excuse"

  • Not a mental illness

  • Not a "choice"

How do I define Neurodiversity?

Below are some definitions neurodiverse individuals have come up with:

Neurodiversity Strenghts
What is Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity Strenghts

Common neurodiverse/neurodevelopmental conditions

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities, such as
    • Dyslexia​
    • Dysgraphia
    • Dyscalculia
    • NVLD (Nonverbal Learning Disability)
    • General Learning Disability
  • Dyspraxia
  • Tourette's
  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • VPD (Visual Processing Disorder)
  • APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) 
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy

Terminology: Neurodiverse vs Neuroatypical vs Neurotypical

The terms neurodiverse or neurodivergent refer to those with neurodevelopmental disorders that cause neurological differences (e.g. physical, structural differences in the brain), such as the conditions listed above: ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, dyspraxia, Tourette's, OCD, VPD, and APD, intellectual disabilities, and cerebral palsy.

Neurodiverse brains generally develop at different rates than neurotypical brains and can cause differences in or greater difficulty with learning, coordination, social interaction, or speech. 

 

Note: The terms "neurodiverse" or "neurodivergent" do not apply to psychiatric/mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, as those result from chemical imbalances rather than physical structural differences in the brain. 

Neuroatypical applies to individuals with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders or schizophrenia. Unlike neurodevelopmental disorders, mental health conditions are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain rather than structural differences. They can usually be treated or assisted with medication. 

The term neurotypical applies to individuals who do not have any mental health conditions or neurodevelopmental disorders and develop/perform at a rate typically expected of their age.