As society continues to evolve, we adopt and use more terminology that helps us embrace and celebrate the diverse world we live in. One aspect of this diversity is neurodiversity, a concept that has gained recognition and importance in recent years. However, understanding the terminology and significance behind neurodiversity can be a complex journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore neurodiversity and the terms associated with it. 

Neurodiversity is a term coined in the 1990s by sociologist Judy Singer, to advocate for the acceptance and celebration of neurological differences in the same way that diversity in other areas, such as race and gender, is acknowledged and embraced.  

At its core, neurodiversity is the concept that neurological differences, such as autism or ADHD, are natural variations in the human brain. Just like our bodies can come in all shapes and sizes, neurodiversity acknowledges our brains can grow and work in many ways. The idea is that there is no “normal” or “typical” way of the brain working, and everyone’s unique brain is valuable.  

When we talk about someone being neurodivergent, we’re referring to a person whose brain develops and functions in ways that are different than what society would consider “typical.” That might mean someone learns differently than their classmates or how they communicate with others may not be what some people are used to. A neurodivergent person may identify as being on the autism spectrum, having ADHD or dyslexia. It’s important to note that neurodivergent people possess unique strengths and talents that can contribute immensely to society. Their diverse perspectives and ways of thinking can lead to innovation, problem-solving, and enhanced creativity. 

The term neurodiverse serves as an umbrella concept, encompassing the wide array of neurological conditions found within the world. This includes both neurodivergent and neurotypical people. For example, a person who identifies as neurodivergent is part of a neurodiverse community, such as a classroom. A person can be neurodivergent, while neurodiverse refers to the collective variations in neurological functioning across a group. 

One of the key ideas behind neurodiversity is the belief that everyone should be accepted, valued, and appreciated, regardless of their neurological makeup. Instead of looking to “fix” or get rid of neurodivergent traits, the neurodiversity movement advocates for understanding, accommodation, and support. By embracing neurodiversity, we can foster an environment that encourages the development and well-being of all people.  

Our differences are what make us unique and what make us human. In a world where diversity is celebrated and appreciated, neurodiversity takes its rightful place as an essential piece of the puzzle.   

Thought Leadership

Gaining Understanding: What is Neurodiversity?