Top Terms You Didn’t Know
By Caroline Garrett, Service Navigator
If you’re involved in the developmental disability community, you have probably come across the term neurodiversity, and related terms like neurodivergent or neurotypical. You may wonder, “What do these words mean? What does neurodiversity have to do with disability? Am I neurodiverse?”
Neurodiversity refers to the variation in how human brains work. There are broad differences in how people think, process information, communicate and express themselves, and more. Some of these differences may be diagnosed as developmental disabilities like autism, ID, ADHD, learning disabilities, and so on.
The neurodiversity paradigm is an approach that views these differences as natural and valuable. However, a neurodiversity approach doesn’t mean these diagnoses are not disabilities! Instead, neurodiversity respects the fact that everyone’s brain works differently and embraces the unique ways that we all can contribute to and participate in the world around us.
The neurodiversity movement is a social justice movement that centers around the civil rights of neurodivergent people.
A neurodivergent person is someone whose brain thinks, processes information, and communicates outside of society’s expectations. Neurodivergent people may have diagnoses such as autism, ID, ADHD, a learning disability, and so on.
A neurotypical person is someone whose brain thinks, processes information, and communicates within society’s expectations.
Neurodiverse refers to a group of people whose minds represent neurological diversity! A group of people that includes an autistic person, someone who has ADHD, two neurotypical people, and someone who has dyslexia would be neurodiverse. Everyone is neurodiverse because together, we all contribute to neurodiversity!