Neurodiversity is a concept thats been around since the late 1990’s. It was developed by a sociologist named Judy Singer who described herself as “somewhere on the spectrum”. It was her, that had led to the neurodiversity movement we see today, that celebrates variations of the human brain.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is based on science. We know from brain imaging studies that there are differences between people who learn and think differently, compared to their peers. Those differences show how brains can be ‘wired differently’ and how it creates different behaviours and different ways of thinking.
The neurodiversity view celebrates that these differences are normal and should be celebrated in education, the workplace and wider society.
Where does neurodiversity come from?
We mentioned at the start about where the origins of neurodiversity lie, but who actually is Judy Singer? Singer is a sociologist that rejected the idea that autistic people were actually disabled. She believed their brains just worked differently from other people, who we now call ‘neurotypicals’. The term was quickly embraced by the autistic community and now what we know to be the ‘neurodivergent’ community which has created the global neurodiversity movement.
The neurodiversity movement emphasises that the goal shouldn’t be to ‘cure’ people who’s brain work differently, but instead celebrate them and their different contributions.
What are the types of neurodiversity?
There are six main types of neurodiversity:
- Autistic Spectrum (ASD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
- Development Coordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)
- Tourettes Syndrome.
Who is neurodivergent, neurodiverse and neurotypical?
- Neurodivergent refers to a person and who is diagnosed, or identifies as being a type of neurodiversity, mentioned above.
- Neurodiverse refers to a group of people where some of the members of that group are neurodivergent.
- Neurotypical on the other hand, is the opposite of neurodivergent and relates to someone who is ‘neurologically typical’ – within the typical (average) range for human neurology. The term neurotypical was created within the autistic community as a way to refer to non-autistic people.
What is the neurodiversity movement?
The neurodiversity movement is a movement focused around social justice that seeks civil rights, equality, respect and inclusion
What is the neurodiversity paradigm?
The neurodiversity movement states that there is no single, perfect way the brain should be. Diversity of minds and our brains is necessary for us to flourish, as different ways of thinking can bring new ideas and changes to society.
Neurodivergent people should be accepted for who they are and that challenges neurodivergent people face aren’t related to their behaviours or how they think differently, but instead how we as people interact and create our world around this ‘perfect’ brain type.