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Neurodivergent is quite a broad term. Neurodivergence (the state of being neurodivergent) can be largely or entirely genetic and innate, or it can be largely or entirely produced by brain-altering experience, or some combination of the two. AutismAutistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If... More and dyslexiaDyslexia is a genetic, brain-based characteristic that results in difficulty connecting the sounds of spoken language to written words. It can result in errors in reading or spelling as well... More are examples of innate forms of neurodivergence, while alterations in brain functioning caused by such things as traumaIn expanding our definitions of trauma, we must make sure we see trauma as a structural issue, not just an individual one. Scholars now recognize what people from marginalized communities... More, long-term meditation practice, or heavy usage of psychedelic drugs are examples of forms of neurodivergence produced through experience.
A person whose neurocognitive functioning diverges from dominant societal norms in multiple ways – for instance, a person who is AutisticAutistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If... More, dyslexicDyslexia is a genetic, brain-based characteristic that results in difficulty connecting the sounds of spoken language to written words. It can result in errors in reading or spelling as well... More, and epileptic – can be described as multiply neurodivergent.
Some forms of innate or largely innate neurodivergence, like autism, are intrinsic and pervasive factors in an individual’s psyche, personality, and fundamental way of relating to the world. The neurodiversityNeurodiversity is the diversity of human minds, the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodiversity is a biological fact. It’s not a perspective, an approach, a... More paradigm rejects the pathologizing of such forms of neurodivergence, and the Neurodiversity Movement opposes attempts to get rid of them.NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS
Other forms of neurodivergence, like epilepsy or the effects of traumaticIn expanding our definitions of trauma, we must make sure we see trauma as a structural issue, not just an individual one. Scholars now recognize what people from marginalized communities... More brain injuries, could be removed from an individual without erasing fundamental aspects of the individual’s selfhood, and in many cases the individual would be happy to be rid of such forms of neurodivergence. The neurodiversity paradigm does not reject the pathologizing of these forms of neurodivergence, and the Neurodiversity Movement does not object to consensual attempts to cure them (but still most definitely objects to discrimination against people who have them).
Thus, neurodivergence is not intrinsically positive or negative, desirable or undesirable – it all depends on what sort of neurodivergence one is talking about.
The terms neurodivergent and neurodivergence were coined in the year 2000 by Kassiane Asasumasu, a multiply neurodivergent neurodiversity activist.NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS
The language of neurodiversity has now been with us for some time. Judy Singer coined the word “neurodiversity” more than two decades ago, and Kassiane Asasumasu (formerly Kassiane Sibley) gave us the term “neurodivergent”º. However, the language of neurodiversity is still not being used in a standard way, neither in the communityWhat I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/... More, nor in practice, nor in research.
One particular mis-usage – at least in my opinion, is the word “neurodiverse” to describe a single individual. For example, a teacher might ask for “any advice for supporting a neurodiverse pupil in my class?” or a parent might say that they are “proud of my neurodiverse son”.
These examples are incorrect on a basic linguistic / grammatical level. Diversity is a property of groups. It requires variability between things. You only have a diverse range of herbs in your cupboard if you have lots of differentOur friends and allies at Randimals have a saying, What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.Randimals We agree. Randimals are made up of two different animals... More ones. Lovage is not “diverse” while parsley is “typical”. “Diverse” is not a synonym for “rare”. Rather, lovage, basil, thyme and parsley make up a diverse group of herbs.
Therefore, instead of referring to an individual as neurodiverse we should describe them as neurodivergent.* The image below summarises this more eloquently than I ever could – with thanks to @scrappapertiger
Let’s think about ethnic diversity for a moment. This is a concept that should bring people together but has instead reinforced existing prejudices through misuse.^ Ethnic diversity is a property of the whole human race, but all too often white people use both the word “ethnic”, and the word “diverse” to refer exclusively to people of colour. Consider phrases such as “the diversity hire” to describe a non-white person employed in a majority-white company. While at least a dictionary definition of “ethnic” includes reference to being in a culturally-distinct minority, there’s no such excuse for “diverse”.
What we see when someone from a majority group (neurotypicalThe existence of the word neurotypical makes it possible to have conversations about topics like neurotypical privilege. Neurotypical is a word that allows us to talk about members of the... More people, white people in the UK) uses “diverse” to mean “unusual” is an eradication of the ethnicity or neurotype of the speaker. They do not class themselves as a part of diversity because they do not recognise the relative unusual-ness of their own identity. Instead, they think of themselves as “normal” and hence everyone else as “diverse”. The desire to other is strong enough to overcome the fundamental meanings of the words in question.
Of course, none of this is meant to instruct individuals how they should identify personally. The language of neurodiversity might not be right for you, or your loved ones. There is often value in using more specific language – such as “I am dyslexic” or “I have ADHDADHD or what I prefer to call Kinetic Cognitive Style (KCS) is another good example. (Nick Walker coined this alternative term.) The name ADHD implies that Kinetics like me have... More” – but in any case everyone is entitled to their own preference. If you do choose to use the language of neurodiversity, however, let’s try to get it right and avoid repeating the mistakes that have been made in the past.Neurodiverse or Neurodivergent? It’s more than just grammar – DART
I coined neurodivergent before tumblr was even a thing, like a decade or more ago, because people were using ‘neurodiverse’ and ‘neurodiversity’ to just mean autistic, & possibly LDs. But there’s more, like way more, ways a person can have a different yet fucking perfect dammit brain.
Neurodivergent refers to neurologically divergent from typical. That’s ALL.
I am multiply neurodivergent: I’m Autistic, epileptic, have PTSDIn expanding our definitions of trauma, we must make sure we see trauma as a structural issue, not just an individual one. Scholars now recognize what people from marginalized communities... More, have cluster headaches, have a chiari malformation.
Neurodivergent just means a brain that diverges.
Autistic people. ADHD people. People with learning disabilities. Epileptic people. People with mental illnesses. People with MS or Parkinsons or apraxia or cerebral palsy or dyspraxia or no specific diagnosisSelf diagnosis is not just “valid” — it is liberatory. When we define our community ourselves and wrest our right to self-definition back from the systems that painted us as... More but wonky lateralization or something.
That is all it means. It is not another damn tool of exclusion. It is specifically a tool of inclusion. If you don’t want to be associated with Those People, then YOU are the one who needs another word. Neurodivergent is for all of us.Lost in my Mind TARDIS, PSA from the actual coiner of “neurodivergent”
an individual is neurodivergent.
a group is neurodiverse.
neurodiverse is when there’s a group of people who all have different minds/brains in comparison to each other.
an individual cannot be neurodiverse because there is only one mind/brain.
even if an individual has multiple neurodivergence, it’s still only one brain.
diversity refers to the variance in a population, place or group.
we need to use neurodiverse and neurodivergent correctly because when neurodiverse or diverse is used to refer to an individual who is different from the majority, it reinforces the idea that the majority is the default.Sonny Jane Wise on Instagram
The single most common mistake made when writing or talking about neurodiversity is to describe an individual as neurodiverse. This is grammatically incorrect (diversity is a property of groups, not individuals), but also can be inadvertently discriminatory. As Nick Walker (2021) writes: ‘To describe an Autistic, dyslexic, or otherwise neurodivergent person as a “neurodiverse individual” … serves to reinforce an ableistable·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ nounA system of assigning value to people's bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply... More mindsetThe marketing of mindsets was everywhere this year: “How to Develop Mindsets for Compassion and Caring in Students.” “Building A Tinkering Mindset In Young Students Through Making.” “6 Must-Haves for... More in which neurotypical people are seen as intrinsically separate from the restWe urgently need a society that's better at letting people get the rest they need.Fergus Murray WIP by Kristina Daniele I’m in pain. Mental. Physical. The result’s the same. Retreating... More of humanity, rather than as just another part of the spectrum of human neurodiversity.’
That said, it is essential to recognise and adopt the language preferences of individuals talking about themselves. While we refer to non-neurotypical people in this article as ‘neurodivergent’, many individuals might describe themselves as neurodiverse, or using other language altogether, and these preferences should always take precedent when referring to a specific person.Neurodiversity-affirmative education: why and how? | BPS
Neurodivergence is a term (named by multiply neurodivergent blogger and activist Kassianne Sibley) when some brains and bodymindsBodymind: A term used to challenge the idea the body and mind are experienced separately (Descartes). Written in various ways, Bodymind or Body-mind, this usage foregrounds the understanding that experiences... More are pathologizedWhen it comes to human neurodiversity, the dominant paradigm in the world today is what I refer to as the pathology paradigm. The long-term well-being and empowerment of Autistics and members of... More and discriminated against. These terms come from autistic communitiesWhat I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/... More, who have welcomed folks with other marginalizedFor me this space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge. Locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary. It is not a “safe” place. One is always at... More brain/bodyminds to use them, including but not limited to people with cognitive, brain injury, epilepsy, learning and mental health disabilities.Terminology | Critical Disability Studies Collective
Disability and neurodivergence are broad umbrellas that include many people, possibly you. The neurodivergent umbrella includes a diversity of inherent and acquired differencesOur friends and allies at Randimals have a saying, What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.Randimals We agree. Randimals are made up of two different animals... More and spiky profilesThere is consensus regarding some neurodevelopmental conditions being classed as neurominorities, with a ‘spiky profile’ of executive functions difficulties juxtaposed against neurocognitive strengths as a defining characteristic. Neurominorities, Spiky Profiles,... More. Many neurodivergent people don’t know they are neurodivergent. With our website and outreach, we help people get in touch with their neurodivergent and disabledThe label "disabled" means so much to me. It means I have community. It means I have rights. It means I can be proud. It means I can affirm myself... More identities. We respect and encourage self-diagnosis and community diagnosis. #SelfDxIsValid, and our website can help you understand your ways of being.
If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If you notice you relate to these people much better than to others, if they make you feel safe, and if they understand you, you have arrived.A communal definition of Autistic ways of being
Requiring diagnosis was counter to trans liberation and acceptanceAcceptance means training mental health service providers to look at autism and other disabilities as a part of a person's identity, rather than a problem that needs to be fixed. Acceptance... More. The exact same is true of Autism.Dr. Devon Price
Image DescriptionAlt text is a written description of an image posted online. Alt text can also be added to images embedded in digital documents (PDFs, Word documents, Google docs, presentations, etc).Alt... More: A purple umbrella labelled “Neurodivergent Umbrella”*
Beneath the umbrella, in colorful text on a black background, it lists• Progress in human understanding has become increasingly complex and overwhelming.• Checklists help prevent serious but easily avoidable mistakes.• Checklists should be as short as possible, include all essential steps... More:
- Tic Disorders
- Down Syndrome
* non-exhaustive list
More About the Neurodivergent Umbrella (non-exhaustive)
Friendly reminder that neurodivergent is an umbrella term that is inclusive and not exclusive – this means mental illnesses are considered neurodivergent.Sonny Jane Wise (@livedexperienceeducator)
A few things:
Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for anyone who has a mind or brain that diverges from what is seen as typical or normal.
Neurodivergent is a term created by Kassiane Asasumasu, a biracial, multiply neurodivergent activist. Neurodiversity is a different term created by Judy Singer, an autistic sociologist.
Neurodivergent doesn’t just refer to neurological conditions, this is an inaccurate idea based on the prefix of neuro.
Identifying as neurodivergent is up to the individual and we don’t gatekeep or enforce the term.
- DID & OSDD
- Sensory Processing
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Stuttering & Cluttering
- Anxiety & Depression
- Personality Disorders/Conditions
- BipolarI call it burning these days because that’s what it feels like: like there’s an idea inside me burning its way out. But when I was younger, I called it... More
- Tic Disorders
- Down Syndrome
- Panic Disorders/Conditions
- Developmental Language Disorder/Condition
- Developmental Co-ordination Disorder/Condition
The term neurodiversity originates from the autism rights movement in 1998 from Judy Singer on Martijn Dekker’s mailing list InLv, but as the movement has matured into a more active part of a cross-disability rights coalition, the term has evolved to become more politicized and radical (a change noted by a few contributors, especially Dekker in Chapter 3). Neurodiversity has come to mean “variation in neurocognitive functioning” (p. 3) , a broad concept that includes everyone: both neurodivergent people (those with a condition that renders their neurocognitive functioning significantly different from a “normal” range) and neurotypical people (those within that socially acceptable range). The neurodiversity movement advocates for the rights of neurodivergent people, applying a framework or approach that valuesRemind yourself that shared values, rather than shared beliefs, are what matter when it comes to interacting with others, and that there is no replacement for doing the hard work... More the full spectra of differences and rights such as inclusion and autonomySelf-determination Theory (SDT) is... — a model, a macro theory, of human motivation. It’s one of several models of human motivation, but it’s one that has been confirmed over and... More.Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement | SpringerLink
The movement arguably adopts a spectrum or dimensional concept to neurodiversity, in which people’s neurocognitive differences largely have no natural boundaries. While the extension from this concept to group-based identity politicsWe realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters... More that distinguish between the neurodivergent and neurotypical may at first seem contradictory, the neurodiversity framework draws from reactions to existing stigma- and mistreatment-inducing medical categories imposed on people that they reclaim by negotiating their meaning into an affirmative construct. People who are not discriminated against on the basis of their perceived or actual neurodivergences arguably benefit from neurotypical privilegeTo not have conversations because they make you uncomfortable is the definition of privilege. Your comfort is not at the center of this discussion.Brené Brown Power can be understood as... More, so they do not need corresponding legal protections and access to services.Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement | SpringerLink
Further readingThere are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and... More: