Understanding Neurodivergence: What Does It Mean?


People who are considered neurodivergent have brains that develop or function differently for unknown reasons. As a result, the individual differs from those whose brains develop or function more ordinarily in terms of their strengths and challenges. While some neurodivergent individuals have medical issues, it can also occur in individuals for whom a condition or diagnosis has not been established.

What exactly is neurodivergent?

The word “neurodivergent” refers to individuals whose varying brain physiology affects how their brain functions. As a result, they differ from others whose brains lack those variations in both strengths and difficulties. Medical issues, learning difficulties, and other illnesses are a few examples of the potential variations. Better memory, the ability to visualize three-dimensional (3D) objects easily in the mind, the mental capacity to perform challenging mathematical operations, and many other traits could be strengths.

The term “neurodivergent” is not a medical one. Instead, it’s a different method of describing people than just “normal” and “abnormal.” This is significant because the functioning of the human brain cannot be described as “normal” in a single manner.

Neurotypical refers to non-neurodivergent individuals. That implies that any difference that alters the way their brains function has no bearing on their abilities or difficulties.

What is neurotypical?

The term “neurotypical” describes someone whose mental processes, habits, and functioning are seen as normal or typical. Because the topic has probably never been brought up for neurotypical people previously, they might not even be aware of it. These individuals often reach all of their behavioral and developmental milestones at the same times and ages, which are regarded as typical for most individuals.

Once they are adults, individuals typically go through life not having to worry about whether their brains work the same as those of others.

Why do people refer to themselves as neurodivergents?

Certain people oppose the notion that neurodiversity is about differences rather than deficiencies. Many people who hold that opinion claim they are opposed to it because some neurodivergent people have real medical disorders that require care.

However, research demonstrates that being aware of the concept of neurodiversity does not compel individuals with neurodiversity to downplay or minimize their difficulties. Instead, the study demonstrates that those who are aware of the concept of neurodiversity make use of it to succeed and adapt.

Research by experts demonstrates that words and language related to neurodiversity affect how people live. People who are neurodivergent and realize that this does not mean they are unwell or defective are more likely to be joyful and strive for greater things in life.

People with dyslexia are one example of this. People with dyslexia have difficulty reading because their brains don’t handle written language the same way as others who don’t have the disease. However, those who have dyslexia typically have brains that are more adept at processing or creating images of 3D objects. Because of this, individuals are far faster at spotting optical illusions and naturally talented in fields like graphic design, the arts, engineering, and more.

What diseases can a neurodivergent individual experience?

The following diseases or disorders are frequently present in people who identify as neurodivergent. However, as there are no established medical standards or definitions of what it means to be neurodivergent, this word can also apply to other disorders. Additionally, those who suffer from these illnesses could decide not to self-identify as neurodivergent.

Among persons who identify as neurodivergent, the following ailments are among the most prevalent:

  • Asperger’s syndrome is now included in the category of autism spectrum disorder.

  • Hyperactive disorder with attention deficit (ADHD).

  • The Down syndrome.

  • Math trouble or dyscalculia.

  • Dysgraphia (writing trouble).

  • Reading difficulties due to dyslexia.

  • Dyspraxia (coordination problems).

  • Intellectual impairments.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues.

  • Prader-Willi disease.

  • Abnormalities of sensory processing.

  • (A specific form of anxiety condition) Social anxiety.

  • Tourette’s disorder.

  • Williams disease.

How to determine your neurodiversity?

You will be regarded as neurodivergent if you have been diagnosed with any of the abovementioned disorders. On the other hand, you can consult a specialist to confirm your diagnosis if you have never had a formal diagnosis but strongly identify with the characteristics of one or more categories of neurodivergence.

Additionally, you can discover more about the condition’s DSM classification and the actual experiences of those with that form of neurodivergence. Self-diagnosis is a legitimate method of identifying oneself and is frequently the only diagnostic option available to many disenfranchised persons.

Even though neurodivergence is common, many people only become aware of it once they are adults. This can provide difficulties as individuals try to adjust to the variations in their thought and information-processing processes, but it can also be advantageous. 

Finding out they have ADHD, autism, or another type of neurodivergence often explains things about themselves that they previously didn’t understand for many adults. You are probably neurotypical if you have never been diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned earlier or feel that you possess any of the qualities above. 

Can you develop neurodiversity?

Numerous types of neurodivergence are a natural byproduct of how the brain grows and operates. These abnormalities may go unnoticed or untreated in childhood, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t present and just became apparent later in life.

Neurodivergence can also result from acquired neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries.

Can neurodiversity be prevented, treated, or cured?

The distinctive way that each person’s brain develops is referred to as neurodiversity. Therefore, it cannot be avoided, treated, or cured.

Some of the ailments that lead to neurodivergence are treatable. A specialist or other healthcare provider can also discuss resources for persons with that condition with you if they diagnose you (or someone you care for) with one of the conditions mentioned above. There are numerous potential management strategies, therapy plans, and other things.

Medication and behavioral treatment can enhance the quality of life for some people, such as those with ADHD. For others, therapeutic programs can assist you in “playing to your strengths” or in figuring out how to maximize your aptitudes. They can also teach you how to deal with difficulties so that they have less impact on your life.

What is the future of neurodiversity?

The way we view persons who are neurodivergent will change as society changes its understanding of how the brain functions. For instance, there has been a lot of work done to cease seeing autism as a disease that has to be healed.

The field of special education is progressing in this regard, with methods increasingly focused on the learning preferences of individuals with various neurodivergent tendencies.

Promoting neurodiversity Although acceptance may have started with autism and how it is treated, it has expanded to embrace the numerous neurodivergent types. The easier it is for us to accommodate people in ways that enable them to learn, perform, and prosper in society, the more we accept, affirm, and comprehend that it is fairly typical for brains to function differently.

Conclusion-

The diverse ways that each person’s brain works are referred to as “neurodiversity.” Even while everyone’s brain grows in a similar manner, no two brains are the same in every way. You are considered neurodivergent if your brain functions differently from the average or “neurotypical” person’s brain. 

This could be due to disparities in social preferences, educational approaches, communication styles, and environmental perception techniques. A neurodivergent person, as a result, has varied problems and distinctive talents. Neurodivergent people can gain from education and programs that enable them to build on their talents and use them to live happy, healthy lives.

 



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