Updated: Jan 31
For a long time, Autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia were seen as deficits in the functioning of the brain. Normal brains are “right” and these other brains are “wrong” – sub-par, less than, flawed and even broken. Neurodiversity aims to recognise that fundamentally, differently wired brains are just that – different. Not less than, but just designed in a different way, so that information is processed, analysed and expressed differently.
This does not deny that certain aspects can be disabling, or that medication can be helpful. But it does allow for possibilities. It means that instead of always being defined by the things we cannot do, we are given space to consider the positives of the differences. Things like being able to spot small differences, and therefore prevent problems before they start, or being able to make connections between seemingly unrelated things, creativity, or a drive for a more just society. Plus, it’s really helpful on an individual level to be seen as person who is, rather than just a some of the things you “can’t do like the normal people). Sidebar: the term Neurodiverse is often contrasted with the term “neurotypical”, to mean not having some sort of brain difference. (I would say “normal”, but to me that is a setting on the washing machine.)