If you have no idea what neurodiversity is, you’re not alone. In fact, it was months after we got my son’s autism diagnosis before I even heard the word. Not to mention, I’m still learning about the intricacies involved. It’s really important to understand neurodiversity as it relates to autism and other neurological differences, but it isn’t a simple or black and white issue. Today I’m going to cover some basics of neurodiversity, but for more info check out some of the books in my best books about autism post.
What in the World is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is a Spectrum
At its core, neurodiversity is the diverse spectrum of neurology. We all fall somewhere on the neurological spectrum. Some people are gifted, some are artistic, some don’t communicate verbally. We have people all over the spectrum.
It’s important to realize that neurodiversity isn’t limited to “neurotypical” and “autistic”. There’s a whole lot in between and outside of that that we need to account for. Neurodiversity explains that everyone’s neurology is different and unique, which is not only necessary but beneficial to society.
Neurodiversity is a Movement
The Neurodiversity Movement is a movement that promotes the understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity. There are some who believe that neurological differences are something to be feared or fixed, but the neurodiversity counters that. They fight for support and accommodations of everyone’s neurological needs.
It’s important to note that neurodiversity and the neurodiversity movement are not the same thing. Neurodiversity, the understanding that everyone’s neurology is different or diverse, is simply a fact. The neurodiversity movement brings in the belief that different neurology is a good thing and that everyone’s neurology should be supported and accommodated.
There are a lot of terms that go along with understanding neurodiversity, and I couldn’t begin to explain them all. What I will do is explain the main terms so that you know enough to start learning and understanding.
- Neurodiversity – The understanding that all people have naturally differing neurology.
- Neurodiversity Movement – The movement supporting the understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity.
- Neurotypical – The “norm” as far as neurology goes, what most people have. This does not mean non-autistic.
- Neurodivergent – Neurology outside of the norm or “typical”. This is the opposite of neurotypical. It includes people who are autistic, gifted, or otherwise outside of typical neurology.
- Neurodiverse – This is a group of people who vary in neurology. For example, my children are neurodiverse because they’re all over the spectrum from delayed to gifted to autistic to neurotypical. Therefore, they are neurodiverse.
Neurodiversity and Autism
Autistic people are neurodivergent, but it is certainly not the only way to be neurodivergent. There are many autistic self-advocates that support the neurodiversity movement, so there is a lot of cross over. I get it, it’s a bit confusing. The biggest thing to remember is that autism is a spectrum, from those severely disabled to those who simply see the world differently. This is similar to neurodiversity. There is a large group of people who are neurotypical, and also many people who are neurodivergent.
The main point of all of this? Every person is different. Every single one. We all fall somewhere on the wide neurodiversity spectrum, and we all deserve the same supports and accommodations.
Like I said, this is by no means a comprehensive guide to neurodiversity, but it will hopefully give you a starting point for your own research. I would definitely check out the books mentioned in my literature post as well.
If you’ve been looking for a group where you can work towards understanding, accepting, and embracing your child’s (or your own!) autism with other parents and self-advocates on the same journey as you, you’ve found your place. I don’t promise to know all the answers (or even half of them) but I do promise to be there to support you in your journey, whichever side of the divide you’re on. Together we can celebrate successes, support each other on hard days, and step closer towards truly embracing autism each and every day. Enter your info below and join the Embracing Autism group to finally feel like you fit in an autism support group!
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