It only takes one look at our world to see that it is a place rich in diversity. There are tens of thousands of different species of trees. There are over 7,000 different spoken languages. There are more than 1,200 different genres of music. From east to west, our world is covered with ranges in landscapes, to climate, to histories and traditions. People each look different, have different beliefs, different features and abilities. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that our internal designs may have variations as well.
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that refers to the differences in how brains process information. These traits can reach across communication, behaviors, and cognitive processes. It has often been described as, “a state of nature to be respected”. As science has grown, we are understanding more and more that brains are just as diverse as the people who occupy them. When we think about our internal differences, it’s important to remember that having differences does not mean the same thing as there being something wrong or deficient about a person.
Neurodiversity means that everyone is different, and differences should not be viewed as shortcomings. Variations in how people think are natural occurrences in our species. It doesn’t mean that people should be fixed or that they should change who they are. Aspire Neuropsych administers psychological assessments for conditions such as ADHD, OCD, learning differences, and Autism Spectrum to our community in Walnut Creek, CA. Connect with our team today if you are interested in learning more about your brain’s neurological design and inner workings.
At first, the term “neurodiversity” was coined to include those who were neurological minorities. It was used to describe people who thought and communicated differently than most people. Yet, it was also many times used to refer to those who were on the margins in society: those who were viewed as different, yet rarely understood. Today, these brain types are beginning to be celebrated for their unique advantages in seeing the world differently, finding creative solutions and innovations, and for being a natural variance in our world just as diverse as our biosphere. In fact, many of the most successful people we know today may have divergent minds.
Disorders commonly thought to include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), learning differences, and sometimes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have all been housed under the concept of neurodivergence.
Throughout history, neurodivergent brain types were frequently marginalized because their abilities didn’t always fit with the larger crowd; they were unique and quirky; they communicated differently than most; they had qualities that didn’t align with mainstream expectations and roles; or they were left out because people weren’t as willing, or didn’t know how to be patient, spend time learning their differences, or how to accommodate some of their needs.
These neurodivergent brains were often judged, misunderstood, and pathologized. However, allowing for a more collective identity began to pave the way for more visibility into the world of neurodivergence. Many were able to advocate for more understanding and inclusion- both for themselves and others alike. The movement also helped bring people together and find community with others.
Neurodivergence is usually explained alongside its counterpart, neurotypical. One refers to what is common, “of the majority”, and includes predictable patterns that we all know well. The other category for neurodivergence refers to brain styles that delineate from what is usually thought of as typical.
Neurodivergent people usually have some sense that their brains operate differently from other people’s brains. Sometimes, these differences are diagnosed early in childhood or during school age years.
Having a diagnosis can be helpful, but we still have strides to take in the medical community to counter some of the stigma that remains today. There are many strengths of neurodivergent people that may still be under-recognized. Traits like empathy, intelligence, artistry, and executive functioning skills are all areas where some neurodivergent people could be more gifted than the majority.
If you or a loved one think someone you know could be neurodivergent, it’s important to consider how a diagnosis might impact their life. A diagnosis can allow for deeper self-understanding, more inclusion with others, better coping skills, or it can allow them to shape their lifestyle in a way that supports how their brain works. Supporting yourself or a loved one in getting a diagnosis may begin with education and connecting with professionals who specialize in this area.
Aspire Neuropsychological Services has a team of mental health professionals who specialize in neurodivergence. They can help support you and your loved one in making sense of themselves, their relationships, and their world. If this resonates, reach out to our teamhttps://aspireneuropsych.com/meet-our-team/ today to schedule a consult and get started.