Neurodivergence is defined as differences in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical. In the late 1990s, Judy Singer, a sociologist who is on the autism spectrum herself, wanted to find a word to describe conditions like ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Her hope and goal was to shift the ways of thinking and learning away from the usual focus on deficits, disorders, and impairments.
Several recognized types of neurodivergence include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, dyscalculia, epilepsy, hyperlexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette syndrome.
Neurotypical is the opposite of neurodivergent. Neurotypical means being “neurologically typical” – within the typical (average) range for human neurology. This term also originated in the autistic community, as a way to refer to non-autistic people, and is used to describe a person whose neurological development and state are typical, conforming to what most people would perceive as “normal”. Neurotypical is a somewhat controversial construct, as there is nobody who can be considered truly neurotypical. There is no such standard for the human brain.
The neurodiversity movement is a social justice movement that seeks civil rights, equality, respect, and full societal inclusion for those who are neurodivergent. For example, the autism rights movement is a social movement within the neurodiverse population that encourages individuals with autism, their caregivers, and society to adopt a culture of acceptance of autism as a variation in functioning rather than a mental disorder to be cured.
At Karuna Counseling our guideposts stand on compassion, diversity and empowerment. We stand with all people on the wide spectrum of neurological functioning.