This week is Autism Acceptance Week - so we wanted to take a moment to explore (and celebrate!) neurodiversity.
Hold up. What is neurodiversity?
Great question. ‘Neurodiversity’ refers to the natural differences in brain function and information processing among people.
Rather than seeing people with conditions like autism as deviations from the norm or as less capable than ‘neurotypicals’, neurodiversity refers to ways of thinking that aren’t better or worse: just different.
What qualifies as neurodiverse?
‘Neurodiversity’ applies to a broad spectrum of diagnoses, including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and other forms of learning disability.
Those whose cognitive functioning falls within dominant social norms are understood to be ‘neurotypical’.
Why is this important?
Neurodiversity is based on the social model of disability, which defines disability in terms of the barriers in society that make it more difficult for some people to function - rather than impairments within an individual.
Rather than seeing those with (for example) autism as ‘low-functioning’, neurodiversity celebrates the value of difference, and focuses on how to make the world more accessible for everyone.
As with all of the things that make us unique, neurodiversity is something to be celebrated. Many of the greatest thinkers, from Alan Turin to Albert Einstein, achieved great success arguably because of (not in spite of) their neurodiversity.