• Sarah

Neurodiversity 101

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

Having just registered for this conference, I've definitely got neurodiversity on my mind. For those unfamiliar with the term, here's a definition from the Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh's "Autistic Glossary":


The diversity of human brains and minds. A group of people with diverse brains is neurodiverse.

The neurodiversity paradigm accepts neurodivergences such as autism and ADHD as natural potentially valuable forms of human diversity, and rejects the idea that there is one kind of ‘normal’ brain that is inherently desirable.

The neurodiversity movement is the political manifestation of this perspective, pushing for full civil rights and inclusion of neurodivergent people.

The neurodiversity paradigm is something I personally feel very strongly about, and I try to model my professional services after its ideals as much as possible.

For those who want a little more context, it helps to think of neurodiversity as an off-shoot of the social model of disability:

This is a very different perspective than what might be more familiar to most people -- the medical model of disability:

One of the great things about neurodiversity is that it helps us realize the positives that come with having a different brain, as opposed to highlighting only the downsides or ignoring the differences altogether:

But it's always good to maintain perspective and acknowledge that being different than the majority is not always sunshine and rainbows:

Neurodiversity allows us to have a sense of humor about our differences:

So there's neurodiversity in a nutshell.

But what does it look like in the real world? How do we do neurodiversity? Here's a few examples to get you started:

  • A video from Amy Laurent about how to view therapy and supports for autistic people through a neurodiversity lens.

  • A short illustrated story (written by an autistic mother of an autistic child) in the voice of an autistic child speaking to their non-autistic parent.


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