Neurodiversity relates to the way a person thinks and experiences the world.
The thoughts below evolved from a conversation with someone opposed to the theory on another blog. The opposer claimed neurodiversity ignores health problems commonly associated with the neurodiverse condition and questioned how identical twins could have one ND (neurodiverse) twin and on NT (neurotypical or “normal”) twin if neurodiversity is genetic.
I’m currently drafting another paper regarding environmental epigenetics to address the questions about twins, but the first statement, a misunderstanding of neurodiversity, I am addressing here.
Lots of neurodiverse people have co-occurring conditions (Anxiety, IBS, migraines, sensory overload, insomnia, etc.). These things can be disruptive to one’s life and may require medical attention. Nobody is trying to deny these medical conditions are, at best, an inconvenience.
Everyone has a genetic predisposition to some sicknesses, neurodiverse people just have a common list of accompanying illnesses.
The definition of neurodiversity is stretched when we include people under the umbrella who were not “born this way”. This is inaccurate and a problem.
Neurodiversity has opponents. Most opposers I’ve met say “What about X person, who will never live independently? How can you accept that they were supposed to be this way?”
The simple answer – because They ARE “this way”. The person in front of you is the person in front of you. Don’t focus on their flaws or wish for them to be someone else. Support them. Encourage them. Help the person in front of you to be the best person they can be.
Neurodiversity is about accepting people of all neurotypes (typical or otherwise). It doesn’t say that one type of brain is better than any other it simply says “There are a lot of brains in the world with many different strengths and weaknesses and all of them are important and valuable.”
There are people who argue against it, insisting that neurodiverse people are better off “acknowledging their own defectiveness”, instead of trying to love and accept themselves.
So why do we view ourselves in a positive light? Because we need to. We need to accept ourselves so that we can feel good about who we are as people. We are not broken people, less important because of our differences. We are living, breathing humans.
We need different types of minds, thinkers, and brains. To quote one of the greats, Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Many of history’s great minds, Tesla, Mozart, Hans Christian Andersen, and even Einstein himself, have been noted as having neurodiverse symptomology. Although diagnosing them post life is impossible and speculative at this point.
I want to clarify that not every neurodiverse person will be a Mozart or an Einstein. We’re all over the place with our talents, skills, and abilities (but so are neurotypical people).
When you tell neurodiverse children they are defective they grow up with self-esteem issues, feeling broken and not good enough. If someone tells you that you’re “broken, stupid, or not good enough” your whole life you will begin to believe it.
It is essential that we build these kids (and adults) up so that they can be the best people they can be.
Neurodiverse people have a lot to offer society, but first, we must accept them. Neurodiversity is the key, a tool for acceptance.
Neurodiversity is a fact. It is coming. Is your organization ready?