Neurodiversity is the idea that while some ways of processing information are more typical, there is validity and value in alternate patterns of neurological function that don’t need to be “cured,” but rather accommodated. There are many different trait groupings that can be considered neurodivergent, from autism and ADHD to dyslexia and synesthesia. While our neurodivergent traits can lend us a unique and deeply emotional lens through which we view the world, they can pose mental, emotional, and physical challenges in how we move through a society designed for people who think about, interact with, and interpret visual, verbal, and sensory information differently than we do. We are often caught in the tension between accepting and validating ourselves and searching out tools and strategies to better meet the expectations of those around us. Centering ourselves begins with recognizing that our brains aren’t “wrong,” just different.
What do you think about, when you hear the word “autism”? No diagnostic manual can truly explain the multifaceted experience of autism. It’s a neurological difference with a vast spectrum of representation within its population.