I first heard of the term “neurodivergent” from a client, who had used it to describe her partner. Always curious, I asked her to elaborate while I took some notes. Later, when I looked into the term, I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information I found.
The term “neurodivergent” refers to a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficient. Whereas traditional diagnosis points to social and cognitive differences as symptoms of atypical disorders such as ADHD and autism, those who identify as neurodivergent see these same differences as unique strengths that can help them generate ideas and creatively solve problems.
WHERE DID THE TERM “NEURODIVERGENT” COME FROM?
The term ‘neurodivergent’ was first coined by sociologist Judy Singer in the late 1990s. For the better part of the next two decades, mostly only researchers and social science professionals used this term. So why has it taken so long for this adaptive viewpoint to enter into mainstream awareness?
When you think of our overall movement toward diversity, inclusion, and human rights in the last 5-10 years, it makes sense why our views towards learning differences are shifting to a more adaptive, strengths-based conceptualization. Currently, there are books, podcasts, and social media that focus on neurodiversity, and how it’s part of the human experience. If TikTok is a medium through which we learn about what’s important now, neurodiversity is part of the content that drives us towards a more inclusive society.
And I can’t help but be excited about that.
Interested in learning more about neurodivergence? Check out this full media list!