In this world, there are two types of brains. Those brains are 1) neurotypical and 2) neurodivergent. The spectrum of neurotypes is how our brains function and process reality. Neurotypical brains make up the majority of the population, while neurodivergent brains are the minority.
Although neurodivergent means that it is divergent from what is typical for people, it does not mean that it is not normal. Seeing a doctor, a therapist, psychiatrist or using medicine will not cure a neurodivergent person, although this could be a means of support.
Being a neurodiverse human means that your brain functions differently but not incorrectly. Who you are and how you think does not need to be “fixed.” Both neurodivergent and neurotypical minds are normal parts of the human experience.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
One of the common differences between neurodiversity and neurotypicality is what motivates a person in their behavior or how they communicate. For neurodivergent minds, attention goes toward what interests the individual or what someone is passionate about. On the other hand, neurotypical minds are motivated on the basis of what they deem important and on tribal inclusion.
When these two kinds of minds come together, conflict may ensue because they are essentially speaking different languages. Our neurotype is the lens by which we perceive our experiences and respond to stimuli in our environment. Neurodiversity may present itself in differing degrees.
COMMON DIAGNOSES FOR NEURODIVERGENT MINDS
Neurodiverse individuals can be diagnosed with disorders, while some are not diagnosed. Diagnosis may be helpful for individuals in knowing how their neurodiversity can effect interpersonal relationships and how they interact with their surroundings. Diagnosis may validate the experience you or another neurodivergent person is experiencing.
It also should be said that neurodivergent individuals are able to be undiagnosed and aware of their neurological structure. By no means is diagnosis required to identify with being neurodivergent. Just because a diagnosis for someone may be enlightening, does not mean that it will be beneficial to another person.
Diagnosis of disorders, as well as identifying as neurodivergent should not be stigmatized. Person first language and not being hasty do label someone with a disorder should be maintained. Ultimately, whatever you, or any other neurodivergent feels comfortable with when it comes to terminology, should be used.
Some common disorders that hold neurodiverse populations are the autism spectrum, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and tourette syndrome. When identifying that one is neurodivergent, one of the easiest stages to watch out for markers is in adolescents. Once a person has reached adulthood, they might have learned the ability to appear neurotypical, when in fact they still see the world differently. Some girls and women are able to mimic neurotypical behavior, and may uniquely present criteria for disorders.
Neurodivergent populations are resilient, and innovative. Yet, it must be stated that they should not bear the expectation of others to try to adhere to a neurotypical brain. Neurodiversity is not a rare outlier, but a part of the human experience that should be celebrated and understood.
If you identify as neurodivergent or sense that you might be, seeking therapy may prove to be a strength and ally for you. If this is something you have never considered, we encourage you to be curious in the context of community. Mental health workers are equipped to walk beside you in your journey, and to validate your experience and beautiful mind.
We are eager to collaborate with you in creating a safe space for you to be heard. We want you to receive the care you need. Call us or make an appointment at Heartland Therapy Connection if you need help. We believe your life is worth the investment and you deserve to receive the care you need.
The Neurodivergent Woman Podcast, Episode 1: “What Is Neurodiversity?” Monique Mitchelson & Michelle Livock
The Neurodivergent Woman Podcast, Episode 2: “Getting A Diagnosis,” Monique Mitchelson & Michelle Livock
Neurodiverging Podcast, “What Is Neurodiversity? Intro To Neurodiverging,” Danielle Sullivan
A Neurodiversity Paradigm Breakdown of the DSM-5 Criteria for Autism | by Trauma Geek | Medium