UNDERSTANDING A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Why is it important to understand terms like neurodiverse? It is important to understand because society has a significant role to play in how ‘disabling’ an individual’s differences are through the way in which they are perceived. Terminology that is inclusive and considerate of the individual focuses on how to support a need instead of on labeling a disability.

BREAKING DOWN THE TERMS

  • Neuro – Relating to nerves or the nervous system.

  • Diverse – Showing a great deal of variety; involving or including a range of differences.
  • Neurodiverse – The spectrum of differences in neurological development or function presented within the human population.

  • Neurodivergent Person – An individual whose neurological development and/or function are atypical. The term originated as an opposite to “neurotypical.” This may carry a diagnosis with it, such as autism, dyslexia, intellectual disability, ADD/ADHD, etc.

BEING A CHAMPION FOR NEURODIVERSITY

Now, consider that the entire human population is neurodiverse because we think differently. This means it is expected to see unique ways of thinking and experiencing the world. We must champion that different ways of thinking or being should not constitute a barrier to inclusion or access. An individual does not have to be neurotypical to enjoy the full range of human experience.

Supporting neurodiversity looks like:

  • Encouraging self-advocacy

  • Fostering community involvement

  • Authentic relationships

  • Providing opportunities to learn strengths, weaknesses and desires

  • Allowing freedom of choice and the ultimate pursuit of happiness

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