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  • Kelsey Darmochwal

What is Neurodiversity?

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

From time to time you will see this word on my page, but what does it mean?

Neurodiversity is defined by the National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse University as:

a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others.

This means that while these things are recognized as problematic by the medical world, it doesn't mean that the person with the diagnosis is a problem. These diagnoses are often viewed as a "trade-off" when one skill or ability is decreased, but other skills or ability might be increased.

For those of you who like analogies, try think about it this way. Imagine someone hands you a basket and asks you to collect all the balls or ball shaped objects in your house. Your basket might contain items such as sports balls, bouncy balls, stress balls, cotton balls, and maybe something like a snow globe or decorative glass ball. Now, generally we know that just because something is round doesn't give it the same ability to provide the same function. We wouldn't expect every ball in the basket to bounce to the same height. As someone who appreciates Neurodiversity, I understand that humans can be very similar - we are all human, but not everyone's brain works in the same way. Just because a snow globe is round does not mean you should expect it to bounce.

For those who are more literal, different brains work different ways. If we all had the same skills, abilities, and opinions, the world would get pretty boring, and it would be difficult to move forward and discover new things.

So what does this mean for you or your family member? It means that just because there is a "problem" does not mean that there are not strengths to be found in there difference too. If you are not sure what your strengths are, try thinking about it for a bit. If it is really difficult to find these strengths, try asking around. I'm sure your loved ones, friends, teachers or others in your life can see some of these strengths. If you find that you are still struggling or disagree with what others suggest, check out my "services" page and see if therapy might be right for you.

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