What is Neurodiversity

December 08, 2021

Neurodiversity is a term used to describe the wide spectrum of differences in human brains.

Each one of us has a unique brain, Judy Singer, an Australian Sociologist, first developed the concept while completing her Honours Degree at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 1997-1998. Her intent has been to start a social movement that sees neurodiversity as a fundamental part of human society. Much the way that biodiversity requires a wide range of species to thrive, neurodiversity requires the human species to have a wide range of neurological differences to thrive and adapt to change.

In this regard, a person cannot be ‘neurodiverse’, society is neurodiverse, or society consists of neurodiverse people. Some mental conditions often associated with neurodiversity, such as autism spectrum and ADHD, can have obvious benefits. High functioning Autism, formerly called Asperger Syndrome, is often associated with high intelligence and extreme levels of focus. ADHD is a highly energised way of seeing the world often associated with entrepreneurs and creative people.

A fundamental problem faced by many people is the lack of understanding of differences in their brains. Often this starts in early childhood, with parents, doctors, and teachers, not having insight into the child’s ways of thinking, and how to support that child as a unique individual. This often leads to struggling at school and in the workforce.

There are exceptions of course. If parents can take the time, and have the resources, they can pursue a path of understanding what is required to support their child. Some doctors, psychologists, and teachers, have been trained in neurodiversity and are able to support them. But that is by no means a guarantee.

If we, as a society, can better tailor our parenting and education to support neurodiversity, we as a society will be stronger, more adaptable, more resilient. It’s something I’m be proud to be a part of.

30 by 30 #2

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Written by Adrian Gray making games in Sydney. Find him on Mastodon or Twitter.