Neurodiversity seems to be a buzzword these days. Neurodiversity in the workplace. Visibility of neurodivergent learners in schools. Awareness of neurodiverse needs in relationships. With the terminology being more commonplace, are we as a society emphasizing and embracing the role that neurodiversity has in our day to day lives?
Let’s back up a bit to make sure everyone is on the same page about what neurodiversity is. When you break down the term to its core, “neuro” relates to all things in the nervous system, whereas “diversity” is the practice of inclusion given various different backgrounds. When you add the terms together, you get neurodiversity…
“..the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population…”
Individuals who are neurodivergent span a wide spectrum of different conditions, needs, and strengths, including those with:
Furthermore, neurodiversity acknowledges and celebrates differences in functioning, as opposed to focusing on the stigma that can accompany terms like “deficits” and “impairments”.
So, clearly neurodivergent individuals are present - at work, in school, on college campuses, in grocery stores, at parks…everywhere! And they always have been. But, most neurodivergent individuals have likely encountered negativity about their skills/behaviors, which has led to societal stigma on what they can and cannot do.
With greater recognition of neurodivergent conditions and emphasis placed on what individuals can bring to the table (instead of what they lack), are we doing enough to make society inclusive to neurodiversity? Let’s take a quick (and broad) look at what is being done at different levels to incorporate neurodivergent needs into day to day life:
Devon Brunson, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS
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