Neurodiversity- The misunderstood concept
In recent years, the term neurodiversity has become more commonplace in society. However, there is still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding what neurodiversity actually is. Put simply, neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – just as there is diversity of our physical attributes. Just like physical disabilities, neurological differences can range from mild to profound. And just like physical disabilities, neurological differences are often misunderstood and mislabeled. In this blog post, I will be discussing my professional opinion on neurodiversity and why I believe it is so important that we open our minds to those who think differently to us.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – just as there is diversity of our physical attributes. This means that, just as there is no ‘normal’ or ‘correct’ way to have a body, there is no ‘normal’ or ‘correct’ way to have a brain or mind. Neurological differences can range from mild to profound, and include conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, Tourette’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Why should we accept neurodiversity?
Neurological differences are often misunderstood and mislabeled. For example, dyslexia was once considered to be a result of laziness or lack of intelligence. We now know that this could not be further from the truth – dyslexia has nothing to do with laziness or intelligence. It is a difference in the way the brain processes information, and individuals with dyslexia are often extremely intelligent and creative. Similarly, autism was once considered to be a mental illness that required psychiatric treatment. We now know that autism is not a mental illness – it is a neurological difference that affects social interaction, communication and behavior. Individuals with autism are often extremely intelligent and talented – but their abilities are often underestimated because of the stigma attached to their condition.
Neurological differences should be accepted because they are simply that – differences. They are not deficiencies or abnormalities that need to be fixed. Just as we would not try to ‘fix’ someone who was born with brown eyes or curly hair, we should not try to ‘fix’ someone who has ADHD or autism. These are simply different ways of thinking and being in the world, and they should be celebrated rather than stigmatized.
Neurodiversity should be embraced because neurological differences are simply different ways of thinking and being in the world. These children are fully human and have the same inalienable human rights just like everyone else- including the basic human right to communication! Children who think differently should never be seen as broken or an incomplete version of a neurotypical person because they are not missing anything! They are complete individuals with so much potential!