What is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.
The neurodiversity paradigm is a specific perspective on neurodiversity – a perspective or approach that boils down to these fundamental principles:
- Neurodiversity is a natural and valuable form of human diversity.
- The idea that there is one “normal” or “healthy” type of brain or mind, or one “right” style of neurocognitive functioning, is a culturally constructed fiction, no more valid (and no more conducive to a healthy society or to the overall well-being of humanity) than the idea that there is one “normal” or “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.
- The social dynamics that manifest in regard to neurodiversity are similar to the social dynamics that manifest in regard to other forms of human diversity (e.g., diversity of ethnicity, gender, or culture). These dynamics include the dynamics of social power inequalities, and also the dynamics by which diversity, when embraced, acts as a source of creative potential.
Neurodivergent means having a brain that functions in ways that diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”
A group of people is neurodiverse if one or more members of the group differ substantially from other members, in terms of their neurocognitive functioning.
Allistic is any person who is not autistic. It is based on the Greek word “allos”, meaning “other”, just as “autos” (in “autism”) means “self”.
Neurotypical means having a style of neurocognitive functioning that falls within the dominant societal standards of “normal.”