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What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the concept that there is a variation of brain organizations and behaviors that are natural and "normal" within the human species.


Different ways of experiencing the world (i.e., sensory processing, attention processing), behaving (i.e., stimming, pacing, fidgeting), and interacting with others (i.e., direct communication, non-speaking, reduced use of eye contact) are not seen as "deficits."


The neurodiversity movement began in the 1990s and continues to increase awareness and support (Baumer & Frueh, 2021).


Neurodiversity reinforces the social model of disability*, which explains "disability" as a result of barriers intrinsic to an ableist system rather than the medical model of disability that pathologizes the disabled individual as the "problem" for society. For example, if everyone were taught brail at a young age, society may not view blindness as a disadvantage.


*Concerning autism, if neurotypical people were taught autistic social customs (as autistic people are taught (and often forced into using) neurotypical social customs), society may no longer see stereotypical autistic social behavior (i.e., preference not to make eye contact, stimming, directness) as being disordered.

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