• Visit us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on instagram
We have changed our name! Kids on the Spectrum is now called Living on the Spectrum

Neurodiversity – Noun. Same Same but Different.


(noor-oh-di-vur-si-tee) Noun

The variation and differences in neurological structure and function that exist among human beings, especially when viewed as being normal and natural rather than pathological: recognising autism as an example of neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity, Neurodiverse and Neurodivergent are terms that have been embraced by the disability community. Initially it was used as a term to encompass Autism. To represent a natural variance in how the human brain works. A representation of neurological diversity.

The Founder of the term, Neurodiversity

It was in the late 1990’s that Australian sociologist, Judy Singer wrote about neurodiversity. Singer is autistic and rejected the claim that autism was a disability.

Judy Singer coined the phrase Neurodiversity in the late 1990’s

Is Neurodiversity a scientific term?

“No, it’s a political term Some critics of the Neurodiversity movement like to scoff that ‘Neurodiversity’ is not a scientific term. It should be clear from the above that it was never intended to be. It simply names an indisputable fact about our planet, that no two human minds are exactly alike, and uses it to name a paradigm for social change” states Singer.

Read more: Binge-worthy shows to watch this Summer featuring Autistic Adults.

Over the years the term and meaning have evolved. Hence, Society and advocacy groups adopted the terms to embrace and describe neurological differences. To identify a group of individuals who fall into a category that varies from what we now refer to as “Neurotypical”

Singer’s goal was based on a recognition that Autistic advocacy was shaping up to be a significant movement. Because of this she wanted to shift the thought that Autism was a disability. Rather it being a natural variance in basic neurology.

Neurodiversity was a unique catchy name that could become the umbrella term for many conditions. People with ADHD, Dyslexia, learning disabilities. Neurodiversity become an inclusive term that rejected the idea of a disorder.

Is it a diagnostic term?

When talking about neurodiversity we should not use it as a diagnosis. It is, instead a term used to embrace difference and diversity. No one can have” neurodiversity” Bob can’t ask his employer to make accommodations because he has neurodiversity.

Many now use the word “Neurodivergent” as an adjective eg.  “I am neurodivergent” “I am a neurodivergent person” often used to describe a person’s neurology that may differ from what the majority of the population consider the “norm”

As with the term “Neurodiverse” also used as an adjective eg “for children who have autism or other neurodiverse conditions, accessing supports can be a struggle” .

Read more: What can I do while on a waitlist for an autism assessment?

Opinions and thoughts.

Neurodiversity remains ambiguous to many. While others have embraced it’s evolution. Some stay true to Singers original paper that it describes the variation in all brain types. Embracing the definitions over time, many find the terminology helpful. Finding it to be an inclusive term and used as an empowering way of describing a person who has a neurological difference, rather than defect.

The evolution of Neurodiversity includes but not limited to.

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Learning difficulties.

However you like to use the term, it has become a movement determined to make a change in redefining our thoughts and beliefs about disability.

Download our Media kit