NEURODIVERGENT, or ND (and NEURODIVERGENCE) What It Means: Neurodivergent, sometimes abbreviated as ND, means having a brain that functions in ways that diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.” Neurodivergent is quite a broad term.
Neurodivergence (the state of being neurodivergent) can be largely or entirely genetic and innate, or it can be largely or entirely produced by brain-altering experience, or some combination of the two (autism and dyslexia are examples of innate forms of neurodivergence, while alterations in brain functioning caused by such things as trauma, long-term meditation practice, or heavy usage of psychedelic drugs are examples of forms of neurodivergence produced through experience).
Their misunderstanding and incorrect usage of certain terms often results in poor and clumsy communication of their message, and propagation of further confusion (including other confused people imitating their errors).
At the very least, incorrect use of terminology can make a writer or speaker appear ignorant, or an unreliable source of information, in the eyes of those who understand the meanings of the terms.
Neurodiversity, as a biological characteristic of the species, can’t “claim” anything, any more than variations in human skin pigmentation can “claim” something. So human brains and minds don’t differ from one another?
There’s an awful lot of scientific evidence that shows quite plainly that there’s considerable variation among human brains.
A person whose neurocognitive functioning diverges from dominant societal norms in multiple ways – for instance, a person who is Autistic, dyslexic, and epileptic – can be described as multiply neurodivergent.
The person who wrote this sentence was probably trying to object to the neurodiversity paradigm and/or the positions of the Neurodiversity Movement, and has ended up sounding rather silly as a result of failing to distinguish between these things and the phenomenon of neurodiversity itself.It’s not a perspective, an approach, a belief, a political position, or a paradigm.That’s the neurodiversity paradigm (see below), not neurodiversity itself.And, as I increasingly find myself in the position of reviewing other people’s writing on neurodiversity – grading student papers, reviewing submissions to journals, consulting on various projects, or even just deciding whose writings I’m willing to recommend to people – I’m getting tired of running into the same basic errors over and over.So, as a public service, I’m posting this list of a few key neurodiversity-related terms, their meanings and proper usage, and the ways in which I most commonly see them used.