When we speak about human behavior or ways of being in the world, we have traditionally described someone as having normal behavior or abnormal behavior. Recently, mental health experts have begun to look at things in a broader, more inclusive scope.
What Does Neurodivergent Mean?
Neurodivergent is a term used to describe someone who either behaves in a specific way or processes information in a specific way that differs from cultural norms. It is an important shift in the mental health community because it allows clinicians to discuss diagnoses, such as autism, in a way that doesn’t portray the diagnoses as an illness or problem to be dealt with. In addition to autism, there are other diagnoses that may be considered a form of neurodivergence such as ADHD, any learning disability, dyslexia, and Tourette’s syndrome.
Benefits of Neurodiversity
Much of the world has embraced cultural diversity. We have been taught that diversity is our greatest strength. Well, people are finally starting to realize that this concept goes beyond just cultural diversity and should extend to the diversity of thought and being as well. Neurodiversity can actually be beneficial to society because different ways of thinking and looking at the world bring different perspectives and insights to the table.
Temple Grandin is a perfect example. Temple is autistic and it is her very unique perspective and way of thinking that allowed her to revolutionize the practices for the humane handling of livestock.
Instead of stigmatizing children who have been diagnosed with a “mental handicap,” we must encourage them to embrace their differences and share their unique insights and perspectives with the world.