What is Neurodiversity?
"Neurodiversity" is a term used to describe that all brains work differently. No two brains are the same. Even very similar brains, like those of identical twins, are different because each person's bodies and behaviors develop in a unique way due to the experiences they have through their life. Neurodiversity is not a term that is used to describe everyone, but usually folks who have a medically diagnosed condition that influences the way that person experiences the world, processes information, and behaves. For example, a person with diagnoses like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia might describe themselves as being "neurodivergent." However, there is no definitive list of what diagnoses are "neurodivergent" because it is not a medical term.
Those who describe themselves as neurodivergent do not see it as something "bad" or use it to describe themselves as having substantially more "deficits" than someone else. Rather, it is used to describe the importance of accepting ALL abilities. People are different from others - even those with the same diagnosis. For example, someone with ASD might have a harder time understanding body language than a "neurotypical" peer but is much better at staying focused on a preferred topic than their neurotypical peer. Another example might be someone with dyslexia who struggles to read quickly but does much better at designing 3D devices.
At MNABA, we encourage all families, community members, and service providers to learn more about neurodiversity so they can support all people in finding adaptive and uplifting ways to help others use their strengths, find support for areas of difficulty, and feel valued and respected for the unique perspectives they bring.
MNABA's Efforts to Support Neurodiversity
At MNABA, we are working to support and encourage neurodiversity by uplifting voices that promote a diverse and inclusive understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis. We have used this section on our website to help others access articles, CEUs, and people who can help practitioners, families, and communities gain a broader understanding of what it might mean to be a neurodivergent person and how to better support the neurodivergent folks in your life. Join us in learning more using some of the resources below.