Neurocosmopolitanism a site dedicated to furthering understanding of Neurodiversity ND gives as few Basic Terms & Definitions
New paradigms often require a bit of new language. This is certainly the case with the Neurodiversity ND paradigm – even the word neurodiversity itself is still relatively new, dating back only to the late 1990s.
The author says “I see many people – scholars, journalists, bloggers, internet commenters, and even people who identify as Neurodiversity ND activists – get confused about the terminology around neurodiversity” The misunderstanding and incorrect usage of certain terms often results in poor and clumsy communication of the message, and propagation of further confusion (including other confused people imitating their errors).
For those of us who seek to propagate and build upon the Neurodiversity ND paradigm – especially those of us who are producing writing on neurodiversity – it’s vital that we maintain some basic clarity and consistency of language, for the sake of effective communication among ourselves and with our broader audiences. Clarity of language supports clarity of understanding.
What It Means:
Neurodiversity ND is the diversity of human brains and minds – the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.
What It Doesn’t Mean:
Neurodiversity is a biological fact. 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.
Neurodiversity is not a political or social activist movement. That’s theNeurodiversity Movement (see below), not neurodiversity itself.
Neurodiversity ND is not a trait that any individual possesses. Diversity is a trait possessed by a group, not an individual. When an individual diverges from the dominant societal standards of “normal” neurocognitive functioning, they don’t “have neurodiversity,” they’re neurodivergent(see below)
Example of Correct Usage:
“Our school offers multiple learning strategies to accommodate the neurodiversity of our student body.”
Examples of Incorrect Usage:
“Neurodiversity claims that…”
This writer is actually trying to talk about either the neurodiversity paradigm or the Neurodiversity Movement. Neurodiversity, as a biological characteristic of the species, can’t “claim” anything, any more than variations in human skin pigmentation can “claim” something.
“Neurodiversity is a load of nonsense.”
Really? 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. And if we all thought alike, the world would be a very different place indeed. The person who wrote this sentence was probably trying to object to the neurodiversity paradigmand/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.
“My neurodiversity makes it hard for me to cope with school.”
The correct word here would be neurodivergence, rather than neurodiversity. Individuals diverge; groups are diverse.