For me, ‘Neurodiversity’ suggests a diverse (broad, varied) range of ways of thinking and experiencing the world.
Some people take ‘Neurodiverse’ (or ‘ND’) as a personal identity, a way of labelling themselves and identifying with others who may share similar experiences.
There is much debate about whether anyone (or everyone!) can be described as Neurodiverse, or if this label should be reserved for those of us with specific diagnoses – e.g. Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADD/ADHD and so on.
Both personally and professionally, I prefer to meet individuals as I find them and to understand how they see the world from their point of view – without relying on diagnoses and ‘disorders’.
For sure, some people find diagnostic labels really helpful, allowing them to ‘pin down’ and ‘own’ their experience. For others, diagnostic labels are hurtful, limiting, or simply fail to describe the richness of their lives. I respect how an individual holds their own labels – diagnosed, suspected, hoped for or rejected.
If you consider yourself to be Neurodiverse, if you have a specific diagnosis (or wonder if one might apply to you) – you might be interested to know that I do consider myself to be Neurodiverse, I carry my own diagnostic labels, and I also have a background in ASD’s (Autism Spectrum Disorders) in academia.
I work with a range of individuals who identify as Neurodiverse, and/or who present with specific diagnoses. I believe there is something uniquely rewarding for ND’s (Neurodiverse folk) in working with a therapist who is also ND, and knows something of the ‘territory’. If that sounds like you, I’d encourage you to consider working with a therapist who understands and has a background in Neurodiversity (whether that’s myself, or a colleague).
As a Gender-Queer and Non-Binary person, I’m also particularly interested in the overlap between gender variance and neurodiversity. Research (and lived experience!) shows that gender variance is more common amongst ND people than it is in the general population, and vice versa (neurodiversity is more common amongst trans, gender-queer and NB folk than it is amongst the cisgender population). I’m not aware that anyone has convincingly demonstrated why this might be the case. Certainly many (but not all!) of my ND clients are also LGBTQ.
Here (below) is a video where I discuss ND and LGBTQ identities with Vajralila, a Director at the clinic where I work…