Neurodivergent Versus Neurotypical-The Personal Side

Last month we started unpacking what the term “neurodivergent” means. The word neurodivergent was coined in 1998 by a sociologist named Judy Singer who wanted to point out that each person’s brain is uniquely developed.

A neurodivergent person has different strengths and weaknesses. Some people who are neurodivergent may have a better memory, be better at communicating online, demonstrate exceptional concentration, have above average reasoning, quickly understand patterns, be better able to mentally picture 3D objects and excel at art and graphic design. On the flip side, some may have trouble with face-to-face communication, loud noises, social settings and other sensory issues.

Just as no two human brains are alike, no two people who identify as neurodivergent are the same. Even though members of the neurodiverse community have varying strengths and weaknesses, there are some common ways members of this community have expressed appreciating support. Some ways that you can support the neurodivergent community include:

–Communicate in their preferred way. Some people who are neurodivergent prefer written communication, texting or emails versus face-to-face communication.

–Don’t stereotype. Remember that no two neurodivergent people are the same.

–Demonstrate respect. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

–Be inquisitive. Ask the neurodivergent people in your circle how you can best support them.

Some studies estimate that up to 10% of the population is neurodiverse. If this is true, the likelihood that you work with, go to school with or live next to someone who is neurodiverse is high. As such, think about the people you see on a daily basis. Do you think any of them could be neurodivergent? While I don’t recommend asking them directly about this, you could consider asking those in your circle if there are ways you can support them. For example, you could say, “Do you prefer we meet about this or that I send you an email”?

If you are neurodivergent or just having a hard time in life in general, we can help. Our knowledgeable licensed mental health therapists can help you learn about your individual strengths and your challenges. Additionally, we can help you learn how to address your challenges so that you move through life feeling engaged and successful. If you would like to speak with a counselor, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey