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Neurodivergence is "a biological truism that refers to the limitless variability
of human nervous systems on the planet, in which no two can ever be exactly
alike due to the influence of environmental factors"
- Sociologist Judy Singer

While neurodiversity was originally coined by Singer to refer specifically to
people who are autistic (as is she), the term has broadened in years since.
Neurodivergence now refers to consistent ways in which brains work differently
for a group of people than they do for the majority of others.  For example, autism,
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and others are considered to be

How does neurodiversity show up for each person? 

Excellent question. I like to conceptualize neurodiversity as comprised of three separate parts. For background, this idea came to me as I was recalling paging through my grandmothers encyclopedias when I was younger. I really like the one about whales (because whales are awesome) and the one on human anatomy that contained the transparencies where you could overlay different parts from the skeleton to muscles to circulatory system to skin/clothes. 


When I conceptualize neurodiversity, I think of it like those transparencies. The skeleton is a metaphor for the diagnostic criteria as outlined in the DSM. You then overlay this with the musculature system, which includes the things that the person experiences that may or may not be a part of the DSM criteria. Finally, the overlay with the skin/clothes represents the mask or the concept of self that one presents to the neuro-majority. 

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The diagnostic criteria

Features of their neurodiversity

The person (mask) that is presented to the world

ND Topics of Interest


Neurodiversity Primers 

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What is Autism? A Primer

Autism is a form of neurodiversity that is characterized by two main features:
differences in social communication and preferred interests and routine

What is ADHD? A Primer

ADHD is a form of neurodiversity that is characterized by differences in
modulating attention and/or impulsivity or hyperactivity 


Neurodiversity Features

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Sensory System Differences

Neurodiversity is often associated with differences in how sensory information is processed

A look at why providing time to process during conversations is important, in addition to the importance of being direct and correct

Conversation Differences


Social Perception 

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Rejection Sensitivity

A phenomenon that many ND individuals experience, which is an intense emotional reaction to real or perceived criticism or rejection

Demand Autonomy

A powerful drive for autonomy (PDA) that is characterized by an anxious reaction to demands


Burnout and Dysregulation

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Autistic Burnout

“Autistic burnout” has been used for a long time by members of the autistic community to describe the negative impact of living in a world set-up for neurotypical people

Emotional (Dys)regulation

Why are neurodivergent individuals more susceptible to emotional dysregulation?


Double Empathy Problem 

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Double Empathy Problem

What is the double empathy problem? Let a squirrel and octopus explain.

So important it deserves its own section!


Neurodiversity Resources

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ND Websites

Websites for organizations or societies that provide resources, support, and information on Autism or ADHD

ND Resources

A collection of strategies or worksheets tailored to the ND experience

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