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1. What does the psychological term, "neurodivergence" mean?

Neurodivergence is new and growing term used to  describe people whose brain develops and think differently. These differences in thinking can create strengths and struggles as compared to neurotypical people.

This neurodiversity paradigm reframes conditions including autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities, as beneficial forms of cognitive and emotional diversity.  Autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are all developmental neuropsychiatric  conditions usually show symptoms in the first years of life. Further, all of them demonstrate patterns of differences on brain imaging. Many believe these differences may contribute to differences in thinking.

People with these conditions appears to think about information differently. For example, ADHD has less rigid thinking allowing them to see connections other can’t.

2. Please explain the two categories of neurodiversity: neurotypical and neurodivergent.

In contrast to neurodivergent, neurotypical refers to those with what's considered normal or mainstream cognitive functioning. Neurodiversity as a concept was coined by sociologist Judy Singer, in the 1990s. She saw this an social justice issue to encourage the view that neurodiverse brains are just differences in thinking, rather than being different a deficit.

3. What are the types of neurodivergence? (please explain autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc.)

Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a developmental condition with differences in the brain. It begins as early as 18 months and generally lasts a lifetime, though symptoms can improve with time. Those with autism are neurodivergent in the ways they communicate, learn, and behave.

ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a common neuro developmental condition which fundamentally presents as a difficulty to remain focused and manage impulses. ADHD can show symptoms under age 5, but many aren't diagnosed until adulthood, and it can last a lifetime.

Dyslexia is a neurodivergent condition which is the result of language processing differences in the brain. Those with dyslexia learn differently regarding speech and reading. It begins at early age, but may not be recognized until adulthood.

4. What are signs you are neurodivergent?
Autism, ADHD and dyslexia are all highly heritable and likely have genetic origins.  Those neurodivergent often have an immediate family member or a sibling with the same condition.

At an early age, if you have difficulty learning in a traditional classroom environment, you should be evaluated for neurodivergence condition. Undiagnosed neurodivergent adults were able to pass as neurotypical as early stages in life or academics may face difficulties managing professional and interpersonal obligations may want to get evaluated as well

Supporting through treatment and understanding neurodivergence at an early age is important. Lack of treatment can lead to poor academic performance (due to difficulties with traditional learning settings) and a range of mental health conditions in the long term, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

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