Neurodiversity is a concept that has been gaining increased attention recently. It prioritizes the understanding and acceptance of neurological differences rather than viewing them through a lens of normalcy. Specifically, neurodiversity refers to the range of differences in brain function and alternative developmental conditions. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of these developmental conditions that fall under the umbrella of neurodiversity. While autism is the most common neurodivergent condition, there are many other conditions that can also be included in this classification.
If you’ve never heard the term “neurodivergent” before, don’t worry. When people speak of neurodiversity, they are referring to the idea that different brains work differently. No two neurodiversities manifest in the same way, and people with such differences should be accepted and celebrated for who they are. Neurodivergent individuals often have diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or bipolar disorder, among others. An increasing number of neurodiversity movements have emerged as advocacy groups pushing for neurodivergent people to be recognized, not scorned.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neuridivergence
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a wide-spectrum developmental condition that involves difficulty in a range of areas, including:
- Social interactions
- Repetitive behaviors
- Sensory processing
It affects people in different ways and can range from mild to severe, depending on the individual. People who identify as neurodivergent may have some characteristics associated with ASD or one of the many other conditions that fall under the term.
The Stigma Surrounding Autism and Treatment
Despite increased attention to the concept of neurodiversity, many people stigmatize individuals with autism spectrum disorder. It is sometimes viewed as a “burden” or a “disability” that limits a person’s potential rather than an atypical condition that can be celebrated. Such viewpoints often limit an ASD individual’s societal participation, reducing their opportunities for social and occupational integration.
Fortunately, there are treatments available to help individuals on the autism spectrum. Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is one such treatment that can be used to teach social and communication skills, as well as reduce challenging behaviors. ABA uses positive reinforcement to encourage desirable behavior, allowing ASD children to learn how to interact with their environment in a more appropriate manner.
What Does Neurodivergent Mean for Those Who Identify With It?
The rise of neurodiversity has opened up many opportunities for those who identify as neurodivergent. It is becoming more widely accepted that everyone’s brain works differently, and these differences should be seen not as impediments but as assets. People with autism spectrum disorder are often highly intelligent, creative, and have the capacity to excel in a variety of fields.
Thanks to increased awareness of neurodiversity, more resources are becoming available for people with ASD. Schools and employers are starting to recognize that individuals on the autism spectrum can be an asset to their organization. Neurodivergent individuals should not be restricted by outdated perceptions of what they can and cannot do but instead should be empowered to reach their full potential.
Call Rising Above ABA Today for Functional Behavioral Assessments
Rising Above ABA offers functional behavioral assessments that can help parents better understand their child’s needs. We provide a safe, supportive environment for children of all ages and abilities to learn and grow. Our goal is to ensure that each individual receives the highest quality of care and has access to resources that will help them reach their full potential.