What if we lived in a world where every individual’s strengths were recognized and valued, regardless of how their brain works? What if employers and colleges recognized the specific skills and talents of individuals with Autism or other neurological differences? Imagine if these characteristics were celebrated? This is what the neurodiversity movement hopes to achieve. The term neurodiversity refers to the concept of embracing everyone regardless of how their brain may function or the existence of a neurological diagnosis. Here are a few ways that you can practice neurodiversity in your life.
Consider including people who think or do things differently than you.
Whether it is in your personal or professional friendships or relationships, consider including people who might be different from you in the way they think, communicate or act. Don’t immediately dismiss individuals with Autism, learning differences, or other diagnoses.
See the value in people with neurological diagnoses.
It is not enough to simply be kind to someone with Autism or another diagnosis. It is important to see them as another human being who could add value to your life. Ask for their input or opinion and treat them the way that you may treat other friends or employees.
Find the middle ground between accommodating and accountability.
It’s important to create an environment where people feel supported. If you can reasonably provide accommodations for someone, then I encourage that. For example, extended time on tests is a reasonable accommodation for a college student with Autism. However, it is important to hold people with Autism or other neurological differences to the same standard as other friends or employees. Hold them accountable for mistakes. This will be more beneficial to people than excusing certain behaviors. This also shows that you believe that they are capable of personal and professional growth.
Growing up with a learning difference, I always saw my diagnosis as a barrier to what I wanted in life. I ended up using my experience with it to develop a career of supporting others who have similar diagnoses. I know that it made me work harder to succeed. It also gave me a unique way of thinking and seeing the world and I eventually saw it as a gift rather than a curse. This is why I believe that the neurodiversity movement is important. I believe that the world becomes better when we begin to celebrate the ways that we are different. This gives us room to connect as humans who have universal similarities as well.
Educate yourself on Autism and other neurological differences.
To learn more about the neurodiversity movement I included a few links below to resources that describe the concept: