What Does Neurodiversity Mean? Am I Neurodivergent?

What Does Neurodiversity Mean? Am I Neurodivergent?


What does the word mean to you? This has become a popular buzz term in recent years as we look for more meaningful ways to define the thoughts and feelings we have and how they differ from others.

On its face, the word itself presents us with a relatively clear definition – neuro refers to the brain and nervous system and diversity refers to variety or complexities in a group.

Millennials and Gen Z patients often focus on the idea of neurodiversity and consider the possibility of they, themselves, being “neurodivergent.” While some people genuinely are, the best pathway to the answers you are looking for requires an understanding of these terms and whether or not they apply to your specific situation.

Defining Neurodiversity and Neurodivergent

Doctors with the Harvard Medical School say neurodiversity “describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits.”

The Cleveland Clinic defines neurodivergent as “a nonmedical term that describes people whose brains develop or work differently …. This means the person has different strengths and struggles from people whose brains develop or work more typically. While some people who are neurodivergent have medical conditions, it also happens to people where a medical condition or diagnosis hasn’t been identified.”

In diving into these deeper definitions of each term, we see a theme of being different without necessarily having a “deficit” or even needing a medical condition or diagnosis to be the root cause of any divergence.

How Do I Know If I Am Neurodivergent?

So, how do you know if you actually fall into this category? There are a number of people who “self-diagnose” as neurodivergent without truly understanding what it means or whether or not they actually are.

Neurodivergence is not as simple as just thinking differently about a topic or a way of doing things. Neurodivergence is more about how you think than what you think. People with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette Syndrome, and similar diagnoses fall into the category of neurodivergent.

Believing that the world should work differently or having taken extra time to learn in school does not automatically mean you are neurodivergent. Caring for our mental health and improving our brain chemistry must come from a place of genuine understanding and care. Treating circumstances that don’t exist will hinder meaningful progress.

At Integrated Therapies, we work with a wide range of people who come from a wide variety of places (both physically and mentally). We work with clients who are considered “neurotypical,” “neurodivergent,” and anywhere in between. Our goal is to treat the person you truly are so you can become the person you truly want to be. Contact us and let’s take the walk together.