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What Is…Neurodiversity? Celebrating Neurodivergence at Loughborough College

Posted: 19th March 2024 - 5:31pm

Neurodiversity celebrates the natural variation of brain function, recognising the individual ways people have of thinking, learning, and experiencing the world. Highlighting neurodiversity advocates for the inclusion and acceptance of all neurotypes,

including Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, OCD, and more.

In the first of a series of blogs showcasing the variety of neurodiversity, and the importance for advocating for neurodivergent individuals, we spoke to Higher Education Teacher Development Lead, James Keith about what neurodiversity means.

Can you describe what the term neurodiverse means?

A good starting point is to make an initial distinction between two key terms: neurodiverse & neurodivergent. There is a wider debate into the specifics of the terms, but here’s a starting point that is generally agreed upon:

Neurodiversity (or ‘neurodiverse’) is generally understood as an umbrella term for the concept that the way our brains operate are a natural part of human variation. You could think of neurodiversity almost like a garden with a wide variety of plants.

Neurodivergent (or ‘neurodivergence’), on the other hand, refers to individuals whose cognitive functioning might be different from the dominant standard or what is seen as ‘normal’. This term frequency refers to individuals with Autism, but it also includes ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and others. You could think of neurodivergence as a unique plant within a garden that has more common varieties.

To summarise, while neurodiversity is the garden – a mix of different plants – neurodivergent is the individual plant that might stand out from the rest. Both however are part of the natural diversity of life and the way in which our brains work!

Keep an eye out for our next blog marking Neurodiversity Celebration Week coming later this week!

Read Blog 2 - Ways to Support our Neurodiverse Community

Read Blog 3 - Key Resources for Accessing Support