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Am I Neurodivergent? Types of Neurodiversity and What You Should Know

am i neurodivergent?

As awareness of neurodiversity has expanded through social media trends and broader cultural discussions, an increasing number of people are asking the question, “Am I neurodivergent?” While it’s true that each of us perceives the world in our own unique way, for some, the differences in how they think, learn, and interact are pronounced enough to be considered neurodivergent.

So where exactly do we draw the line, and how can you tell if you’re neurodivergent? In this blog we’ll discuss signs of neurodivergence, what neurodivergence might mean for you, and how you can understand your neurodivergence.

 

Understanding Neurodivergence

Neurodiversity is a perspective that frames neurological differences as normal and natural variations within the human population. We all land somewhere on the spectrum, however beyond a certain point of neurodivergence we may find it more difficult to thrive in a world that is created for the “average” mind. It’s important to emphasize that neurodivergent does not mean less than in any way, just different. These differences should not be viewed as deficits, but as variations that have their own strengths and challenges.

The term “neurodivergent” specifically refers to individuals whose neurological development and functioning are divergent from societal standards typically recognized as ‘neurotypical’. These individuals may have different ways of perceiving, learning, or processing. Sometimes it may be obvious that an individual is neurodivergent, but many neurodivergent people present outwardly as totally ordinary, and may even not realize there is anything different about themselves.

 

Neurotypical vs. Neurodivergent

To understand neurodivergence, it’s crucial to comprehend what being neurotypical entails. Neurotypical individuals generally develop, learn, and process information in ways that conform to the societal norm. In contrast, neurodivergent individuals often experience, perceive, and interact with the world in ways that are distinct from these norms. This can affect everything from learning and attention to social interaction and emotional regulation.

 

Types of Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity encompasses a spectrum of neurological conditions, each with unique characteristics:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): ASD is characterized by diverse presentations in social communication, behavior patterns, and sensory sensitivities. Individuals on the autism spectrum may vary greatly in their abilities to communicate and navigate within the world. Some may need help in their daily lives while others are quite capable of leading independent lives.
  2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This condition is marked by inattention, impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity. Despite these challenges, many with ADHD are known for their exceptional creativity, energy, and ability to think quickly in changing situations. Read more about ADHD here.
  3. Dyslexia and Other Learning Disorders: Dyslexia primarily affects reading and language processing abilities, while other disorders, such as dyscalculia and dysgraphia, impact math and writing skills, respectively. These conditions do not reflect overall intelligence; rather, they indicate differences in information processing.
  4. Tourette Syndrome: Individuals with Tourette Syndrome experience sudden, involuntary movements and/or sounds, called tics. Some individuals may experience Coprolalia, the uncontrolled utterance of obscene words or inappropriate remarks.
  5. Other Neurological Conditions: Conditions such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), epilepsy, and sensory processing disorders also fall under the broader umbrella of neurodiversity, each contributing its own set of challenges and insights into the neurodivergent experience.

 

Is Depression Neurodivergent?

Depression is not usually considered neurodivergent, as it does not involve a divergent way of learning or interacting in the world. While neurodiversity typically refers to developmental and neurological conditions, there is an overlap between mental health issues and neurodivergence. Conditions like depression and anxiety are more prevalent among neurodivergent populations. Understanding this overlap is crucial for addressing mental health within the context of neurodivergence, ensuring holistic support and intervention.

 

signs of neurodivergence

 

Recognizing Signs of Neurodivergence

Identifying neurodivergence involves observing various personal traits and behaviors:

  • Social Interaction: Deviations in understanding and following social norms, or a preference for solitude.
  • Learning Preferences: Challenges with traditional educational models or exceptional skills in specific academic or creative fields.
  • Sensory Sensitivities: Unusual under- or over-sensitivity to physical stimuli such as sound, light, or touch.
  • Attention Variability: Inclinations towards intense focus on specific interests or scattered attention in less engaging tasks.
  • Emotional Dynamics: Heightened emotional responses or difficulties with emotional regulation.

 

Steps Toward Understanding Your Neurodivergence

For those exploring their potential neurodivergence, consider these approaches:

  1. Reflect on Your Experiences: Monitor your daily interactions, emotional responses, and learning experiences. Keeping a detailed journal can help identify patterns indicative of neurodivergence.
  2. Research and Education: Engage with literature, documentaries, and online resources to learn about different forms of neurodiversity. Knowledge is power when it comes to understanding oneself.
  3. Consultation with Professionals: A formal diagnosis from a healthcare professional can clarify your neurodivergent status and open up pathways for support such as tailored therapy or educational adjustments.
  4. Community Connection: Link with community groups, online forums, and local organizations dedicated to neurodiversity. Sharing experiences with others who have similar journeys can provide support and validation.

 

The professionals at The Truism Center can help you develop the right coping mechanisms and management strategy for whatever you’re experiencing. We have counseling centers that provide guidance on neurodiversity in Grand Rapids, Grandville, Commerce Township, Troy, and an online virtual office for those who prefer counseling in the comfort of their own homes. Click here to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

 

Conclusion

Exploring whether you are neurodivergent is more than a journey of identification—it’s about embracing your unique perspective on the world. Recognizing and understanding the different expressions of neurodiversity not only enhances personal growth but also fosters greater empathy and inclusivity in society. Whether you identify as neurotypical or neurodivergent, appreciating the wide spectrum of human experience is vital for building supportive and understanding communities.

 

 

 

Robb Kornoelje is the owner of The Truism Center, a relationship enthusiast, and the creator of the “30-Day Relationship Challenge.” This 30-day, fully online email course offers gentle guidance to identify behaviors causing trouble, find ease with emotions, and enhance self-awareness. With a focus on stress-free communication, the challenge encourages a stronger connection with others, nurturing compassion, and fostering forgiveness. Join Robb on this journey to improve the fabric of your relationships—one day at a time.

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