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Neurodiversity

History: – Term “neurodiversity” coined in 1998 by journalist Harvey Blume – Popularized by social scientist Judy Singer in 1999 – Foundation laid by autistic […]

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History:
– Term “neurodiversity” coined in 1998 by journalist Harvey Blume
– Popularized by social scientist Judy Singer in 1999
– Foundation laid by autistic advocate Jim Sinclair in 1993
– Neurodiversity tied to uniqueness of all brains
– Neurodiversity approach gaining traction in scientific community

Neurotypical:
– Term “neurotypical” used for those with typical neurotype
– Widely adopted in neurodiversity movement and scientific community
– Early definitions excluded individuals with neurocognitive disorders
– Contrasted with “neurodivergent” for atypical traits
– Some prefer term “allistic” to mean not autistic

Double empathy problem theory:
– Autistic and non-autistic people may struggle to empathize with each other
– Double empathy problem theory suggests differences in experiences hinder understanding
– Conceived by autistic scholar Damian Milton in 2012
– Autistic individuals build rapport better with other autistic individuals
– Implies no simple fix to improve empathy between groups

Term:
– “Neurotypical” used to describe those without autism
– Early satirical uses evolved into unironic adoption
– Excludes individuals with neurocognitive or mental disorders
– Contrasted with “neurodivergent” for atypical traits
– Some prefer “allistic” to denote not autistic

Controversies:
– Neurodiversity framework views cognitive variation as normal
– Opponents argue it risks downplaying suffering associated with disabilities
– Calls for acceptance of traits some wish to treat
– Medicalizing approach can contribute to stigma
– Trait-based approach suggested for treating harmful conditions

Intervention:
– New intervention strategies developed based on neurodiversity
– Reform of existing intervention strategies with neurodiversity approach
– Some studies suggest higher levels of masking linked to poorer mental health outcomes in autistic individuals
– Psychoeducation based on medical model associated with higher stigma
– Focus on biological research in autism community may not align with community priorities

Neurodiversity (Wikipedia)

Neurodiversity is a framework for understanding human brain function and mental illness. It argues that diversity in human cognition is normal and that some conditions classified as mental disorders are differences and disabilities that are not necessarily pathological.

Autistic art depicting the natural diversity of human minds

The framework grew out of the autism rights movement and builds on the social model of disability, arguing that disability partly arises from societal barriers, rather than attributing disability purely to inherent deficits. It instead situates human cognitive variation in the context of biodiversity and the politics of minority groups. Some neurodiversity advocates and researchers argue that the neurodiversity paradigm is the middle ground between a strong medical model and a strong social model.

The neurodiversity paradigm has been controversial among disability advocates, with opponents arguing it risks downplaying the suffering associated with some disabilities, and that it calls for the acceptance of things some would wish to be treated.

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