Is Rising Neurodivergence a Natural Part Of Human Evolution?

Being more focused and more creative may be the way of humanity’s future

Jeff Hayward
Counter Arts
Published in
4 min readJan 9, 2023

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by author using Midjourney v4

Those diagnosed on the autism spectrum are often thought of as being “divergent” — in other words, different. They react to environments/other people in different ways than their neurotypical colleagues. But what if being neurodivergent is not so much being “different”, as it is our collective future?

Sure, it may sound far-fetched, and I’m no scientific researcher with a PhD. But let’s look at some trends. The CDC shows that the number of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses has risen sharply since 2000, when the rate was 1 in 150 children. 2018 data shows that number has grown significantly to 1 in 44 — in less than two decades.

Of course, we now have better diagnostic tools and criteria than we did prior to 2000. But if we look ahead to 2050, it’s estimated that about half of all kids will have an ASD diagnosis. The number of adults on the spectrum is also rising because of this, as they’re only now getting the diagnosis that they should’ve received as a kid.

A disorder, or a strength?

However, could it be that autism and the other conditions aren’t a “disorder” as they’re often classified. There…

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Jeff Hayward
Counter Arts

Ex-reporter. AI critic. Nostalgia lover. Follow my publications Ai-Ai-OH and NOSTALGIACS.