The Meaning of Neurodiversity

Exploring the significance of the neurodiversity movement

Jillian Enright
neurodiversified
Published in
7 min readAug 30, 2021

--

Created by author

What is Neurodiversity?

The concept of neurodiversity usually refers to perceived variations seen in cognitive, affectual, and sensory functioning differing from the majority of the general population or ‘predominant neurotype’, more usually known as the ‘neurotypical’ population” (Rosqvist et al., 2020).

There are two primary models of neurodiversity, but they really complement each other rather than exist as separate entities.

The meaning will differ slightly for each individual who identifies as being neurodivergent, based on how they perceive themselves and what framework works best for them.

Created by author

The Ecological Model

The ecological model, previously described by Harvey Blume (1998), reframes neurocognitive diversity as a normal and healthy manifestation of biodiversity.

Just as biodiversity is critical to the health of ecosystems, neurodiversity asserts that neurological variation is not only natural, but is central to the success of the human species.

As Dr. Nick Walker stated in her new book, Neuroqueer Heresies:

“Neurodiversity is a natural, healthy, and important form of human biodiversity — a fundamental and vital characteristic of the human species, a crucial source of evolutionary and creative potential.”

— Dr. Nick Walker

The greater the biodiversity within an ecosystem, the more stable, adaptable and sustainable that system is. It follows that the more neurodiversity is respected and facilitated within a culture, the more stable, adaptable and sustainable that culture is.

Simply put, the ecological model of neurodiversity is the idea that we need changes and differences in our neurotypes for the health of humankind (à la biodiversity and evolution).

--

--

Jillian Enright
neurodiversified

She/they. Neurodivergent, 20+ yrs SW & Psych. experience. I write about mental health, neurodiversity, education, and parenting. Founder of Neurodiversity MB.