The word ‘neurodivergent’ was first coined by sociologist Judy Singer in the late 90’s and has expanded and evolved since then. Different suffixes and ways of using the word have emerged as well. The term ‘neurodiverse’ has only become more common in the mainstream for a few years now. So the way it can be used in the English language can be... well… a bit messy at times.
Neurodiverse is an umbrella word that encompasses a variety of conditions, including autism, ADHD, OCD, and dyslexia, to mention a few. The term also acknowledges that every brain is unique and has different ways to digest new information. The neurodiverse label tends to be used by people who have those conditions because it combines them all together and simplifies things if they have more than one of the conditions specified.
So, how does one figure out whether you are neurodiverse?
The most pragmatic method is to keep a diary of what you notice and then visit your GP, who will schedule an appointment with a psychologist for you. Keep in mind that depending on where one lives, referrals might take anywhere from a month to a year. While free online quizzes can be a good predictor of what conditions one might have, they are not a substitute for a clinical diagnosis.
Let's say for example a person has ADHD. They also realise that they struggle understanding number concepts and performing calculations. They believe they may have Dyscalculia as well. That is neurodiverse, because many of the conditions stated in the neurodiversity circle have a lot of overlap. Different conditions may have similarities, but it is also common for people to have more than one neurodiversity as mentioned above.
One might not realise they are neurodiverse until they see minor quirks about themself that only show up in specific contexts or situations. A lot of people explore the idea of being neurodiverse when they move away from home and have roommates for the first time. They consider their observations and turn to the internet for answers to the questions that have been poking at them. Remember that the internet should only be used as a starting point. Taking one’s observations and conclusions to a doctor to have them further explored is always a good idea.
It's been suggested that everyone is a little neurodiverse. Neurodiversity has increasingly become celebrated and embraced in recent years, but we still have a long way to go in terms of better understanding neurodiverse conditions and accommodating it in everyday life. But, as a society, we are taking small actions to ensure that we achieve that goal. The internet has made it easier for people to find the groups and communities to join and to seek help in living the best possible life.