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Neurodiversity: What is it?

Neurodiversity is a movement that celebrates differences in thinking. The goal of the neurodiversity movement is to embrace differences and accept and include ALL people. Every person has a wide range of what they excel at and what is challenging for them. Imagine a toggle switch with individual toggles for various skills like written communication, playing with others, independence with self-care, ability to use coping skills consistently, etc. Where would the toggle switch point for each skill if this toggle switch represents you? I would toggle low with playing with others (extreme introvert), toggle higher on written communication, and toggle lower with coping skills (I tend to hold it all in and finally explode with emotion). These weaknesses don’t define me as a person; instead, I have learned to rely on my strengths and use strategies to help me get through the harder stuff. This is what Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) should be all about…. not changing the individual but teaching strategies and supporting them.

I am a huge lover of board games and I remember playing a game called “Revolution” and winning by a landslide. I was so proud of myself and when asked what my strategy was, it was simply that my brain worked differently, and I made different choices than the group. The other players often made the same decisions, which resulted in them knocking each other out, leaving me to win by a landslide. When you think about unique brains throughout history and how these individuals used their different ways of thinking to contribute art, mathematics, technology, design, architecture, and more to benefit society, you realize that different thinking leads to positive changes in our world. The moral of the story? BE YOURSELF and celebrate what makes you unique.

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