ADHD, autism, AuDHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, tourette are all part of what is defined at the neurodivergent spectrum, and is often offered in opposition with the term neurotypical. But that in itself is quite problematic, as it creates a divisive approach to what is effectively a shared human experience.
I love talking about neurodiversity as the realm that we all inhabit. That new kid in diversity town brings along a much needed breath of positive attitude.
We are all different on the outside, so why would we expect to all be identical on the inside?
And what a sad world would it be if indeed we all thought the same!
Far from implying that these conditions (please can we stop calling them disorders) cannot be challenging at the best of times. But we have to understand why that is. The world we live in is overall geared for the neurotypicals among us. What is neurotypical though? Isn’t that another type of brain flavour? What if we recognised that, like their neurodivergent cousins, being a typical thinking has its own challenges. For the more ‘neuro-conformists’, following rules might be all well and dandy, but breaking the mould of expectations can feel like an impossible task. And that’s ok.
The beauty of shifting the spectrum dialogue to neurodiversity is that it enables all of us to examine our own unique traits that make us thinking sentient beings, and levels out the division that is all too often the norm in this world. And it also allows neurodivergence to gain a place back at the top table of reinventing our world for the better.
SKR described creativity as putting your imagination to work, the ability to bring to mind things that aren’t present to our senses. And of course, this is exactly why thinking ‘otherly’ is so very valuable. Because each unique way to reshuffle ideas and concepts is another door to insights and innovations, a step in the direction of progress.
If we want to stand any hope of bringing the crucial changes that our immediate future requires, we are going to need all the talent we can muster across our spectrum of humanity: the visualisers thinkers, visionaries, dreamers and imaginers, the nurturers, resilient champions, straight talkers, and yes, also steady conformists.
When we embrace neurodiversity on the same levelling field as all other types of diversity, we are allowing every single one of us to present a fuller picture of what it is to be human. And the sooner we shed the fear of the other, the sooner we can come together, as different as we are, to solve the challenges ahead. For it’s by exchanging ideas in and out of our own bubbles that the most creative opportunities lie.