People have different brains, and some of these differences create challenges in a world that is created for neurotypical people. Some of these differences, such as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD can also make people more creative and productive.
But figuring out if you’re neurodivergent isn’t as simple as checking off a list of symptoms1. You need to compare your personality and thought process to those of other people.
What is neurodivergence?
The neurodivergence movement calls for mental differences to be celebrated, just like any other kind of human variation like gender or ethnicity. People who are neurodivergent may have difficulty communicating or understanding social cues, but they also have unique skills that could help them excel in certain industries or academic fields.
People who have neurodivergence experience their world differently than those without it, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to lead happy and fulfilling lives. They just need a little more understanding from their peers and a lot of support from specialists, like Jade Autism.
Neurodivergence is a term that was first used by sociologist Judy Singer in the 1990s. She wanted to replace the idea that people with autism were disabled by pointing out that their brains simply work differently than everyone else’s.
There are a number of different conditions that fall under the neurodivergence umbrella, including ADHD, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder and dyslexia. Individuals with these conditions may have trouble learning or remembering things, find it hard to communicate their thoughts or feelings, or exhibit self-soothing behaviors, such as rocking or irregular hand movements.
However, neurodivergent individuals can still have many strengths and can contribute to the workforce in ways that make the company more productive. The key is for employers to understand that these differences shouldn’t be seen as a disability, and to instead view them as something to be celebrated.
Some people with neurodivergent tendencies have a harder time coping with their differences in the workplace, especially if they don’t have the right resources or support. This can cause them to mask their personality, which stops them from performing at their best and can cause a lot of stress.
The good news is that the neurodivergence movement is changing this. More and more organisations are offering telework, flexible working hours and customised workspaces to cater for the needs of their employees with neurodivergent tendencies. This way, the person can feel comfortable and confident in their job and can focus on doing their best, which benefits the company as a whole.
How do I know if I’m neurodivergent?
You’re likely to be neurodivergent if you have been diagnosed with a developmental disorder or learning disability like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome and so on. However, you may also be neurodivergent if you have no diagnosis but think and behave differently from the mainstream in some way, such as being more sensitive to sensory input or having more creativity.
Children can be a good indicator of whether someone is neurodivergent because they tend to fixate on things or repeat actions (like moving toys). However, the signs of neurodivergence are different in adults and vary based on conditions. Adults might notice that they’re more sensitive to certain textures or have a hard time socializing. It’s important for parents to recognise and understand these traits in their children so they can take action if necessary, such as seeking help from a therapist or doctor.
There is no official test to determine if you’re neurodivergent, but there are many online quizzes and tests that can help. Some of these include neurodivergent music tests, sensitivity tests and autism spectrum quizzes. However, it’s important to remember that ‘neurodivergent’ isn’t a medical term and that even people with the same condition can have very different symptoms.
A lot of the time, neurodivergent people are very content with who they are. They may seem quirky or unusual to those around them, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. People who are neurodivergent often have a unique perspective and can bring a lot to the world once they learn how to lean into their strengths.
Some of the other positive parts of being neurodivergent are that you’re usually more creative and have a more intuitive sense of what is going on in the world. These traits are especially helpful for people who work in the arts, design and engineering. Some of these skills are inherited, while others can be learned through practice and support from others. For example, autistic people can be very good at recognizing patterns and many people with ADHD are usually clear-headed in a crisis. This is why it’s so important for everyone to understand the value of neurodiversity and to celebrate the differences that make us all unique.
How do I get a diagnosis?
If you want to know if you’re neurodivergent, there are many tests online that can help. Some of these quizzes are designed to test for various conditions, including autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, ADHD, and more. They can also test for mental illnesses such as bipolar and OCD. Some are more specific than others, asking questions about the way you think and perceive your environment. These tests can give you a rough idea of whether you might be more “neurotypical” than others.
Keep in mind that you won’t get a medical diagnosis when taking these tests. They don’t actually diagnose anything, but rather compare your results to those of others who are neurodivergent. These tests are meant to be self-reporting tools that you can use to gauge your own unique brain function. Essentially, they’re like autism spectrum tests, dyslexia tests, and ADHD tests combined into one.
Depending on your answers, you may be told that you are more “neurotypical” than other people or that you’re “neurodivergent.” The goal is to create a sense of acceptance for different ways of thinking and processing the world around us. Neurodivergent individuals can be just as capable and intelligent as those who are neurotypical. In fact, their brain differences may be their greatest strength. They may be better at visualizing 3-D objects, have a greater memory, or be more analytical than their neurotypical peers.
If your results indicate that you are neurodivergent, it’s important to understand what that means for your life. You’ll need to understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to manage them. This will be helpful in getting support from teachers and employers. You’ll also need to find a healthcare provider who can provide you with accommodations and therapy that can help you succeed in school, work, and other aspects of your life.
You should always talk to a doctor if you have any concerns about your mental health or how you interact with the world. They’ll be able to refer you to an expert if necessary. They can also make sure you’re getting the best care possible.
What can I do about it?
Many people find out they have a condition like autism, dyslexia or ADHD in adulthood, and the discovery can be challenging. But they’ll have support if they seek a diagnosis and get the right care, says Jade Autism. Parents can also help their children lead happy, fulfilling lives by avoiding negativity around mental disorders.
For example, it’s important not to say someone is mentally ill or disabled, which reinforces the idea that these conditions are a bad thing. “Instead, we should talk about the strengths and differences neurodivergent individuals have,” Mandell says. “They may have better memory, be able to mentally picture three-dimensional objects easily, or solve complex mathematical calculations in their heads,” he adds.
In the workplace, there are also ways companies can support their employees with neurodivergent traits. They can implement wellbeing systems that include mental health education, display materials and promote openness. “They can also consider hiring neurodivergent people, especially if they’re good at something,” Mandell notes. For example, someone with Tourette syndrome might be an excellent accountant or record-keeper because of their attention to detail.
Some neurodivergent people may have a hard time verbally conveying their opinions and thoughts, which can be frustrating in the workplace. “If you’re working with a colleague who is neurodivergent, try to give them opportunities to use alternative methods of communication and allow them to express themselves in the way they feel most comfortable,” Mandell says.
People who have neurodivergent tendencies can thrive if they seek a diagnosis, get the right care and utilize resources. They should also learn to accept themselves and understand how their different thinking can be beneficial, rather than a problem, says Mandell.
In addition, the broader cultural movement toward diversity should help people who are neurodivergent feel more welcome in their communities and workplaces. While it can be uncomfortable to think about how neurodivergent people can contribute to society, the truth is that they do, and in a variety of ways. As more is understood about the nuances of neurological differences, we can begin to understand how they benefit us all.