Neurodivergent is a new concept that presents neurological differences as normal variations instead of disorders or disabilities. It acknowledges that people with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia can be successful.
The same brain differences that cause challenges can spark superpowers like exceptional memories or superior problem-solving skills. The CareClinic symptom tracker and diary can help you discover these strengths.
What is neurodivergence?
Neurodivergence is a term that refers to the wide range of natural variations in how our brains work. It is used to describe people who think, learn and behave differently than what’s typically considered normal. Neurodivergence is a positive concept that celebrates the ways in which all of us are unique and encourages society to see these differences as strengths, not weaknesses.
Many different conditions and syndromes can fall under the category of neurodivergence, including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), dyslexia, Tourette Syndrome and more. Some individuals may experience symptoms of several neurodivergent conditions simultaneously. These conditions can affect a person’s emotions, behaviour, social interactions and more. Symptoms include difficulty with social communication, repetitive behaviours or routines, hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli and more.
There is no definitive cause for neurodivergent traits, but some studies suggest that genetics and environmental factors could play a role. Some people may be at a greater risk of developing these traits due to prenatal infections, chemical exposure or maternal illnesses.
While neurodivergent traits can present challenges, they can also be valuable in the workplace. Many major corporations recognize the value of hiring people with neurodivergent traits, and they are creating environments that support these differences. This can help employees feel more comfortable, which in turn can boost productivity.
If you are self-identifying as neurodivergent or if you have concerns about how your brain works, it’s important to talk to a medical professional. They can perform a neurocognitive assessment that will give you more information about your brain and how it processes information. You can get a referral from your family physician or a mental health specialist.
It’s also a good idea to take one of the many neurodivergent quizzes available online. These tests can help you identify common symptoms of neurodivergence, such as difficulty with social interaction, trouble understanding speech or moving around in a room. They don’t count as a diagnosis, but they can help you talk to your doctor about what you may need to manage your condition. This can include support, education and training for yourself and your workplace.
What are the symptoms of neurodivergence?
Symptoms of neurodivergence vary depending on the individual’s condition, but some common ones include difficulties with social communication, repetitive behaviours, difficulty paying attention, sensory sensitivities, and heightened emotions. However, it’s important to remember that being neurodivergent does not mean that someone is mentally ill. In fact, people can be neurodivergent and have no mental health issues at all.
Neurodivergence is not a medical diagnosis and it doesn’t appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but it is “a more fluid term than neurotypical,” explains Mandell. It’s not a word that is typically used by clinicians, but it has gained popularity among advocates of individuals who have atypical brain development or brain processes.
While neurodivergent people face challenges in certain areas of life, they also have unique strengths. For example, people with dyslexia often have exceptional visual processing skills. They’re faster at recognizing optical illusions than those without dyslexia, and they may be naturally talented in fields like graphic design, arts, and engineering.
Some conditions that cause neurodivergence, such as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, can make it difficult to function in school or work. Fortunately, there are many ways to help support these individuals. One way is by listening to them and respecting their preferences. For instance, some people with autism prefer written communication like instant messaging or texting over phone calls and face-to-face interactions.
It’s important to note that, while there are a variety of online quizzes available that claim to diagnose neurodivergence, a qualified health professional should be able to provide an official diagnosis. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis because it can be helpful for an individual to get the help they need to thrive.
A health care professional can diagnose a number of different conditions that cause neurodivergence, including autism, ADHD, and OCD. They can also determine if a person is experiencing depression or anxiety, which are both conditions that can impact the ability to focus and process information.
How can I find out if I’m neurodivergent?
In many cases, people who are neurodivergent don’t know they’re different. They might struggle with emotional regulation, experience sensory overload or develop repetitive behaviors. They might also experience difficulties at school, work or with relationships. However, many neurodivergent individuals are able to find solutions with help from specialists or accommodations at home and at work.
Neurodivergence is a term that encompasses various conditions like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, Down syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome as well as sensory disorders like dyslexia or dyspraxia, mood disorders such as depression or anxiety and other health issues. However, it’s important to note that these symptoms do not equate to a diagnosis. If you’re concerned you might be neurodivergent, there are a number of online tests and quizzes that can help you understand your brain a little better. These can include the Aspie Quiz, the Exceptional Individuals website’s Adult Dyspraxia Test and Kent-Teach’s Do You Have Irlen Syndrome Test. These tests and quizzes are not meant to replace an official diagnosis, but they can help you make sense of your experiences and feelings.
The signs and symptoms of neurodivergence can be incredibly complex, and it’s important to note that not everyone will fit into one specific category. For instance, autism can range in severity from mild to severe. In some cases, the symptoms of autism can overlap with ADHD or dyspraxia, making it difficult to identify if you’re neurodivergent. Additionally, many of the signs and symptoms of neurodivergence are hard to detect in adults. For this reason, it’s important to seek help from a physician or psychologist who can conduct an evaluation and make a precise diagnosis.
Once you’ve received a diagnosis, you can start to understand your brain a little better and get help if needed. If you’re struggling to cope with your symptoms, it may be beneficial to keep track of them using a health tracker app like CareClinic. You can use the symptom tracker, therapy tracker, diary and factors tab to record and evaluate your symptoms so you can learn how to best manage them.
How can I get help with neurodivergence?
If you’re wondering if you’re neurodiverse, there are online resources and support groups that can help. These include websites like Feeling Kinda Blue, which is designed to connect people who experience depression, anxiety, grief, emotional pain and other issues with others who have the same experiences in order to reduce social isolation. There are also many neurodivergent-friendly quizzes available online, which can help you understand how your brain works and identify common traits that may indicate you are neurodivergent. However, these quizzes shouldn’t be taken as medical tests and should only be used to get a better idea of what traits you might have.
Once you’ve found out what symptoms you might have, it’s important to consult with a mental health professional. A therapist who is neurodivergent-affirming will recognize that your differences are a strength and don’t need to be changed or fixed. However, they will also understand that neurodivergence can be disabling and may affect your ability to do certain things.
Common symptoms of neurodivergence include difficulty with social interaction, sensory sensitivities, problems with attention and heightened emotions. Other issues can include challenges with executive functioning, which can make it hard to plan or organize tasks and manage time effectively. Finally, some people with neurodivergence have trouble coping with changes in their routine or unexpected events.
It’s important to avoid using functional terms, such as “low-functioning” or “high-functioning,” when talking about someone with neurodivergence. These terms can be stigmatizing and suggest that some people need less care than others. Instead, try to look at each person individually and consider their specific difficulties and strengths.
If you’re struggling to cope with your unique neurodivergent personality, a counselling session can help you find ways to cope and find more comfort in your own skin. The first step is to find a therapist who is neurodiversity-affirming, such as the professionals at Thrive Downtown. Then, you can begin to explore the benefits of your differences and learn how they can help you thrive. To learn more, contact us today to book a consultation at our Vancouver therapy centre.