What is Neurodiversity?

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the concept that all humans vary in terms of our neurocognitive ability. Everyone has talents and things they struggle with. However, for some people the variation between those strengths and weaknesses is more pronounced, which can bring talent but can also be disabling.

Neurodiverse/neurodivergent people tend to find some things very easy and other things incredibly hard. This usually leads to an inconsistent performance at school or work.

Neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage when the individuals are in the right environment, making use of their strengths, instead of constantly trying to overcome challenges. To achieve this we must create inclusive spaces to work and learn that reduce disabling factors and amplify diverse abilities.

A note about language

We are using the term neurominority to refer to neurodiverse/neurodivergent conditions which typically include ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Tourette syndrome. We also recognise that any neurocognitive profile that is not “neurotypical” could be included as a minority group, which might include intellectual disabilities, mental health conditions, acquired brain injury or more.

Neurodiversity in the population

Our aim is to work towards a world where all variations in the rich tapestry of human cognition are accepted and enabled.

  • 90% of disabilities are invisible
  • 5% of of the population have ADHD
  • 1-2% of the population is autistic
  • 10% of the population are dyslexic
  • 5% of the population are dyspraxic
  • 1-2% of the population have Tourette Syndrome
  • 7 % of the population have mental health needs
  • 5% of the population have an acquired brain injury

There tends to be a lot of overlap, but as you can see, it is fairly normal to have different thinkers in our population!

Understanding Spiky Profiles

“Spiky profiles” are a great way to explain the differences of ability that are associated with neurodiverse conditions, as the graphic demonstrates below. Neurotypical cognitive profiles are expected to form a bumpy line across the categories where as a neurominority profile has large peaks and troughs. Read more about neurodiversity in Chapter 2 of this British Psychological Society report, written by our CEO, Dr Nancy Doyle which also includes more detail about some of the different conditions we include in the neurominority umbrella.

Line chart displaying example spiky profile

Across all neurodiverse conditions the majority of our clients seek help for the following

0 92%

Memory/Concentration

0 83%

Organisation skills

0 78%

Time management

These are related to Executive Functions – a part of the brain that we need for planning, managing our attention, thinking through our actions and making sense of what’s happening. The strengths tend to be in verbal skills, visual skills and/or memory and are quite diverse, which is an advantage in a balanced team of specialists and generalists.

What our clients say…

“Up until the point of my assessment I’d always seen my Tourette’s, ADHD, OCD, sensory processing as a big hindrance in my life, my life was chaotic. I had very low self-esteem. After having the assessment and finding out the results, I just really wish that I could have done that when I was a lot younger! It helped me to understand myself and to see what direction I should be going in. And since the assessment, many, many doors have opened to me. Now I carry my diagnosis with pride, and my neurodiversity.”

Paul Stevenson

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