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Neurodivergence -What Is It?

We are all individuals, and every brain is wired differently. There is a spectrum of divergence from an average point of measurement for brain functioning and a combination of measurement on psychometric scales, self- report and impact of difficulties can determine whether you have a clinically diagnosable neurodivergent condition. Some of the differences may be biologically driven but our experiences also interact with our biology. It is hard to describe what the average brain does, and some people find the terminology such as ‘neuro typical’ (which refers to typical brain functioning) as unhelpful and stigmatizing of those outside this arbitrary norm. Psychiatrists traditionally diagnose neurodivergent conditions but specialist nurses, pharmacists with additional training and specialist nurses can also diagnose.

Some people may report traits of neurodivergence but without a problematic effect, these traits are likely to remain at a sub-clinical level.

Neurodiversity is a different term and refers to the notion that people bring their uniqueness, their experience and interact with the world in different ways, where there is no one- way of thinking, learning and behaving. Differences are not deficits but strengths to be optimized through inclusion and support. A diverse workforce in all its forms is likely to improve productivity, creativity and be more representative of customer needs.

Individuals who identify as neurodivergent or having needs in this area typically describe differences in mental functioning and processing, communication style, behaviour and sensory processing.

Some neurodivergence conditions but there may be multiple diagnoses in one person


Individuals may have difficulties holding their attention and managing thoughts, behaviours and emotions. They may also be very creative and capable of hyperfocus.


This includes a broad range of conditions that may include challenges with socializing and social skills, cause repetitive behaviors and trigger speech difficulties, which in some cases, may lead an individual to communicate only nonverbally. They may also be very good with detail and be able to notice patterns that others cannot see easily.


This can include misreading, miswriting or misspeaking certain items, as well as confusion with letters or misunderstanding of word organization or pronunciation, and trouble following directions. They may also have higher empathy and good listening skills.


A misunderstanding of math concepts, such as confusion when reading numbers and symbols, an inability to consistently remember numbers, maths, rules and procedures, or trouble with mental figuring. They may be more articulate and be able to describe events in language or through art.


A learning disability that involves writing, such as unusual pencil grip and body position, illegible handwriting and an aversion to writing or drawing. They may become very fast word processors using a key- board.


A difficulty with coordinated movement and management of self within space They may also have an artistic and creative bent and can use mental and physical space in different ways.

Down’s Syndrome.

With this condition, individuals are born with an extra chromosome that ultimately changes how their body and brain develops, and may lead to mental and physical challenges. There is a lot of variation in what strengths and difficulties look like and individuals often build heartfelt and authentic relationships.

Acquired Traumatic brain injury.

Individuals may struggle with executive functioning around attention, memory, speech, emotional regulation. Plasticity in the young brain can facilitate continual improvement and many individuals who make have suffered traumatic physical injury and illness can discover some new areas of brain functioning to compensate for losses.

Bi-polar condition.

There is a movement to include this condition because of the growing evidence for neurological underpinnings.

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