Neurotypical, Neurodivergent, Neurodiversity – What’s the Difference?

I’ve been reading a lot about neurodivergence in the past few days and I’ve noticed that the words used make a huge difference to some people. When talking about neurodivergence, a lot of people have a lot of different ideas. I myself want to understand and use the vocabulary of the topic of neurodivergence correctly. I found this article that explains it very well. So I’ll just summarize it for myself, for clarity. Maybe you’ll get something out of it too.

Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions

  • Neurodiversity is the diversity of human brains and minds – the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species. A group of people is neurodiverse if one or more members of the group differ substantially from other members, in terms of their neurocognitive functioning. Many people mistakenly use neurodiverse where the correct word would be neurodivergent.
    • In my own words – neurodiversity applies to every human being, it means that each person is unique and thinks differently from every other person.
  • The Neurodiversity Paradigm is a specific perspective on neurodiversity – it provides a philosophical foundation for the activism of the  Neurodiversity  Movement, but the two aren’t the same.
    • In my own words a philosophy that there is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ or ‘healthy’ thinking, rather, there are two kinds of thinking – neurodivergent and neurotypical. They are opposite of one another and also equally important.
  • The Neurodiversity Movement is a social justice movement that seeks civil rights, equality, respect, and full societal inclusion for the neurodivergent.
    • In my own words – a lot of different groups exist with different goals and interpretations of the Neurodiversity Paradigm. It is inclusive of all neurominorities,
  • Neurodivergent, sometimes abbreviated as ND, means having a brain that functions in ways that diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”
    • In my own words – between 20 and 40% of the world population are neurodivergent meaning that they think differently than the other percentage. They used to be called abnormal or mentally ill. Now they’re neurodivergent.
  • Neurotypical, often abbreviated as NT, means having a style of neurocognitive functioning that falls within the dominant societal standards of “normal.”
    • In my own words – the majority of the world population are considered typical in their thinking. They are also considered to be normal.
  • neurominority is a population of neurodivergent people about whom all of the following are true: share a similar form of neurodivergence which is innate and widely misunderstood. Some examples of Neurominority groups include Autistic, bipolar, dyslexic, and schizophrenic people.
    • In my own words – the subgroups of all neurodivergents
Here’s a simplistic summary of all those terms, it really is very simple once you see it like this…

Thanks for reading my ramblings about terminology! It helps me to organize my thoughts when I have a basic understanding and foundation to go on.

Be on the lookout for many more posts about neurodivergence. I’m learning as I go and welcome comments and also corrections.

Be blessed always –

Kathy K

2 thoughts on “Neurotypical, Neurodivergent, Neurodiversity – What’s the Difference?

    1. Thanks for reading the terminology! I’m glad that you found it useful, I definitely found clarity while researching and writing about neurodivergence.


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