Neurodivergent conditions and diagnoses
It is estimated that around 20% of the population are neurodivergent and this number is growing.
People do not need a diagnosis in order to identify as neurodivergent and many neurodivergent people do not have a diagnosis.
However, there are certain diagnoses and conditions that are associated with neurodiversity and are briefly outlined below. These are all present in some form from childhood and affect people in different ways and to different degrees. Like anyone else, a neurodivergent person will have their own personal strengths and difficulties. Some skills and talents are found more often in neurodivergent people including: creativity, flexibility, novel approaches to problem-solving, strong observational skills, attention to detail, hyperfocus and pattern recognition.
Every autistic person is different, there is no such thing as a “typical autistic person”, but there are certain key areas of difference that most autistic people share in some form:
Differences in social communication and social interaction.
Preference for routine and predictability.
Being more or less sensitive to sensory information e.g. finding certain noises uncomfortable.
Having highly specific and intense interests.
Although not part of the autistic spectrum, many autistic people experience higher levels of anxiety than non-autistic people.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
People with ADHD tend to share a similar pattern of differences in the following areas:
Attention - often having difficulty paying sustained attention and sometimes hyperfocusing on tasks of interest.
Activity– sometimes moving or talking or having too much energy for a particular situation.
Impulsivity – sometimes acting quickly without thinking through the consequences or having difficulty with self-control.
ADHD can also affect other areas of life including emotional regulation (how we keep our emotions on an “even keel”), organisation and time management.
Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia
Dyslexia: a specific learning difference in processing language. It affects how a person hears, reads and writes language. Dyslexia can also affect other areas of life including time management and organisation.
Dyscalculia: a specific learning difference in maths which affects your understanding of number concepts, using symbols or functions.
Dysgraphia: a specific learning difference in writing. Often writing is poorly formed and difficult to read and the process of writing is much more difficult and effortful.
Dyspraxia: a difference in fine and/or gross motor coordination which can affect reading, writing, coordination, balance and self-care.
People with Tourette’s syndrome experience tics which are involuntary sounds and movements that usually start in childhood. They will have a combination of physical (e.g. grimacing, jerking of the head) and vocal tics (e.g. grunting, throat clearing). Tics can be worse on some days than others and are affected by things like stress, anxiety and tiredness
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