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What is Neurodivergence?

Neurodiversity refers to the differences in our brain functions and behavioral traits. It's used to describe the differences in how we experience and interact with the world; the way we think, learn, and behave. We each have a unique brain, however some are more typical in its functioning, while others are more diverse (Neurodivergent). To be neurodivergent you may experience differences in how you process information, how you connect to and relate to others, the things you are interested in, your attention, your memory, your body movement and functions, and so on. Some common diagnoses often found under the neurodivergent umbrella are: Autism, ADHD, OCD, Dyslexia, Tourette Syndrome, and Dyscalculia.

Common Neurodivergent Characteristics

  • Sensory sensitivities

  • Hyper focused or easily distracted

  • Trouble with executive functioning, like planning, flexibility, organization, working memory, time management, initiating or finishing tasks

  • Differences in social interactions and social interests

  • Trouble relating to emotions or over-relating to emotions

  • Increased chances of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance use

  • Feeling different and misunderstood

Therapy for Neurodivergence

Neurodivergent affirming therapy is different from the typical therapy approaches. The core belief of a therapist who is neurodivergent affirming, is believing that the different types of brains are not deficits, wrong, bad, flawed, or something to be changed. The goal is not to shape the neurodivergent person into something more"typical," but to highlight their strengths, help them with accommodations for living more fully, and listen to and understand their personal experience. There are many forms of therapy that can be helpful for neurodivergence. Therapy to look for will be accepting, accommodating, clear and understandable, and strengths focused. Therapy to avoid might involve approaches attempting to change your thinking and behaviors to fit the norm, make you feel less than or deficient, or increase your feelings of being misunderstood. 

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