So I had a rather interesting discussion with an academic on Linkedin the other day. Firstly, I’ll admit I’m not great at keeping on top of all my social media channels and it’s something I’m trying to work on. I hadn’t been on Linkedin for several months when I spotted an article talking about the terminology of neurodiverse and neurodivergent.
I’ve always been quite proud to say I’m neurodiverse, which I was taught many years ago, through my university support and also the access to work subsection of the department for working pensions, that neurodiverse was a word coined as an umbrella term for a wide range of people with various learning difficulties.
I’d commented I was proud to be neurodiverse and this person started explaining to me that the term neurodivergent was now being used to describe learning difficulties and brains outside the normal pattern and development. That the term neurodiverse actually just means everyone because everyone has a different brain. Well I’m sorry to say but if we need a label that covers the fact that each and every person is different in the way they think or feel then I shudder to see what society has become.
Of course, I respected her point of view, she was just merely filling me in on what is not the most commonly used language now, but it does pose one or two quite teething concerns. If the language that we are using is shifting so fast before we’ve formed a collective cultural acceptance of it in society then how are we ever supposed to keep up?? The second and biggest concern is this; if we have all these different labels including a term just to validate what should be common sense, then is ADHD going to get lost in the shadows of it?
ADHD awareness is definitely on the increase, but like I’ve always said the issue is that most of what people tend to see in the mainstream media is not a good representation of people who live with ADHD on a regular basis. I always think when learning about a new subject, I’d rather learn from someone with the experience, as opposed to someone who simply has knowledge of something. It’s the difference between someone knowing every single fact and figure about ADHD, instead of telling you what it feels like when your brain won’t do what you want it to do. There is a big a difference, which is why I created this blog and have just launched the monthly podcast.
Unfortunately, these labels of neurodiverse or neurodivergent while I’m sure were created with the intention of inclusion may alienate the very people who need them the most. The people who already struggle to receive the validation, understand and support they need of a specific condition.
Now it makes no difference to me, if you want to call yourself neurodivergent, neurodiverse or anything else, only you can say if it feels right for you. I just worry that our truth and how we struggle we get lost in trying to use the right language. Personally, moving forward, I’m stripping back all the labels to get to the heart of the matter; I’m no longer classing myself as neurodiverse, instead I choose to be a loud and proud ADHDer. Wear your ADHD label with pride ADHDers and allies! Catch you next time!