Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Neurotypical is basically having a brain that society would call normal. Neurodivergent…is everything else.

Autism. ADHD. Dyslexia. Depression. Bipolar disorder. Something you’re born with. That’s what neurodiversity is. It’s a pretty broad subject, but they do have one thing in common: being dismissed by society. And a hundred years ago, they would have been thrown in an insane asylum and tortured or lobotomized until they learned to behave in a way that wasn’t embarrassing to their families. When they weren’t just abandoned by them outright.

A lot has changed, but unfortunately not nearly enough. People are still convinced vaccines are linked to autism even after the study suggesting it was discredited. Including people in the White House. Not to mention those “thinking moms” who would rather their child risk death than possibly become autistic. And one of the most prominent organizations focused on autism is Autism Speaks, which autistic people have a huge problem with. They value their neurodiversity and want to create a world where they can live alongside neurotypicals without any impediments. Autism Speaks releases videos where autism is “tearing families apart” and last year less than four percent of the money they brought in actually went to helping autistic people. They’ve gotten so bad that some autistic people describe them as a hate group.

On the mental illness side of things, the struggles are different but no less difficult. Even telling people that they’re mentally ill can result in people distancing themselves, so the question becomes whether they can ever share themselves with someone else. Revealing it to an employer is even riskier, should they even be able to find a job. The Americans with Disabilities Act is supposed to protect people against discrimination like that. But as story after story after story reveals, it does not.

People are struggling, and they’re often told that they’re just not trying hard enough or worse, it’s all in their heads. Which is true. It is literally their heads that are giving them trouble. Brain scans between those who are neurotypical and neurodivergent are markedly different. Just because it’s all in their heads doesn’t mean it’s not a disability. They just have the added crutch of being told they’re faking/exaggerating in order to get attention or not trying hard enough.

Seriously, don’t tell a neurodivergent person that their only disability is a bad attitude. Do NOT do it.


  1. Well said and something to seriously think about.

  2. Interesting article, and I liked how you provided links to a lot of the information. I recently read a book by Temple Grandin, in which she talks about how her autism has positively influenced her life. I look forward to the day when neurodiversity is embraced.
    Doree Weller

    1. She's a great model for how using her gifts made the world a better place.

  3. Well, you know, some people want to classify genius as a mental illness, too, so it's really all about being "normal" and fitting in.


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