What does it mean to be neurotypical?


The word "neurotypic" is fairly new, but it is becoming increasingly popular in schools, at autism conferences and events, and in therapists' offices. It has no absolute medical or psychological significance. It does not describe a specific personality, trait, or skill set.

The definition can be formulated from both negative and positive points of view:

  • Neurotypical people are people who do not have a diagnosis of autism or any other intellectual or developmental differences.
  • A neurotypical person is a person who thinks, perceives and behaves in a way considered "normal" by the general population.

Get Medication Information / Brianna Gilmartin

Different definitions of normal

Of course, a cognitive or developmental impairment may not be diagnosed and therefore can be defined as neurotypical. But there are significant differences between "normal" and "undiagnosed." Furthermore, there is no stable and generally accepted concept of "normal."

In fact, "normal" perceptions and behavior differ radically based on culture, gender, situation, socioeconomic status, and many other factors. For example, in some cultures direct eye contact is expected; in others, it is considered rude. In some cultures, physical contact with relatively strange people is considered normal, while in others it is strange and repulsive.

Other behavioral differences, while not the result of intellectual or developmental disabilities, can be marginalized. For example, LGBT people can find themselves outside of many social groups with no neurological problems to deal with. The same is true of members of certain religious groups.

What does it mean to be a neuro-sabotage?

Modern researchers have developed complex graphics and book libraries that describe "normal" human development. Expectations for behavior, learning, social interaction, and physical development are based on these standards.

In addition, institutions such as schools, sports leagues, workplaces, and even religious organizations are designed to accommodate people who meet developmental standards. Generally speaking, modern "first world" civilizations are designed for people who:

  • Develop verbal, physical, social, and intellectual skills at a specific rate, in a specific order, and at a specific level.
  • Enjoy and do well in complex social networks with many people
  • They have little difficulty handling sensory "attacks", from chemicals in the air to a barrage of bright light, sound, crowd, and movement.
  • It's fun and easy to participate in team activities, including sports, games, and projects.
  • It is best to study in a dynamic, verbal and competitive environment with a large number of peers.
  • Works well under pressure
  • Talking, moving, and behaving in the "expected" manner (at the expected volume, pace, distance from others, etc.)
  • Have an expected set of interests and hobbies (usually sports, movies, popular music, food, etc.)

People who develop at rates or ways that deviate from these norms are often neglected, ostracized, marginalized, or, at best, tolerant. Yet millions of people deviate from neurotypical norms, some radically and others so much that they cannot adapt.

The neurodiversity movement

The neurodiversity movement is based on the idea that developmental differences such as autism , attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and learning disabilities are not disorders that need to be treated, but differences that need to be addressed. be followed. Members of the neurodiversity movement are often opposed to the idea of a cure for autism .

By 2014, the term "neurotypical" had become common enough to become the title of a PBS documentary in which people with autism spectrum disorder describe their own perceptions of themselves in relation to a "normal" society. .

The film explores the challenges they face while living among "normal" people they face while living among "normal" people, through the worlds of four-year-old Violet, teenage Nicholas, middle-aged wife and mother Paula, as well as provocative interviews. with other people with autism. they are called "neurotypes " .

In 2015, Steve Silberman wrote Neuro Tribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity , which argues that autism spectrum disorders, considered by some to be a recent epidemic, have actually been part of the human condition throughout the ages. history.

After discovering autism, he argues, some adults discover their "neurotribe," that is, their neurological relatives. The same seems to be true for people with various neurological differences that take them out of the mainstream.

For example, some adults who discover that they can be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or learning disabilities, suddenly realize themselves as part of a group that has been through similar experiences and think about the same. way.

The concept of neurodiversity is controversial . Many parents of autistic children believe that autism is a disorder that must be prevented and treated. This view is shared by many autistic attorneys. To a large extent, differences of opinion are directly related to differences in personal experience.

When autism is extremely restrictive or causes significant physical or mental disorders, it is generally considered a disorder. Similarly, when autism is a source of personal ability and pride, it is generally seen as an asset.

Neurotype neurodivision view

From the point of view of the autistic community and other neurodiverse groups, neurotypes often have certain common positive qualities that people with autism often lack. In particular, neurotypes are assumed to:

  • They possess strong communication and social skills , allowing them to easily navigate new or socially challenging situations.
  • It's easy to make friends and have an affair, and understand the "hidden agenda" of expected behaviors that smooth interactions at work and in public.
  • They do not have sensory issues that make it easy for them to participate in noisy, crowded, hot, or visually overwhelming environments.

On the other hand, people with autism sometimes look down on neurotypes due to their willingness to follow social and social demands without questioning them. For example, neurotypes are assumed to be more likely than people with autism to:

  • Take part in a little chat
  • Tell white (or not very white) lies
  • Keep getting along, even if it means immoral behavior
  • Have sex regardless of the long-term emotional consequences.
  • Bullying others to gain social status
  • Get competitive or jealous

Very few people really fit the neurotypical stereotype.

Many non-autistic people who are unsuitable for any developmental diagnosis are shy, socially awkward, and have difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships and romantic relationships. Also, of course, there are many "normal" people who avoid meetings, bullying, small talk, and other problematic forms of social behavior.

Frequently asked questions

  • No. Some experts argue that people with ADHD think and solve problems differently than so-called neurotypical people, because they are not motivated by the reward for completing tasks. Note: This is not a generally accepted view and does not reflect any diagnostic criteria.

  • Absolutely not. In fact, the term "neurotypical" is just a recent addition to mental health jargon. It is often used to refer to people who have no known mental health or learning difficulties, but who do not have formal criteria to describe it.

  • Some experts use the term "neurodiversity" to refer to people whose thinking and learning traits and approaches differ from what is considered "normal." Neurotypical is also used to refer to people who do not have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) .

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