When most of us think of diversity, we often think of culture and race. But diversity is much more than that! Diversity is present in many areas such as age, profession, likes, dislikes, physical features, cognitive features, and skills. There is diversity in our neurological make-ups and abilities. In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we see diversity in how the diagnosis presents itself, communication abilities, social interaction abilities, and behavioral manifestations.
Uniqueness Found in Autism
Some of you may have heard the saying “if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism”. This quote speaks directly about the diversity we see. Every individual diagnosed with autism is different – how autism presents itself, their abilities, likes, dislikes, and everything else about them is different. Some individuals with autism may have limited verbal skills, while others are fully verbal. Some may experience challenges with transitions, while others transition seamlessly.
What is Neurodiversity?
Recently, the term neurodiverse is used more and more to describe individuals of varying neurological abilities and conditions. Harvard Health Publishing  defines neurodiversity as, “the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one right way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits.” This definition embodies how different we all are.
With neurodiversity, we want to be more accepting of differences and embrace each other’s differences. How can we learn to meet each person’s needs? Being more aware and asking ourselves questions like: Are we communicating in ways that the other person can understand? Are we accounting for sensory needs? Increasing our awareness and acceptance can have a huge impact on the community. Our behavior can be a catalyst for more inclusion. Recognizing neurodiversity also allows us to promote strengths and provide the needed support.
Let’s embrace our differences and support one another—diversity is everywhere. What makes you, you? Share with us!
Reference:  Nicole Baumer, M. D., & Julia Frueh, M. D. (2021, November 23). What is neurodiversity? Harvard Health. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-neurodiversity-202111232645