We get this question often and for those of us who have been living in the Neurodivergent (ND) world - especially online - it's sometimes hard to believe that so many people aren't aware of the term, but that's ok - we're glad you're here! We're happy you want to find out now!
Neruodivergence is an umbrella term that covers many different conditions that make people's brains work differently. Some of the most well-known are Autism and ADHD, though it also can cover dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and can even include anxiety, OCD, Tourettes and others.
Why do we need this term?
All of these people have the shared experience of having to grapple with their brain functioning differently than others without these conditions, who are often called "neurotypical" people. In addition, ND people often face isolation and stigmas in their personal and professional lives because of the difficulties they face diverse neurotype as well as stereotypes associated with the diagnosis. Also more and more research is showing high amounts of overlap between many of the conditions indicating a strong likelihood of a relationship between them.
The neurodivergent community also seeks to shift the view many neurotypical people seem to have of our respective conditions. While there are challenges that ND people have to overcome, we also bring with us unique skills. People with Autism are found to be great at pattern recognition which allows them to solve problems more quickly than others. While People with ADHD display greater creativity than their neurotypical counterparts. Recognizing these traits helps shift the lens to a view that promotes and celebrates neurodiversity rather than just pathology. One that sees ND people as a credit to society, not just as victims of a diagnosis.
Do ND people have challenges that can sometimes be debilitating? For certain. There's executive dysfunction, shutdown from over or under stimulation, and a general difficulty coping with a world that functions differently than we do. But ND people can also can bring unique skills and fresh perspectives. So while there are many different facets and splinters in the ND community, most would probably agree that we all have the goal of changing everyone's script from one that focuses on disability to one that recognizes the positive traits that we all bring to the table so that ND and neurotypical people can work together and understand one another better for the health and happiness of us all.