The Sixth Stage of Diagnosis

Accepting and Embracing Your Own, or a Loved One’s, Neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity vs. Pathology

The title of this article includes the word diagnosis because that’s often what we, as neurodivergent people, need from the medical community in order to access accommodations and supports.

With that said, neurodiversity and diagnosis are conflicting concepts in many ways.

Neurodiversity refers to variations between human minds occurring naturally within a population, and includes conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyslexia. This model recognizes strengths alongside challenges (Taylor, 2021).

Neurodiversity is often positioned in contrast to the traditional medical model, in which diagnostic criteria are based on perceived deficits and presumption of pathology (Dunn, 2018), meaning that a diagnosis assumes being outside the norm is a disorder rather than simply a difference.

The neurodiversity movement acknowledges that being different comes with challenges, and one’s neurodiversity can present symptoms that cause an individual distress, in which case those symptoms require treatment.

“What’s important to note is that much of the difficulty encountered by neurodivergent people in mainstream society is due to lack of understanding, lack of accommodations, and a pervasive attitude that those outside the norm must adapt and change who they are in order to fit in with the majority.”

– Jillian Enright, ADHD 2e MB

This is where diagnosis makes its way to acceptance, and then viewing our differently wired brains through a neurodiversity lens, rather than pathologizing difference.

Read more on Invisible Illness.


Published by Jillian ADHD 2e MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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