Understanding Neurodiversity: A Guide to Embracing Differences

Understanding Neurodiversity: A Guide to Embracing Differences

People share common characteristics, but we’re all different. Some are extroverts who love a party; some are introverts who prefer a good book. Some are tall, while others are short. Some are neurotypical, while others are neurodiverse. 

Neurodiversity’ expresses the idea that different ways exist to experience and interact with the world. The term was coined by an Australian sociologist named Judy Singer in her undergraduate thesis. It captures the idea that conditions like autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia (which affect 1 in 5 or 6 of us) are part of a rich tapestry of neurological differences – natural variations rather than disorders that need to be fixed. 

The neurodiversity movement also seeks to:

  • Challenge stereotypes.
  • Shift the discourse from people’s struggles to their strengths, creativity, innovation, analytical skills or areas of special interest.
  • Encourage more inclusive practices in schools and workplaces. 

Embracing neurodiversity

Children are growing up in a world that’s not built by or for neurodivergent people. It’s noisy, crowded, bright, and busy and can change unexpectedly, easily triggering sensory overload, meltdowns or distress among neurodiverse people. 

Embracing neurodiversity could involve: 

  • Not judging the parent of a child having a meltdown in the cereal aisle, the child wearing headphones throughout a ceremony or the contents of a packaged-foods-only lunchbox.
  • Offering  ‘quiet hours’ for shopping.
  • Installing a calming sensory room in schools, workplaces or entertainment venues.
  • Allowing people to use quiet fidget toys at school or work.
  • Offering a range of ways to participate in class or sports.
  • Communicating any changes to the usual routine well ahead of time to allow people to adjust.
  • Providing more education about neurodiverse conditions to aid understanding.
  • Removing the pressure to hide or mask behaviours like stimming. 

Recognising the challenge of neurodiversity

Alongside celebrating neurodiversity, we must also acknowledge the challenges that often come with it. It’s not an either/or choice – we can recognise how important it is to value neurodiversity while supporting people to manage some of its trickier aspects. For example, autism and ADHD can affect friendships and disrupt schooling. Children with these conditions may also be more challenging to parent. 

Ideally, we want to support children to experience the best of their unique brains while making daily life easier for them and their families.

That’s the approach we take at Neurofit. 

How can Neurofit Brain Centre help?

At Neurofit, we believe that brain activity makes an active difference.

The brain is a marvellously adaptive organ. It can change and develop new neural pathways in response to the right stimulus. It works best when there’s a balance between its two sides and good communication between them.

At Neurofit, we use evidence-based therapies designed to stimulate the chosen brain area. Often, we’ll use several of these at once (co-activation), giving the brain the maximum opportunity to form new neural pathways and strengthen itself.

A typical ADHD treatment program at Neurofit, for example, would aim to stimulate the right brain so that it grows stronger and can provide the input needed to calm the left brain. Sometimes, that involves working the right side of the body (e.g. smell on the right side stimulates the right brain); sometimes, it involves working the left (e.g. moving the left side of the body stimulates the right brain). Over time, that brain activity can make an active difference in life with ADHD. 

If you’d welcome support, please book an assessment.  


All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Neurofit Brain Centre can consult with you to confirm if a particular treatment approach is right for you.