There’s little argument that the brain is one of most complex organs in the human body, and it’s no surprise that there can be a wide range of neurological conditions that affect people differently. Neurodiversity refers to the incredible variety in how our brains develop and function, and it also includes many types of neurological disorders. With a goal to more fully understand this complex issue, please read further as we provide explanations about different types of neurodiversity.
Most Common Forms of Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is a concept that has gained prominence over time as people recognize that everyone’s brains work and develop in different ways. That said, let’s take a look at various types of neurodiversity and the unique characteristics inherent in each one.
A neurodevelopmental disorder, autism impacts social interaction, communication, and behavior. It’s estimated 1 in 36 children is diagnosed with autism in the US, and one of the most common treatments for this condition is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
Characteristics of Autism
One of the most noticeable characteristics of autism is difficulty with social interaction. People with autism often struggle to understand nonverbal cues, like body language or facial expressions. Other symptoms of autism may include repetitive behaviors or the need for routines. They may also engage in repetitive movements like hand flapping or rocking. Sensitivity to certain stimuli is also common among individuals with autism.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the more common neurological disorders in adults and children, with roughly 6.1 million children and over 4% of adults diagnosed with ADHD in the United States.
Characteristics of ADHD
ADHD symptoms can vary, but they commonly include trouble concentrating, paying attention or focusing, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and/or disorganization. People with ADHD often struggle to complete tasks on time and stay organized. Adults or children with ADHD may also experience difficulties with social interactions due to impulsive behavior and compromised listening skills.
This neurological condition affects one’s ability to read, write and spell. Dyslexia can also impact memory retention, the ability to multitask and stay organized. It is not related to intelligence or motivation, but rather it stems from the way the brain processes information.
Characteristics of Dyslexia
Tasks such as reading and/or writing are challenging with people who suffer from dyslexia, and this condition may also affect phonological processing, which means that individuals struggle to recognize sounds within words. They may also have trouble sounding out unfamiliar words or breaking down longer words into smaller parts. Other neurological disorder symptoms of dyslexia may include compromised decoding skills, meaning they have difficulty matching letters to their corresponding sounds.
Dyscalculia affects an individual’s ability to understand and process numbers. It can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty with basic arithmetic, telling time, or understanding mathematical concepts. It is important to note that dyscalculia does not reflect a lack of intelligence or effort.
Characteristics of Dyscalculia
One of the most common characteristics of dyscalculia is difficulty in comprehending mathematical concepts. Individuals with this condition may find it hard to connect symbols or digits with their corresponding values or quantities. Additionally, people with dyscalculia may struggle with spatial reasoning and have difficulty recognizing and remembering numerical sequences.
Dyspraxia is a condition that compromises physical movement and coordination. The cause of it is unknown, but theories point to brain development as the root source of dyspraxia. As with many neurodiverse conditions, dyspraxia may co-occur with other conditions like autism or ADHD.
Characteristics of Dyspraxia
One of the main characteristics of dyspraxia is compromised motor function. This means that individuals with dyspraxia struggle to coordinate their movements effectively. They may appear clumsy, uncoordinated, or awkward in their movements. Dyspraxia may also impact fine motor skills making it difficult to complete tasks that require dexterity. Despite these challenges, many people with dyspraxia are able to live full lives through various treatments like MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy).
While not as common, synesthesia is a condition that is listed on the neurodiversity spectrum, and it affects about 1 in 2000 individuals in the US. Synesthesia is when the senses are blended. So, an individual may hear certain sounds but experience them in colors or taste.
Characteristics of Synesthesia
People with synesthesia can experience a mixup of sensory perception. For instance, a person may read a word like “ball,” yet they experience this in terms of taste. Another example: One might hear a sound and experience that auditory impulse as a color. One common type of synesthesia is grapheme-color synesthesia, where people associate letters and numbers with specific colors.
TS or Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes individuals to execute repetitive and involuntary movements, known as tics. While outbursts of movement or vocalizations are uncontrollable, HRT (Habit Reversal Training) and dialectical behavior therapy have been known to be helpful in managing TS symptoms.
Characteristics of Tourette Syndrome
Common characteristics of TS include motor tics such as eye blinking, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and jerky body movements. Vocal tics may involve throat clearing, grunting, or shouting out words/phrases involuntarily. People with this disorder often experience co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, OCD, and social anxiety disorders.
What Do These Types of Neurodiversity Have in Common?
For one, all of these neurological conditions can impact a person’s daily functioning in various ways. They may struggle with social interactions, have difficulty processing information, or experience challenges when it comes to executive function skills like planning and organization.
Additionally, many individuals with these conditions face stigma and discrimination due to their differences. This can result in feelings of alienation and low self confidence.
It’s important to recognize that various types of neurodiversity are a natural part of human variation and should be respected in individuals rather than stigmatized.
At Evolve Treatment, we take an individualized approach to treatment and work closely with our clients to develop personalized plans tailored specifically to their needs. Our evidence-based therapies have proven to help individuals with autism, ADHD, PTSD, Social anxiety, and other types of neurodiversity.
Our goal is to help individuals reach their full potential by building on their strengths and providing support where they need it most. Contact us today to see how Evolve can transform your life or the life of someone you love.