What if neurotypical doesn’t exist?

For quite some time now I have been pondering the neurological make-up of our brains.

Increasingly I find myself feeling frustrated at our insistence to define things according to what is normal.

When I think about our brains and how much mental ill health we experience as humans, it is clear that we are getting things seriously wrong. Humans have a built-in desire to be well and we have sophisticated systems and processes to make our personal world right.

The way of the world right now means many of us, including our children, are floundering with our mental health.

Firstly, I think we’ve lost sight of what it means to thrive as a human. We’ve focused on productivity and success in academia and careers instead of nurturing who we are as beings. Meeting our needs to support us to be well.

Secondly, however, I think we’ve become blind-sided by the idea that our default state, as a species, is Neurotypical. I thought this for a long time. I’ve now been questioning it for months.

Seeing the human species as Neurotypical means we lose our ability to adapt to and embrace difference, especially seemingly subtle difference. Adapting and embracing has to be a conscious action.

Those who have differences have to put energy into navigating a world that is fairly rigid in expectation. They often have to explain themselves or fight to be understood.

If we scrapped the idea that some humans are Neurotypical, and explore the idea that we are, in fact, a Neurodivergent species, then we would anticipate difference. Difference would be the norm.

I am convinced that if difference was our norm then our ability to accept and embrace individuals as they are would become more effortless. Those individuals would have to put less effort into advocating for themselves. And perhaps our brains would be happier and healthier as a result. All our brains. Because we would be accepting who we are, just as we are. And others would be accepting us too.

This would dramatically change how we parent, how we educate, how we set up the work place and more.

I’m going to talk about how this relates to parenting in my next post. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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