“Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?”
– Harvey Blume
Humans are wildly diverse, and at ADDA, we celebrate all kinds of diversity in our community. But today, we’re talking about neurodiversity, which is differences in how we think, learn, and behave.
If you have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may notice that you pick up and process information differently from your peers. That’s because ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. This means it affects your brain development, structure, and function.
Because the ADHD brain is wired differently, people experience a range of symptoms that impact their focus, attention, memory, and learning. But an ADHD diagnosis doesn’t make you “abnormal” or any less capable of achieving monumental milestones in life.
What Is Neurodiversity?
The term “neurodiversity” describes the vast differences in brain function and behaviors of the human population. It recognizes that these variations in thinking, learning, and behavior are natural and represent the diversity of people.
Meanwhile, the term “neurodivergent” stems from “neurodiversity” and refers to individuals whose brains function differently from what’s considered standard.
The concept of neurodiversity embraces the fact that there isn’t one correct method of thinking or learning, and any such differences aren’t inherently “problematic” or “wrong.”
At the same time, it also acknowledges that neurodivergent people may have differences in their brains that alter their ability to learn and work. Because of this, they may require special forms of treatment and support to help them unlock their potential.
Neurodivergence is a spectrum. This means that you might show mild signs of neurodivergence that are barely noticeable to those around you. Or you might have severe symptoms that significantly impact your career, studies, relationships, and social life.
Is ADHD Neurodivergent?
Yes. ADHD can be considered neurodivergent because it’s a neurodevelopmental disorder that changes how you think and process information.
Scientists believe these differences are due to the unique structure and chemistry of the ADHD brain.
For instance, research has discovered that a lack of dopamine in the ADHD brain can alter how the person perceives reward and gratification. This makes it harder for them to stay motivated to complete tasks, especially boring and repetitive ones.
Apart from that, a person with ADHD may also display the following neurodivergent traits:
- Getting hyperfixated on an object or topic of interest
- Experiencing sensory overload and overstimulation
- Being disorganized and forgetful
- Difficulty concentrating
Because of how the brain is wired, you may experience various symptoms of ADHD that can affect how you learn and work. That said, it is a highly-treatable condition. And with the right support and treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms better and perform your best at what you set your mind to.
While it’s crucial to recognize ADHD-related challenges, it’s just as important to celebrate and nurture the positive traits of neurodivergence.
Certain neurodivergent traits can be channeled as strengths. Take, for example, an ADHDer who can hyperfocus on tasks that they find intriguing. This ability to hyperfocus allows them to continue working until the job is completed.
People with ADHD typically also have higher energy levels and greater spontaneity. Additionally, they tend to be more creative and think outside the box, allowing them to come up with innovative solutions and strategies.
What Other Disorders Are Neurodivergent?
Different disorders can affect how you behave and think – ADHD is just one of them.
The following are some disorders commonly described as neurodivergent:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Dysgraphia (affects writing)
- Dyslexia (affects reading)
- Dyscalculia (affects your ability to do Maths)
- Tourette syndrome
- Down syndrome
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
On this note, it’s also important to realize that people who have ADHD or any of the above disorders may also choose not to identify as neurodivergent.
Neurodivergence Embraces the Uniqueness of Different Brains
Neurodivergence acknowledges the huge diversity in mental functioning and behavioral traits of the human population. It encourages people with various diagnoses to focus on their unique strengths and abilities and, at the same time, seek the necessary accommodations, support, and treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with ADHD, this does not dictate what you can and cannot accomplish. By playing to your strengths and adapting to various challenges, you can achieve big goals in life.
ADHD can still be a difficult journey, but you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. ADDA+ is a resource hub that can provide support and guidance as you learn how to overcome the unique challenges of living with ADHD.
Through ADDA+, you’ll gain access to authoritative information, courses, webinars, tools, and an accepting community of peers, empowering you to explore and unlock your potential in life.
 Rubia K. (2018). Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Its Clinical Translation. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, 100. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00100
 Blum, K., Chen, A. L., Braverman, E. R., Comings, D. E., Chen, T. J., Arcuri, V., Blum, S. H., Downs, B. W., Waite, R. L., Notaro, A., Lubar, J., Williams, L., Prihoda, T. J., Palomo, T., & Oscar-Berman, M. (2008). Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and reward deficiency syndrome. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 4(5), 893–918. https://doi.org/10.2147/ndt.s2627