The concept of diversity is a neutral one, devoid of normative features. Its meaning depends on the context and the value system in place in a given environment.
Historically, the use of the term has had, and still often has, pejorative overtones, carrying with it attempts to eliminate differences or that which is different. In its most socially acute form, it is associated with issues such as racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual difference.
Today, in Western countries, the awareness that social diversity is a fact of life and should be accepted is at the core of basic human rights. Both state institutions and NGOs are active in their defence.
Neurodiversity as an important element of social diversity means that people differ not only in terms of race, religion, or sexual orientation, but also mentally. How we see, feel, hear and act differently is an expression of the natural diversity of human minds, not a manifestation of mental disorders or illness.
Individuals whose development deviates from the typical are referred to as neuro-atypical (or neurodivergent used interchangeably). In our culture, these individuals are often perceived as not fitting the common definition of ‘normal’ and are diagnosed only in the context of functional difficulties associated with ADHD, autism spectrum, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or the Tourette’s syndrome.
The concept of neurodiversity emphasises the strengths of neuro-atypical persons. Including rare traits such as concentration on details, creativity, spatial imagination or high motivation and perseverance.
In practice, neurodiversity is gaining strength in the form of social activism. This activism seeks to respect and value psychological differences at a systemic level and to encourage equal opportunites for neuro-atypical persons in society.
The voice of neurominorities is increasingly heard and supported. This manifests itself with the creation of new practices adapted for the neuro-atypical population. These practices include the creation of inclusive systems in schools, universities and the workplace, as well as neuro-atypical-friendly architectural design.
These practices take into account and accommodate differences in terms of people’s mental functioning, (rather than eliminating them. The a/typical Foundation reasons for being are to positively promote and activate the neurodiversity movement.