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Key Terms and There definitions

Millie2787Millie2787 Community Champion Posts: 5,160 Part of The Furniture
edited November 2023 in Neurodivergence
Thought it would be useful to have a little handy guide of some key terms and common diagnose you may come across when speaking about neurodiversity and there definitions - This is actually something that I’ve pulled out a recent guide that my university disability service wrote :)

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)
SpLD is an umbrella term incorporating Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia among others. Closely associated with SpLD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The word neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities.

Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways.A person whose brain ‘diverges’ from the majority can be described as neurodivergent (see also: ‘Neurotypical’). Neurodivergence can be genetic, the result of a brain-altering experience, or a combination of the two.

Neurodivergent conditions often come with pronounced strengths. However, there will typically also be areas where neurodivergent individuals struggle.

Dyslexia primarily affects the skills involved in accurate reading and spelling. Typical difficulties include phonological processing, working and short-term memory, visual processing, reading speed and comprehension, concentration and personal organisation – the pattern of difficulties varies widely between individuals. Dyslexia occurs across a range of abilities and is best thought of as a continuum with no distinct cut-off points. It is persistent and lifelong but individuals will often develop a range of skills and coping strategies.

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)
DCD, also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting fine or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present; these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experience. An individual’s co-ordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment.
There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social and emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organisation and these may also affect an adult’s education or employment experiences.

Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers which can lead to a diverse range of difficulties with mathematics. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities. Mathematics difficulties are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and they have many causal factors.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD presents as inattentive/impulsive or as a combined type with qualities of both. In most cases people with this disorder are often ‘off task’, have particular difficulty commencing and switching tasks, together with a very short attention span and high levels of distractibility. They may fail to make effective use of the feedback they receive and have difficulties taking in information by listening.
Those with hyperactivity may act impulsively and erratically, have difficulty foreseeing outcomes, fail to plan ahead and be noticeably restless and fidgety.

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.

People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. There is often nothing about how they look that sets them apart from other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.
Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.


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