Are You Neurodivergent? Take This Short Quiz to Find Out.May 31, 2023 06:45AM ● By M. Fontes, DACM, LAc, CCH
One in 68 children are diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition. Males are four times more likely than females to be diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition.
Neurodiversity is a way to describe how our brains are wired differently, and how certain individuals interpret the world and their surroundings differently.
Take this short 20-question quiz:
1. Have you experienced being bullied or ostracized from the group at school or work for being “different” from the rest?
2. Do you interpret language literally and have trouble understanding sarcasm?
3. Do you constantly find yourself in situations where everyone seems to get the joke but you?
4. Do you struggle with “rule breaking” behavior and find it impossible to tell even white lies?
5. Do you have difficulty going with the flow when planned events suddenly change?
6. Do you tend to freak out and have intense meltdowns, to the point where you completely lose your composure?
7. Do you find small talk near impossible, struggle and become awkward in social situations?
8. Are you known for being the overtly intense expert in your field?
9. Do you purposely avoid unfamiliar situations?
10. Do people habitually find your direct way of communicating rude or insulting?
11. Is your “routine” important to you, and do you tend to become agitated if your daily routine is interrupted?
12. Do you find yourself with only one or two close friends and almost no acquaintances?
13. Do you find yourself constantly preparing and rehearsing before interacting with your peers?
14. Are you a fidgeter—do you need to move your hands or your leg constantly to calm yourself?
15. Must you eat the same meals all the time?
16. Do you regularly experience sensory overload where loud noises, and strong smells and flashing lights completely overwhelm you?
17. Does prolonged direct eye contact bother you?
18. Do you prefer texting and email to face-to-face communication?
19. Do you avoid touching or being touched, such as a hug?
20. Is sleeping at night a constant challenge?
Did you answer yes to many or all of these questions? If so, you may want to keep reading and find out more about neurodivergent behaviors, but first the disclaimer: Both the quiz and this article are informational and intended to increase your awareness of neurodivergent behavior and not intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition. If you think you may have a neurodivergent condition, please consult a medical professional.
There are three important terms to understand when it comes to neurodivergent behavior: neurodiversity, neurotypical and neurodivergent.
Neurodiversity is the term we use to explain that there are many ways to understand and engage with the world. No two people understand their environment in exactly the same way. An easy example might be that an individual who grew up in Alaska will have a much different understanding of what it means to be cold than someone from Phoenix. Engaging with society is much more complex, as there are a lot of social do’s and do not’s, and understanding them requires picking up on speech patterns, social cues, voice inflexions, bodily postures, facial expressions and hand gestures, just to name a few.
Neurotypical behavior is the mode in which most people understand the world around them. It is helpful to use the term “herd behavior” when describing neurotypical behavior because it helps us to understand what it means to coexist within societal norms. An example of neurotypical behavior is the ability to understand and engage in what is known as “small talk.”
Neurodivergent behavior refers to the recent nonmedical term coined in 1997 by Judy Singer. The term neurodivergent is used to explain behavioral traits commonly found in people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Neurodivergent behavior is most easily understood by its polarity to neurotypical behavior, and refers to behavior that is not normal or typical. An example of neurodivergent behavior is stimming. Stimming in the autistic community refers to repetitive behavior, such a hand waiving, excessive tapping, or complex repetitive body movements.
Neurodivergent behavior is found in more than 300 diagnoses, to include:
ASD (autism spectrum disorder), formerly known as autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
ADD (attention-deficit disorder).
ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
Dyscalculia - difficulty with math.
Dysgraphia - difficulty with writing.
Dyslexia - difficulty with reading.
Dyspraxia - difficulty with coordination.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
Sensory processing disorders and social anxiety.
Neurodivergent behavior is most commonly associated with ASD or Asperger’s. As of 2013, we no longer use the medical term Asperger’s, which is defined as high-functioning autism. ASD is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn and behave.
The emerging terms neurodivergent and neurotypical behavior associated with neurodiversity are gaining importance because they create new awareness and understanding. A diagnosis of being different or divergent is not necessarily a deficit, but can also be recognized for beneficial traits.
Here are 15 famous neurodivergent men who have helped shape our world: Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Jung, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Henry Ford, Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Bob Dylan.
Neurodivergent behavior has both strengths and weaknesses. Here are five strengths and five weaknesses of neurodivergent behavior:
1. Detail oriented, and has an intense ability for focus and determination.
2. Ability to absorb and retain facts.
3. Integrity, honesty and loyalty.
4. Creative, imaginative and thinks innovatively.
5. Affinity for excellence in music, art, math, technology and science.
1. Poor social skills; not team players.
2. Difficulty with multitasking.
3. Rigid routines and resistance to change.
4. Sensory processing (overwhelm) difficulties.
5. Difficulty developing and maintaining relationships.
Dr. M. Fontes, Clinic Director at Natural Medicine & Detox. For more information, call 602-307-0888 or visit NaturalMedicineDetox.com.