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What is neurodiversity

Neurodiversity refers to all the different brain types that we, as humans, can have. ‘Neuro’ means brain and ‘diversity’ means variety. Neurodivergent (ND) describes individuals with brains that are structured differently due to a natural variation in brain development and function. Neurodivergence includes autistic people and those with ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental language disorder (DLD) and Tourette syndrome. The list of neurodivergent brain types is ever changing as we learn more.

Neurodivergent compass

I am a mum to three beautifully neurodiverse children. Two of whom are autistic. They are incredible and inspire me to be the best person I can be and challenge the world in ways I never thought possible… read more

Emily, parent


Neurodivergent children/young people may be told that they “don’t talk properly” or that they “talk too much”, or “too slow/fast”. These messages, especially when heard many times, can be really damaging to self-esteem and can lead to masking and anxiety. For example, some become quieter in social situations and don’t feel comfortable being themselves as they’re worried they may say the wrong thing.

Therefore, it is important that we celebrate and promote true acceptance of neurodivergent communication styles and learn that everyone will communicate and interact differently. These differences bring about new and positive ways of thinking and interacting – diversity is a positive thing for everyone!


The sections below explain the wide range of characteristics that neurodivergent individuals may experience differences, strengths and challenges in. Each section includes information on what the characteristic is, what differences you may notice and support strategies/information.

Language, communication & ND

The way we communicate, talk and interact with others can be different in different brain types.

Sensory processing & ND

The way we process and react to sensory information (e.g. noise, taste, touch) can differ in neurodivergent individuals.

Emotions & ND

The way we understand, interpret and express emotions can differ in neurodivergent individuals.

Executive functioning & ND

The skills used to pay attention, plan and organise our daily tasks are part of our executive functioning skills. These skills can differ in neurodivergent individuals.

Hyperfocus / monotropism & ND

Some individuals experience times of intense focus on a small range of topics/interests. This is called monotropism and hyperfocus. This can be a significant part of being neurodivergent.

Mental health & ND

Neurodivergent individuals can be more likely to experience certain mental health needs due to challenges in their environments.

Useful resources

See below for a selection of links and resources you might find useful.