Neurodivergent Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It?

Wondering about the meaning of neurodivergent? Read on as we explore the term neurodivergent to uncover its definition, origin, and more.

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Believe it or not, more than 1.2 billion individuals identify as neurodivergent. While this statistic may signal a challenge, neurodiversity can also shine a light on the strengths of thinking differently. That said, what exactly does it mean to be neurodivergent? 

This post will tell you all about the word neurodivergent, including its definition, origin, and more.

What Is the Definition of Neurodivergent?  

The term neurodivergent can be a little confusing to understand, so to prevent any confusion from taking place, let’s begin this article by reviewing the definitions listed below:

  • According to the Cambridge Dictionary, neurodivergent can be defined as having or relating to a type of brain that is often considered different from usual. 
  • An adjective that means the same as neurodiverse, the Collins Dictionary defines neurodivergent as the opposite of neurotypical. 
  • The Oxford English Dictionary says neurodivergent refers to someone who differs in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical. 

Although each definition varies slightly, we can conclude that neurodivergent is a term used to describe someone whose brain processes, learns, or behaves differently from what is considered the norm. 

In other words, neurodivergent describes people who have neurodivergence — aka, cognitive functioning that is not considered “typical.”

Types of Neurodivergence

Some of the most common mental health conditions or labels that fall under the neurodivergent umbrella include:

  • Autism
  • Asperger’s
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Meares-Irlen Syndrome
  • Hyperplasia
  • Synaesthesia

Other types of neurodivergence include Down syndrome, epilepsy, dyscalculia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. 

In addition, some people consider rare forms of “giftedness” to be under the neurodivergent umbrella. For example, individuals with hyperthymesia have a highly accurate memory of their own life experiences. 

What Is Neurodiversity?

Simply put, neurodiversity is the idea that it’s perfectly normal for people to have brains that function differently from one another. 

Rather than thinking there’s something wrong when some people don’t operate similarly to others, neurodiversity supports and embraces all differences — but where did the increasingly popular term originate?

Coined by sociologist Judy Singer, neurodiversity is a scientific concept that came to light after Singer rejected the notion that autistic people are disabled in 1997. The sociologist advocated for the proposition that the autistic brain simply works differently from non-autistic brains. 

Neurodiversity can be broken down into two main categories:

  • Neurotypical (NT) refers to someone who has what is considered to be a typical brain and neurocognitive functioning that falls within ‘normal’ societal standards. These individuals do not have autism, ADHD, OCD, or any other neurological condition. In simpler terms, neurotypical means being “neurologically typical.”
  • Neurodivergent refers to anyone whose brain does not work according to those “normal” societal standards.

It’s important to remember that being neurodivergent is not an official medical diagnosis recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the catalog of psychological conditions commonly used by mental health professionals and clinicians in the United States. 

You see, neurodivergent is a loosely defined term that practitioners use in the mental health space in addition to those who are impacted by mental illness. Simply put, its definition is fluid, and using the word can reduce stigma around the way people learn and think.   

Examples of Neurodivergent Used in a Sentence

Now that you understand what the term neurodivergent means, it’s time to practice using it in a sentence. Quiz yourself by trying to see how many sentences you can come up with using the word neurodivergent, or simply review our usage examples below:

Did you know that somewhere around 20 percent of high school students are thought to be neurodivergent in America?

Some people think that being neurodivergent is the same as having a disability, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The concept of neurodiversity can be tough for some, but I’ve been neurodivergent my whole life, so it’s nothing new to me. 

Ever since the start of the neurodiversity movement a few years back, I’ve met many neurodivergent people.

I don’t care if you’re in a bad mood — you should never pick on someone for being neurodivergent; that’s discrimination and wrong.

Embracing neurodiversity and being neurodivergent can improve inclusivity for all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, or gender.


The term neurodivergent is often used as an alternative way to describe those who are on the autism spectrum. 

Defined as showing atypical neurological behavior or development, neurodivergent describes people who process information and behave differently from a particular culture’s actual or perceived norms. 

In other words, it’s a term used to describe brain functionality and how it differs in some people. 

We hope this guide has provided you with all of the information you need to understand the meaning of neurodivergent fully. If you’d like to discover more interesting words, feel free to explore our website!


  1. NEURODIVERGENT | definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. NEURODIVERGENT English Definition and Meaning |
  3. Neurodivergent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary