The Current Situation
Neurodivergence is a blanket term for a neurological condition that causes deviations from the norms of typical behavior. Neurotypical refers to someone who behaves in accordance with these norms, and this is how they are defined throughout the remainder of the article.
Whether it’s autism, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), neurodiversity should be embraced by all people, including those who are neurotypical. It is important for society to recognize the differences between each individual and allow everyone to contribute in a way that they can and want to.
However, it appears that this respect isn’t returned by all neurotypicals. There are loads of examples that show neurodivergent being treated poorly by their peers, from the pillorying of Steve Silberman to the mocking of a man with autism at a Donald Trump rally.
Neurodiversity is a condition that many people have and do not choose. This is often the case with neurotypicals as well; many of them have conditions or disorders that they do not choose. Employers don’t hire people because of dyslexia, diabetes, depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, etc.
Yet, these are conditions that society would never be able to function without – it would be a bleak and empty world if everyone was neurotypical. This is why it’s incredibly difficult for those with these conditions to live functional lives, as many of them face struggles every day that the average person does not fathom. It requires a greater degree of empathy than society as a whole has been able to give thus far.
The pillorying of Silberman is a good example of the lack of empathy within a neurotypical society. Steve Silberman has Asperger syndrome. Asperger’s is not typically something that would be obvious to someone who doesn’t know him, and if it were, they probably wouldn’t care. However, he is a bestselling author who has written a novel called Neurotribes, which explores the condition and the responsibility that we have as a society to accommodate those with autism. When it won awards, many neurotypicals jumped on the bandwagon of shaming him, accusing him of self-congratulation, self-pity, name-dropping, and only writing his book because of his own self-interest. It was beyond ridiculous, and their responses to him were heartless and cruel.
One man even said that Silberman should be sterilized, which is an absolutely horrendous thing to say about anyone, let alone someone who has dedicated much of their life to neurodiversity. This is not the only example of this kind of behavior; there are hundreds, if not thousands, of more accounts of neurotypicals bullying those with autism.
The amount of disrespect shown by these people is astounding. Neurodiversity affects every single person on this planet, and yet these people feel like they can bully someone who has it without suffering any repercussions. They feel that they can mock someone with autism at a Donald Trump rally, not realizing that this is exactly the kind of behavior that leads to fascist sentiment taking over politics. It’s despicable and insulting – it should be treated as such by society as a whole.
Society needs to give Neurodivergents the respect that they deserve and to stop shaming them for their conditions. Not only this, but we need to recognize how these conditions can be detrimental to their lives and open our minds to personal growth so we can adapt to neurodivergent people – who we will most likely meet in our lifetime.
Society has the ability to be accepting and inclusive. However, it is clear that they need to adapt more in order to accommodate Neurodivergents in today’s society.