What is a neurotype?
Updated: Jun 12
If you’ve spent any time exploring neurodiversity-affirming online spaces, you’ll likely have come across the term “neurotype”. Taken literally, this refers to different types of brains or different brain wiring. When we talk about differently wired brains, what we mean is that different brain types filter incoming sensory information and output behavioural information in different ways.
Neurotypical as a neurotype refers to the assumed standard way of thinking and behaving. The Autistic neurotype differs from this, as does the ADHD neurotype, the OCD neurotype, or the BPD neurotype, etc, etc.
The use of the term neurotype is purposefully meant to move away from deficit-based language. It is firmly rooted in the social model of disability as opposed to the medical model of disability. Thinking of Autism, ADHD, etc as neurotypes is directly saying that these conditions are innate (meaning we are born with them, they are in our DNA) and not something to be cured, they are simply a difference in brain wiring that society has decided is not the norm.
The more we learn about neurodiversity and the prevalence and variety of presentations of each neurotype, the more I wonder if neurotypical brains are actually the minority…time will tell!