I really hate the term "neurotypical"

Okay, so anyone on the autism spectrum or familiar with people on it will have come across this term.

In simple terms, "neurodiversity" originated as a way of trying to de-pathologise autism (and has since been expanded to other neurological conditions, but for convenience I will refer to autism solely from here on in) by instead presenting having autism as a "difference" rather than the conventional and potentially stigmatising notion of a "wrongness" according to the norm. So far, so fine by me.

However, to my mind, it introduces potential problems, and the neologism of "neurotypical" crystallises those problems.

Diversity in neurological function exists. But it exists everywhere. Autistic people show differing forms or severities of certain traits... and so do non-autistic people. As wide diversity exists both within the autistic and non-austistic, then the term "neurotypical" to cover a wide range of diversity is gibberish: a fundamental mischaracterisation of reality. Not only that, but if autism is a spectrum, and autism can be manifested as a certain number of behaviours outside a socially constructed norm whilst other behaviours are potentially within the norm (and likewise that "normal" people may have one or more behaviours outside the norm but short of meeting diagnosis criteria), then what the hell is "typical" supposed to be anyway?

It's even worse than that, because it creates a dichotomy - and that dichotomy happens to be between people who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and those who have not. So all it's really achieved is to express exactly the same concept that we already had words for: autistic and non-autistic.

Finally, if autistic people want to be called "neurodiverse" then I'm okay doing so. But honestly, as I have severe doubts and disagreements with the term "neurotypical", I think maybe they can honour my preferences in return and not foist it on me.

Spoken like a typical neurotypical.

Drathnoxis:
Spoken like a typical neurotypical.

Yes, I was totally expecting at least one person to say that.

If I were to be more provocative, I'd suggest that "neurodiverse" and "neurotypical" have become an exercise in "us and them" relabelling: who's in the club and who isn't. Not necessarily in a maliciously exclusionary or superior sense, but more about finding the security and comradeship of an affiliation, but under a banner that doesn't carry the baggage of being defined by the people outside the club.

Never thought about it before. To say someone is neurodiverse makes it sound like that one individual contains a great amount of neural diversity (which, I suppose we all do, but it gives more a sense of someone being mentally all over the place).

I traveled a similar(ish) train of thought some time ago. I was thinking about Sheldon Cooper's pseudoautistic shenanigans and what does it mean to use 'autistic' as an insult. Because the truth is as you put it:

Diversity in neurological function exists. But it exists everywhere. Autistic people show differing forms or severities of certain traits... and so do non-autistic people.

Everyone has some autistic traits in them, and it's a disorder once it starts getting in the way (to put it really simply). I think 'stop being autistic' is an informative phrase. It makes you think. "What am I doing here? Is it what I decided to do, or are my autistic traits surfacing for no good end?" Yeah sure, really insensitive towards people actually on the spectrum, but it can be useful nonetheless. In the end it will bring us closer together.

Are all these labels actually true though. Seems more like a means for self-assertion to extraneous circumstances of the current social climate that draws the circle of 'normal' behavior(espescially pediatric development) smaller and smaller than actual neurological differences(other than the more severe cases). I think labels are actually harmful as it doesn't have to be true, but if you believe it then it becomes true; you start to behave accordingly maybe even sabotaging your own opportunities in the process. I also wonder how all this overdiagnosing crap is actually just overcompensating for poor or neglectful parenting.

But well, people like to belong to a club I guess which makes 'neurodiverse' very neurotypical. There are major differences in personality traits and behavioral susceptibilities among people that generalizations obfuscate and amount to more than specific neurological composition.

Hello, aspie here. I'm not a particular fan of the term neurotypical either, the old term I used was just, normal, as in they have the normal way of thinking.

Over all to me it seems to be part of a trend of club house making that a lot of minority groups have been trending towards like referring to someone as cis gendered and it seems rather unnecessary to myself even though I'm part of a minority group.

Agema:

Drathnoxis:
Spoken like a typical neurotypical.

Yes, I was totally expecting at least one person to say that.

If I were to be more provocative, I'd suggest that "neurodiverse" and "neurotypical" have become an exercise in "us and them" relabelling: who's in the club and who isn't. Not necessarily in a maliciously exclusionary or superior sense, but more about finding the security and comradeship of an affiliation, but under a banner that doesn't carry the baggage of being defined by the people outside the club.

I don't know if you noticed, but - diverse anything - usually triggers some people, creating an us and them situation anyway.

Oh god not another label.

Sounds like a case of "euphemism threadmill" to me. The usage of "autistic" as an insult have rose in recent years, so a different label was invented.

Agema:

If I were to be more provocative, I'd suggest that "neurodiverse" and "neurotypical" have become an exercise in "us and them" relabelling: who's in the club and who isn't. Not necessarily in a maliciously exclusionary or superior sense, but more about finding the security and comradeship of an affiliation, but under a banner that doesn't carry the baggage of being defined by the people outside the club.

At the risk of sounding daft; Isn't that the case with every label of this kind?

I don't really care. I'm on the autism spectrum, technically, been diagnosed with Asperger's as a teenager but autism is a spectrum that ranges from "has trouble looking people in the eyes" to "basically catatonic" and I'm close enough to the former that that diagnosis has never really mattered to me. Likewise I don't see a reason to distinguish myself from "neurotypical" people. And I'm sure as shit not gonna identify as "neurodiverse". I suffer from a minor disability but it's something most people wouldn't be able to tell unless I bring it up. Maybe these distinctions matter more for people more severely affected by it than I am, I can't speak for them.

Hmmm, okay, another label to my shame collection.

Lessie, I'm at Neurotypical Bluepill Beta Cishet Commmie Antifa Libtard Nazi SJW scum currently. Wonder what the next one will be?

Agema:

However, to my mind, it introduces potential problems, and the neologism of "neurotypical" crystallises those problems.

Diversity in neurological function exists. But it exists everywhere. Autistic people show differing forms or severities of certain traits... and so do non-autistic people. As wide diversity exists both within the autistic and non-austistic, then the term "neurotypical" to cover a wide range of diversity is gibberish: a fundamental mischaracterisation of reality. Not only that, but if autism is a spectrum, and autism can be manifested as a certain number of behaviours outside a socially constructed norm whilst other behaviours are potentially within the norm (and likewise that "normal" people may have one or more behaviours outside the norm but short of meeting diagnosis criteria), then what the hell is "typical" supposed to be anyway?

There's a lot of perfectly appropriate rationale here, but as far as I know these terms were never strictly about etymological accuracy. There was always an element of convenience and association with them, which is the case with most of the English language.

To illustrate: much of this rationale applies to the term "disabled", which is a term now widely accepted and applied. Difference in ability exists everywhere, too; disabled people show different forms and severities of certain traits, too, as do people who aren't disabled... see what I'm getting at? Etymologically the term isn't perfectly functional, but its usefully descriptive and convenient.

Silvanus:
To illustrate: much of this rationale applies to the term "disabled", which is a term now widely accepted and applied. Difference in ability exists everywhere, too; disabled people show different forms and severities of certain traits, too, as do people who aren't disabled... see what I'm getting at? Etymologically the term isn't perfectly functional, but its usefully descriptive and convenient.

But "neurotypical" and "neurodiverse" aren't properly descriptive - that's part of my point. And worse, I feel "neurotypical" undermines part of the key point of what it seems to me that neurodiversity is supposed to represent.

To use an analogy of diversity in race, part of the idea seems to me to break down the idea that whites are the assumed norm from which difference is treated as an aberration. But "neurotypical" seems to me to reinforce the idea of a norm from which difference is an aberration.

Specter Von Baren:
Hello, aspie here. I'm not a particular fan of the term neurotypical either, the old term I used was just, normal, as in they have the normal way of thinking.

Over all to me it seems to be part of a trend of club house making that a lot of minority groups have been trending towards like referring to someone as cis gendered and it seems rather unnecessary to myself even though I'm part of a minority group.

If you're discussing groups of people, you need to have a name for that group and a name for people who aren't in that group. "Normal", in of itself is a meaningless term, could relate to anything. Could relate to gender, brain chemistry, handedness, anything. If you have to say "normal way of thinking" to get the meaning across, why not say "neurotypical"?

Smithnikov:
Hmmm, okay, another label to my shame collection.

Lessie, I'm at Neurotypical Bluepill Beta Cishet Commmie Antifa Libtard Nazi SJW scum currently. Wonder what the next one will be?

You forgot cuck

Things with 'typical' in the name always turn out to be based on a case study of, like, five people anyway, always think they're a bit of a waste of time

This is just one more of these politically correct things you wanna roll your eyes at. Sure, a genius is neuroatypical just as much as a retard but lets not think about that, there's retards being made fun of! (reminds me of a standup comedy part about this, the gist being that this isn't about them but about their families cause they don't even understand you're making fun of them lol)

The offensive word treadmill rolls on and on.

It doesn't matter what term is used to describe someone that doesn't possess the emotional or mental capabilities of an unimpeded individual - it will be adopted as a slur eventually and therefore become offensive and we'll think of a new word only to fall into the same process again.

No amount of wishful thinking is going to change this, being born deficient in a particular attribute is not a good thing, it's not the fault of the person born in that way, but it's certainly a detriment. Whatever word used to describe it will be used as an insult towards someone who was not born with the detriment but is exhibiting symptoms of someone who was. It is used because it's a commonly understood descriptor.

"Stop waddling around like a lame duck and get your ass into gear!"

"Why would you say that to him? Are you autistic or just retarded?"

Remember, can't call someone "stupid" because that's the original term for mentally retarded, and before that it was "idiot".

Abomination:
The offensive word treadmill rolls on and on.

It doesn't matter what term is used to describe someone that doesn't possess the emotional or mental capabilities of an unimpeded individual - it will be adopted as a slur eventually and therefore become offensive and we'll think of a new word only to fall into the same process again.

No amount of wishful thinking is going to change this, being born deficient in a particular attribute is not a good thing, it's not the fault of the person born in that way, but it's certainly a detriment. Whatever word used to describe it will be used as an insult towards someone who was not born with the detriment but is exhibiting symptoms of someone who was. It is used because it's a commonly understood descriptor.

"Stop waddling around like a lame duck and get your ass into gear!"

"Why would you say that to him? Are you autistic or just retarded?"

Remember, can't call someone "stupid" because that's the original term for mentally retarded, and before that it was "idiot".

I used to think about it like this before I considered that the goal might be to end up with a term that is actually kind of awkward to say to avoid it becoming a slur. For example, 'little people' is far less snappy than 'midget' and 'mentally disabled' doesn't have the same ring to it as 'retard.' It's kind of hard to imagine someone yelling "LITTLE PERSON!!" as an insult, it's just too much of a mouthful.

Drathnoxis:

Abomination:
The offensive word treadmill rolls on and on.

It doesn't matter what term is used to describe someone that doesn't possess the emotional or mental capabilities of an unimpeded individual - it will be adopted as a slur eventually and therefore become offensive and we'll think of a new word only to fall into the same process again.

No amount of wishful thinking is going to change this, being born deficient in a particular attribute is not a good thing, it's not the fault of the person born in that way, but it's certainly a detriment. Whatever word used to describe it will be used as an insult towards someone who was not born with the detriment but is exhibiting symptoms of someone who was. It is used because it's a commonly understood descriptor.

"Stop waddling around like a lame duck and get your ass into gear!"

"Why would you say that to him? Are you autistic or just retarded?"

Remember, can't call someone "stupid" because that's the original term for mentally retarded, and before that it was "idiot".

I used to think about it like this before I considered that the goal might be to end up with a term that is actually kind of awkward to say to avoid it becoming a slur. For example, 'little people' is far less snappy than 'midget' and 'mentally disabled' doesn't have the same ring to it as 'retard.' It's kind of hard to imagine someone yelling "LITTLE PERSON!!" as an insult, it's just too much of a mouthful.

Thing is, not everyone will view being called a "Little person" as unoffensive. Some view it as infantisizing. Also, one doesn't have to scream a word to apply it in a derogatory manner - rather adopt a sickly-sweet sing-song tone instead "Aw, the poor little person is stwuggling wiff da stairws."

I think folk should have stuck with "Dwarf", especially because of all the positive connotations one could draw from it now with the prevalence of fantasy literature. Awesome beards, hardy folk, deceptively strong for their size, fine craftsmen, stalwart friends... take "dwarf" back and own it. Embrace it. Hit people with an axe if you don't like them.

Palindromemordnilap:
Things with 'typical' in the name always turn out to be based on a case study of, like, five people anyway, always think they're a bit of a waste of time

Neurodiversity comes from the 90s, I think, and social science. As I said, from what I know of it, I have no objections to it.

"Neurotypical" is a more a recent neologism that has emerged from the autistic community: as far as I am aware, it is based on no meaningful science whatsoever. As far as I can tell it is just that as some autistic people started to refer to themselves as neurodiverse, they made up an thematic antonym to describe the non-autistic.

Like a lot of terms coming from social science, one should be very careful applying them in the medical/psychiatric field, since these are often very separate fields that draw upon very different literature.

Your point does stand that there is no "true neurotypical" person, same way that "the average person" only exists in statistics, still, I do think it can serve as a good shorthand when discussing the mental healthcare field.
Personality and mental disorders are not anomalous things, in fact, they tend to be completely ordinary brain functions or cognitive abilities ramped up to a dysfunctional degree.

Everyone has these functions and are sensitive to them at variant levels, for those that do not experience hindrance or debilitating sensitivity to them we can classify as "No disorders", neurotypical, if you will, within the mediate boundaries.

Describing Autistic people as "neurodiverse" is kind of a "Well, duh." thing to me, we are neurodiverse as a species, though I do think that calling attention to the needs and difficulties of "Neuro-atypical" people may result in at least a little good, makes us reconsider our social interactions and what and when we consider things "rude", we may come a long way with a little more tolerance there. ^^
This is not done by placating those who presume to champion their dignity, this is done directly on the individual level, ignore the movement and the labels, see the people instead.

Thaluikhain:

Specter Von Baren:
Hello, aspie here. I'm not a particular fan of the term neurotypical either, the old term I used was just, normal, as in they have the normal way of thinking.

Over all to me it seems to be part of a trend of club house making that a lot of minority groups have been trending towards like referring to someone as cis gendered and it seems rather unnecessary to myself even though I'm part of a minority group.

If you're discussing groups of people, you need to have a name for that group and a name for people who aren't in that group. "Normal", in of itself is a meaningless term, could relate to anything. Could relate to gender, brain chemistry, handedness, anything. If you have to say "normal way of thinking" to get the meaning across, why not say "neurotypical"?

That's just my own feelings on it. A newer generation probably prefers neurotypical but I'm set on just using normal since it's what I grew up using.

Abomination:

"Stop waddling around like a lame duck and get your ass into gear!"

I prefer calling them a "ruptured duck" myself.

I have very mixed feelings about the neurodiversity movement, but personally I do use the term neurotypical.

I have very good camouflaging skills, meaning I can effectively hide my autism pretty much perfectly. This hasn't always been the case. I learned to camouflage as a way of protecting myself from bullying and isolation. That is the harsh choice facing autistic people, you learn to fake it or you will always be a victim or an outcast. I am different from other autistic people, but mostly that's because of the way I grew up and the things I learned how to do. As a child, I was pretty similar to any autistic child.

There is already a very clear us and them with autism, and if you can't act like part of the us, you're going to be pushed to the margins. I think the least neurotypical people could accept in return is a view from the margins. If we're "weird", and we have to live with all the stereotypes and associations and actual, measurable stigma of being weird, then you get to be "normal", with the full implications of what that means. If that assertion of normality is othering, if it denies your individuality, if it's divisive, then that's something to think on.

Now, what I don't like about the neurodiversity movement is that it's overwhelmingly by and for people like me, people with no cognitive impairment or serious difficulties beyond that deeply unfair stigma of being "weird". But that's not the reality for most autistic people. By denying that autism is a disability, we're kind of implying that having a disability is a bad thing, and that does a huge disservice to autistic people who can't do what we do and who do need more than just recognition and occasional accommodation.

 

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