Soaring: A Journal of Undergraduate Research
neurodivergent, disability, mental health
The term “neurodivergent” should be used over the phrase “mental disability” because it is a more accurate, much safer, and easily accessible term to use. There are many reasons why the language surrounding mental disabilities should be changed. The stigma of the word “disability” alone can be damaging enough to a disabled person. Furthermore, the phrase “mental disability” doesn’t accurately describe what they are and instead implies an inability to mentally function. Both of these factors combined has led to openly mentally disabled people fear for their safety as their diagnosis can be used against them once it’s public knowledge. The already used term “neurodivergent” helps remedy these problems with mental disability language. The term has yet to be associated with negative stigma due to it being a word created by disabled people and disability activists. The phrasing of the word implies more of a difference in brain function, which more accurately describes what a mental disability is. Finally, using the term can help set more protected boundaries than giving out specifics would.
Olivieri, Rocco M. II
"Neurodiversity: How One Word Can Hold So Much Meaning,"
Soaring: A Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 2023, Article 10.
Available at: https://fisherpub.sjf.edu/soaring/vol2023/iss1/10