Thursday, April 25, 2024

Biopsychosocial diversity

How about changing the term ‘neurodiversity’ to ‘biopsychosocial diversity’? As I said in a previous post, neurodiversity is an umbrella term. It actually means different things to different people. Fundamentally, it is about recognising personal differences and the need for society to adapt to those differences.

There are also disadvantages with the term ‘neurodiversity’ (see eg. previous post). It tends to imply that people’s brains are different. Of course people’s brains are not the same. They are different people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that their differences are just due to their brains. Don’t get me wrong! Of course the brain constructs people. But so do their development and experiences, maybe particularly in the family situation but also outside.

It’s wrong to think that people are their brains (see eg. previous post). All sorts of myths are being promulgated about who we are. People need to  be understood as wholes, as their brains are only part of them. Whelpley et al (2023) note the distinction between the social and medical models of neurodiversity and the need for a more person-centred approach to neurodiversity. Maybe switching the term ‘neurodiversity’ to ‘biopsychosocial diversity’ would help to create this more personal focus.


Escovan said...

Interesting. But this would require a lot more nuance where people who are 'celebrating' neurodiversity are mostly people who do want the positive benefits, understanding and extra care, but don't want to take responsibility for the stuff they can actually change. Just saying: "But I'm actually autistic (neurodiverse)" just waves away any and all need for nuance. Whereas Biopsychosocial diversity directly makes people aware of a surrounding. Of other people in the world. Of the fact that there is in fact a social thing involved which implies interaction with others and that this interaction could lead to psychological changes that might be just as temporarily experienced as any other mental sensation. So there is little rigid long-term sickness-benefit here. And how people act out, actually comes back to them etc. Whereas the biological part is mostly - a given fact someone can't actually change at all so we can leave it out as well. Nobody can take responsibility for actual biological differences, so it's irrelevant when communicating about mental diversity. I'll bookmark this blog though! Have a nice weekend.

DBDouble said...

Thanks, Escovan! I do understand the attraction of the term ‘neurodiversity’ in the sense you mean. But neurodiversity is only a label. What matters more is that people’s needs are met rather than the diagnosis.