All opinions and views stated on this site belong solely to Corina Lynn Becker, and do not represent or reflects the views and opinions of any organizations, unless otherwise specified.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Limitations of the word "Neurotypical"

The word Neurotypical, or NT, is used quite a bit in the Autistic community to refer to non-Autistic individuals.  Lately, I've noticed some discussion on whether it is an accurate term, or whether there is a better term to use without being discriminating to the non-Autistic population. 

As I understand it, the term Neurotypical was created by Autistic persons in response to the use of the word "normal" when being compared to the rest of the human population.  Many times, it's been used mockingly, through parody sites such as the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical

I've also seen it used as a shorthand, or as an alternative for non-Autistic people. 
From what I can see, there has also been some debate on whether Neurotypical includes or excludes other variants of neurological diversity, and how exactly the term should be used, if at all. 

However, if one considers the Neurodiversity philosophy, then the term Neurotypical is at worse a flawed term, and at best a term that will become, in time, irrelevant and fall out of use.  Or else will come to encompass Autistic individuals as well as other forms of diverse neurology.

This is because Neurodiversity philosophy considers Autism as a natural part of human diversity, thus making it a part of human typicality, or normal.  As this becomes a fully embraced concept applied to all forms of neurological diversity, there will be no need to make and use the term Neurotypical as a division between neuro-types. 

In a sense, we will all be Neurotypical, so there will be no need to use the term anymore, except for an explanation of previous articles and texts. 

In this context, I don't really see a point in creating an alternative term, since if there are improvements in the world, the term will be discontinued.  It is a term with a very limited period of use.  To create an alternative, then, is to halt the progress that we have been making, and even to discriminating to other members of diverse neurology.

After all, the ultimate goal of creating the term Neurotypical is to eventually not use it.