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Neurotypical or NT, an abbreviation of neurologically typical, is a neologism widely used in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum or without mental illnesses. In its original usage, it referred to anyone who is not autistic or a 'cousin' with an 'autistic-like' brain;‹See TfM›[failed verification][unreliable source?] the term was later narrowed to refer to those with strictly typical neurology, that is, without a defined neurological difference.
In other words, this refers to anyone who does not have any developmental disorders such as autism, developmental coordination disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The term was later adopted by both the neurodiversity movement and the scientific community.
In recent times,[as of?] people with any sort of mental disorder, whether congenital or acquired, have also sometimes[when?] been excluded[by whom?] from the neurotypical label.[dubious ] In this sense, the term is now contrasted to neurodivergent, ND, or neuroatypical, an umbrella term inclusive of people with diverse mental and behavioral disorders, such as mood, anxiety, dissociative, psychotic, personality, and eating disorders. The conditions themselves, following the neurodiversity and social construction of disability models and in distance from the hegemonic medical model of disability (otherwise known in the neurodiversity community as the "pathology paradigm"), are often referred to as neurodivergences—that is, neurotypes that are divergent from a given social and medical norm.
Neurotypical, as a specific term for its original purpose within autistic communities, has been replaced by some with allistic, or "nypical", which has roughly the same meaning that "neurotypical" had originally. These terms refer to those who are not autistic and who do not possess another pervasive developmental disorder, even if they may be neurologically atypical in some other way, such as having dyslexia.
The National Autistic Society of the United Kingdom says of the term "neurotypical": "This term is only used within the autism community so may not be applicable in, for example, the popular press."
In a review of 2020 two basic observations were noted:
- Many people who do not have an autism diagnosis have autistic traits. This was known by researchers as the “broad autism phenotype”. So, there was no clear bimodal distribution separating people with and without autism. In reality there were not two distinct populations, one “neurotypical” and one “neurodivergent”.
- “Neurotypical” was a very dubious construct, because there was nobody who was really, truly neurotypical. There was no such standard for the human brain.
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- Russell G. (2020): Critiques of the Neurodiversity Movement. In: Kapp, Steven (eds). Autistic community and the neurodiversity movement: stories from the frontline. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 287-303. p. 288. ISBN 978-981-13-8437-0. OCLC 1127055276.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link), PDF.
- Russell G. (2020): Critiques of the Neurodiversity Movement. In: Kapp, Steven (eds). Autistic community and the neurodiversity movement: stories from the frontline. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 287-303. p. 290. ISBN 978-981-13-8437-0. OCLC 1127055276.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link), PDF.