Neurodiveristy Affirming Language at Amherst Psychology

Identity-first language

Amherst Psychology is committed to using terminology that affirms and promotes the wellbeing of all clients. With respect to our neurodivergent clients and the neurodivergent community in general, we use language that values autism and ADHD as an integral part of a person's identity - rather than a disorder or something that is separate to who they are. For example, we use "an autistic person" rather than "a person with autism" because that is widely accepted as more affirming. There is less consensus about the most affirming language for ADHD but "ADHDer" rather than "has ADHD" is emerging as a good option.


Is it 'neurodivergent' or 'neurodiverse'?

An individual can be neurodivergent or neurotypical, but they cannot be neurodiverse because they are just one person. A couple or a group can be neurodiverse. Of course if a neurodivergent person wishes refers to themselves as neurodiverse, we'll just go with that. Below is an excellent guide to the neurodiverise vs neurodivergent from @scrappapertiger



'Disorder' can be unhelpful

In addition, many autistics and ADHDers feel that using "Autism Spectrum Disorder/ASD" or "Attention Deficit Disorder/ADHD" is problematic because they don't identify as having a disorder. It is not something to be treated, but celebrated and explored. Unfortunately, there is a long history of restrictive 'therapy' or 'treatment' practices for autistics that sought to 'normalise' them. Of course, what is actually required