Neurodiversity “the variation in neurological structure and function among human beings” is a recent coinage based on the combining form neuro- and the noun diversity. Neuro- “nerve” derives from Ancient Greek neûron “tendon, nerve,” which is distantly related to Latin nervus “tendon” and may be related to English sinew. Diversity comes from Latin dīversitās “difference,” from the verb dīvertere “to divert.” The ultimate source of dīvertere is the same as that for the recent Word of the Day selection verst: the Proto-Indo-European root wert- “to turn.” Neurodiversity was first recorded in English in the late 1990s.
Respecting neurodiversity means challenging assumptions about what intelligence is and how to measure it. It means reminding ourselves that just because a person can’t speak doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. It means not asking someone to prove their intelligence before talking to them in an age-appropriate way or offering them intellectually stimulating opportunities. It means remembering that there can be a huge disconnect between mind and body, and that a person’s actions may not reflect their intentions, especially when they are overwhelmed or upset.
While diversity metrics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability are widely tracked among law firms and legal departments, the use of neurodiversity metrics as part of their DEI initiatives currently lags far behind …. It would behoove employers to implement more neurodiversity tracking. Neurodiverse employees often perform better and more efficiently at certain mathematical and computer tasks, which could be beneficial regarding legal tech usage. They can voice creative ideas at meetings and present new ways to approach problem-solving that their neurotypical counterparts may have overlooked. To achieve true diversity, tracking this important metric is essential.