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  • Writer's pictureLauren Moody-Stone

Neurodivergence in Adulthood: Navigating the Journey of Late Diagnosis

Updated: Mar 8

Embracing neurodiversity emphasises recognising the inherent value in different ways of thinking, learning, and behaving. It is a perspective that not only enriches our understanding of mental health but also celebrates the diversity of the human experience. For adults pursuing a diagnosis of neurodivergence, such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, this path can be transformative, marked by self-discovery and acceptance, but not without its challenges.

The term 'neurotypical' describes individuals whose cognitive behaviours match societal expectations. In contrast, 'neurodivergent' encompasses those whose cognitive functions differ from these standards. This distinction is crucial for understanding and supporting the diversity within our community.

how does a late diagnosis of autism affect adults? what are the benefits of a late ADHD diagnosis in adults? strategies for adults with neurodivergence mental health support for neurodivergent adults living a fulfilling life with neurodivergence

Research by Ghanouni and Seaker (2023) has illuminated the experiences of adults receiving a neurodivergence diagnosis, particularly autistic individuals. The findings suggest that a late diagnosis isn't just a label; it is an opportunity for individuals to reframe past experiences and embark on a journey of self-compassion. It can significantly influence one's identity, aligning self-perception with an understanding of their neurodivergent nature. More than that, recognising one's neurodivergence has therapeutic potential, laying the groundwork for tailored strategies, fostering supportive networks, and boosting self-esteem. This clarity is important for self-acceptance and navigating mental health complexities.

As we continue to advocate for neurodiversity, it is important to recognise the individual journeys of neurodivergent adults and the reframing of individual experiences and past events. Understanding and reinterpreting personal histories and experiences through the lens of neurodiversity can lead to profound healing and growth for some individuals. By embracing neurodiversity, we not only foster a more inclusive community but also empower individuals to lead fulfilling, self-affirmed lives.


Ghanouni, P., Seaker, L. What does receiving autism diagnosis in adulthood look like? Stakeholders’ experiences and inputs. Int J Ment Health Syst 17, 16 (2023).



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