Last updated on August 23rd, 2023.
If you’re neurodivergent, you know that life can sometimes be a challenge. There are certain traits that tend to be common among people with neurodivergent conditions like ADHD, autism, and Tourette’s Syndrome.
Here are five of the most common neurodivergent traits in adults. See if you recognize yourself in any of them!
How Do I Know If I'm Neurodivergent?
You will know if you are neurodivergent based on how you present to the world. Neurotypical individiuals tend not to have these 5 struggles we mention below.
And you can most certainly be neurodivergent without a formal diagnosis from a medical provider. However, it might be helpful to discuss your neurodivergence with a doctor if many of the signs align with a particular disorder. There are many routes to help cope and adapt to your neurodivergence.
Is Anxiety Neurodivergent?
Anxiety can be considered neurodivergent. typically, it is up to the individual to classify themselves as neurodivergent.
Anxiety is also a sign of many other disorders, so it can be lumped into a diagnosis in that way as well.
5 Common Neurodivergent Traits
Neurodivergence is a term coined to give a spectrum to the normal and “abnormal” behaviors and signs in people. This is a social construct adapted by many to help them find the most harmony with themselves. For some that includes self-diagnosing a disorder.
Being neurodivergent and exploring what that means for you can help you make peace with who you are in a society that tends to shun differences. But neurodivergence is not a medical diagnosis, it is more of a self-diagnosis.
What Are Examples Of Neurodivergent?
Some examples of being neurodivergent include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Intellectual disabilities
- Difficulties with reading, writing, math or coordination
- Social anxiety
- Mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder
Also, being neurodivergent can’t be cured because it is about how your brain develops over time. This is not something you can change. But there are ways to cope and adapt to being neurodivergent.
There are 5 major traits that seem to run through most neurodivergent personalities. However, this is not a comprehensive list so you may find you fit some, all, or none of these traits.
1. Struggling To Understand Or Follow Social Rules
For those struggling to understand or follow social rules, it can seem like an insurmountable task. Not only do we need to be aware of the changing trends in society, but also cope with society’s implicit expectations.
This is a common neurodivergent trait present among mainly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
A helping hand from an understanding teacher, mentor, or sympathetic friend can make a world of difference in this regard. With their expertise and personal experiences they are able to show us a way forward and provide invaluable advice on navigating society’s norms.
Additionally, one can take note of the behavior exhibited by others and emulate it in the most appropriate contexts – practice certainly does make perfect!
2. Having A Hard Time Reading Social Cues
Many people these days struggle to understand subtle nonverbal cues in social interactions. As we communicate virtually more and more, many of us have found ourselves having trouble deciphering basic emotions in face-to-face conversations.
This is another neurodivergent trait common among people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
While this can be difficult and embarrassing, it’s important to remember that everyone is struggling sometimes – regardless of whether or not they’re putting on a ‘cool’ facade.
To help build confidence, try roleplaying with friends or family members. Practicing can help to internalize common gestures and responses so you know what to look for when interacting with real people.
Learning how to read social cues doesn’t have to be overwhelming – before you know it, your conversations will become smoother and easier.
3. Extreme Sensitivity
Having an extremely sensitive reaction to certain sounds, textures, tastes, smells and lights can be a burden to some. It can interfere with daily functioning and cause anxiety or fear in environments that contain the stimuli.
This is common among neurodivergent people who have experienced trauma.
It is important for those who experience this heightened sensitivity to be able to understand why it happens and how best to manage it.
The key to successfully living with oversensitivity is having strategies which work for each individual – talk therapies, mindfulness, avoiding certain situations or using ear defenders have all been suggested before.
Ultimately everyone has different triggers, so developing coping mechanisms tailored to your specific needs is essential in managing the effects of being overly sensitive.
4. Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting millions of people around the world. It is characterized by overwhelming feelings of worry and fear in social situations, leading to difficulty engaging with others and avoiding certain situations that might trigger anxiety.
Social anxiety is a medical diagnosis you can receive, but it is also a common trait among neurodivergent people.
Those who suffer from it often feel overwhelmed and are unable to concentrate on conversations or focus on their own thoughts.
Some physical symptoms can also occur in social settings for someone experiencing social anxiety like:
- Racing heart rate
Thankfully, there are numerous treatments available for those struggling with this condition, including therapy and medications.
With proper treatment and understanding from family and friends, many sufferers are able to better manage their anxiety and work towards living a more comfortable life.
5. Speech And Language Challenges
Speech and language challenges can significantly affect an individual’s social development, as it impairs their ability to communicate effectively with others. This can be a common neurodivergent trait.
In addition, it can make simple everyday activities become seemingly insurmountable tasks. Thankfully, there are a wide range of resources available for individuals and families facing these issues.
Speech-language pathologists specialize in examining and diagnosing speech and language difficulties, while also providing supportive treatments that empower those affected to make progress with their communication abilities.
Supportive measures such as communication therapy can help open the door to new opportunities which would otherwise have remained closed due to communication challenges.
With expert help, those with speech and language impairments can enjoy improved self-confidence as they gain new skills that help them express themselves more effectively.
In Summary: There Are Five Neurodivergent Traits Common in Adults
For those who are struggling with social issues, it is critical to take your time to identify what the underlying issues might be. Consider if there are sensory sensitivities, language and communication challenges, or heightened anxiety that may be playing a role in difficulties in understanding or following social rules.
If any of these may apply to you, it is beneficial to reach out for support from professionals who can give you the help you need. Working together as part of an integrated team of healthcare providers and researchers, they will assist you in managing your symptoms and striving towards a better quality of life.