Cover image for Divergent mind : thriving in a world that wasn't designed for you
Title:
Divergent mind : thriving in a world that wasn't designed for you
ISBN:
9780062876799
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
244 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"A paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women-those with ADHD, autism, and other sensory processing differences-exploring why these traits are overlooked in women and how society benefits from allowing their unique strengths to flourish As a successful, Harvard- and Berkeley-educated writer, entrepreneur, and devoted mother, Jenara Nerenberg was shocked to discover that her "symptoms" that were only ever labeled as anxiety were considered autistic and ADHD. Being a journalist, she dove into the research and uncovered neurodiversity-a framework that moves away from pathologizing "abnormal" versus "normal" brains and instead recognizes the vast diversity of our mental makeups. Divergent Mind is a long-overdue, much-needed answer for women who have a deep sense that they are "different." Sharing real stories from women with ADHD, autism, synesthesia, misophonia, and more, Nerenberg explores how these brain variances present differently in women and dispels widely held misconceptions. She also offers a path forward, describing practical changes in how we can communicate, design our surroundings, and better support divergent minds. When we allow our wide variety of brain makeups to flourish, we create a better tomorrow for us all"--
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AUDIBLE EDITOR'S PICK



A paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women--those with ADHD, autism, synesthesia, high sensitivity, and sensory processing disorder--exploring why these traits are overlooked in women and how society benefits from allowing their unique strengths to flourish.

As a successful Harvard and Berkeley-educated writer, entrepreneur, and devoted mother, Jenara Nerenberg was shocked to discover that her "symptoms"--only ever labeled as anxiety-- were considered autistic and ADHD. Being a journalist, she dove into the research and uncovered neurodiversity--a framework that moves away from pathologizing "abnormal" versus "normal" brains and instead recognizes the vast diversity of our mental makeups.

When it comes to women, sensory processing differences are often overlooked, masked, or mistaken for something else entirely. Between a flawed system that focuses on diagnosing younger, male populations, and the fact that girls are conditioned from a young age to blend in and conform to gender expectations, women often don't learn about their neurological differences until they are adults, if at all. As a result, potentially millions live with undiagnosed or misdiagnosed neurodivergences, and the misidentification leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and shame. Meanwhile, we all miss out on the gifts their neurodivergent minds have to offer.

Divergent Mind is a long-overdue, much-needed answer for women who have a deep sense that they are "different." Sharing real stories from women with high sensitivity, ADHD, autism, misophonia, dyslexia, SPD and more, Nerenberg explores how these brain variances present differently in women and dispels widely-held misconceptions (for example, it's not that autistic people lack sensitivity and empathy, they have an overwhelming excess of it).

Nerenberg also offers us a path forward, describing practical changes in how we communicate, how we design our surroundings, and how we can better support divergent minds. When we allow our wide variety of brain makeups to flourish, we create a better tomorrow for us all.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Public health expert and founder of the Neurodiversity Project, Nerenberg reframes how we think about mental differences in this empowering book of discovery and self-acceptance. For too long, women have silently coped with undiagnosed neurodivergence, including ADHD, autism, high sensitivity, and sensory processing disorder. Due to male-centric research and societal expectations placed on women and girls, entire generations of women have struggled to understand their divergent minds. Nerenberg describes her journey after learning that she had "symptoms" of ADHD and autism. Through her experience, readers learn about neurological differences that are common among women and how to embrace and embody divergence in everyday life. Nerenberg does not simply present symptoms and treatments. Rather, she depathologizes these diagnoses and emphasizes the importance of working to raise awareness and to change medical and cultural perspectives on how we view and treat those who experience the world differently. This important book not only advocates for research and innovation; it also demonstrates the power of acceptance, kindness, and the celebration of differences.


Library Journal Review

Aimed specifically at women who feel "different," this accomplished first book from Nerenberg (founder, the Neurodiversity Project) defines and investigates HSP, or the highly sensitive person, delving into the subject of sensory overload in order to reconstruct sensitivity within the framework of neurodiversity. The author argues that women with neurological conditions have been widely overlooked, misdiagnosed, and undertreated, as studies of autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and sensory processing disorder have been predominantly conducted with male participants. In accessible, incisively written chapters, Nerenberg explores the HSP personality and draws on its positive traits both at home and at work, welcoming women with these differences to a community they never knew existed, while designating a roadmap for designing one's life in ways that support and enhance the strengths of the "divergent" mind. VERDICT An extraordinary, jaw-dropping take on a topic with which many women will identify. Of special interest to those in the human resources, counseling, and education fields.--Virginia Johnson, John Curtis P.L., Hanover, MA


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Part I Inner Worlds
Chapter 1 The Female Mind Throughout Historyp. 23
Chapter 2 Reframing Sensitivityp. 35
Part II Outer Frames
Chapter 3 Autism, Synesthesia, and ADHDp. 53
Chapter 4 Sensory Processing "Disorder"p. 85
Part III Something New
Chapter 5 Well-Beingp. 115
Chapter 6 Homep. 143
Chapter 7 Workp. 163
Conclusionp. 189
Acknowledgmentsp. 215
Resourcesp. 219
Further Readingp. 225
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 235