A collection of our favorite books relating to neurodiversity.
The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength
By Dale Archer
This is a great book for people who are looking to flip the script about their ADHD diagnosis. Instead of focusing on the negatives, the author explores the many benefits of ADHD-related traits. The book is divided into three sections. The first section is centered around “Exploding the Myth,” or breaking down the current paradigm that defines ADHD as a “deficit” and a “disorder.” The second section aims to help readers to find their strengths, from being explorers by nature, to being able to hyperfocus, to staying cool during a crisis. The final section moves into how to find success as an adult with ADHD. Essentially, this section aims to help you find your niche by choosing a career that best suits your strengths.
I recommend this book for adults with ADHD, or parents of adolescents with ADHD. It’s very well written and makes a strong case for looking at ADHD from a strengths-based perspective. Still, it might not quite capture the attention of college-aged readers. Keep it in mind as you graduate and move into the job market. Learning how to harness your strengths in the work world is an important skill and will likely help your overall wellbeing, too!
The Dyslexic Advantage
By Fernette Eide and Brock Eide
The Dyslexic Advantage shares information and real stories about dyslexia from a strengths perspective. Many books and articles try to remediate a person’s disability, but the Dyslexic Advantage seeks to inform and inspire.
Did you know that dyslexia tends to run in families and that it is a myth that all people with dyslexia experience words moving on a page (or screen) or invert letters? Although it may be more difficult for people with dyslexia to excel in traditional western society, it is not impossible. Doctors Eide and Eide share some suggestions they’ve seen help lots of people with dyslexia to work around the challenges associated with reading and writing. One of the examples is making use of text-to-speech with an increased playback speed to help aid in understanding and focus.
From this book, I learned that the automatic playback speed of most screen readers or text-to-speech programs (1.0x) is actually much slower than the average reading speed for people who do not have reading challenges. I also learned that people with dyslexia tend to process material better when they hear it and tend to process this much faster than reading content, so they can potentially benefit from increasing the playback speed to double or 1.5x.
Doctors Eide and Eide recommend playing around with the playback speed to find what works best for you and then gradually challenging yourself by increasing the speed even further.
Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed For You
By Jenara Nerenberg
This book takes on questions specific to neurodivergent women, such as those with diagnoses of ADHD, autism, or other variations in sensory processing.
Rather than focusing on one single neurotype, this book makes connections between neurodivergent women with similar experiences, despite their varying diagnoses. In particular, there is a focus on “sensitivity” and how being a woman sensitive to emotions, touch, and audio or visual stimuli shapes social interaction and overall wellbeing.
Additionally, this focus on sensitivity explores how language used by a male-dominated medical field has further stigmatized neurodivergence in women. Many of these “sensitive” women are misdiagnosed or self-diagnosed because the diagnostic criteria are so often based on gendered behaviors.
If you are interested in learning more about some of the common experiences of neurodivergent women, this book is a great read.