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By Meghan Daum. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Terms like neurodiversity and neuroatyptical are everywhere these days. And though they can refer to any everything from social functioning to learning differences, the terms are most often applied to people on the autism spectrum. Because of that—and because autism has historically been associated with boys and men—there hasn’t been a lot of thinking about neurodivergence in females. Jenara Nerenberg is trying to change that. Growing up in the 1990s, she was considered a “sensitive” child but was high functioning enough to thrive academically and eventually establish a successful career in journalism, not least of all because of her ability to remain hyperfocused on tasks. But later, when the hyperfocus began to compromise her daily life, she looked deeper into her traits and learned that she was actually on the autism spectrum and struggled with ADHD. This led her down a research path that resulted in a book, Divergent Mind, which looks at how diagnoses like autism, high sensitive, sensory processing disorder, and synesthesia play out in women and why a combination of inadequate medical research and a tendency among women to mask their symptoms has led to rampant misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. Jenara talked with Meghan about what this new information has meant for her and, more importantly, why she thinks it’s crucial that neurodivergence be understood as something far being the scope of autism. Guest Bio: Jenara Nerenberg is a writer who began her career with Fast Company and CNN in Asia after graduating from the Harvard School of Public Health. When she returned to the U.S. she chronicled her journey through the field of “neurodiversity” in her book, Divergent Mind, and began covering science and psychology books for the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, prompting her to switch to the world of book publishing. She now hosts bestselling authors live in San Francisco and online, and is head of the agency Divergent Literary, in addition to running publicity for international publishers. She appears at public events and conferences with The Aspen Institute and Commonwealth Club, and continues to speak widely on the rhetoric of psychology and implications for society. The episode of The Unspeakable is sponsored by Better Help online therapy. Visit Betterhelp.com/Unspeakable for a special offer.