Neurodiversity status

Why is being considered ‘Neurotypical’ seen as a privilege?

Neurodiversity status

Why is being considered ‘Neurotypical’ seen as a privilege?
Neurodiversity is defined as the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioural traits, regarded as part of the variation in the human population.

Why is being Neurotypical a privilege?

Someone within the ‘neurotypical’ range more readily meets expectations around how we learn, communicate, and problem-solve. Therefore, having a brain that works within this ‘neurotypical’ range is a privilege. Neurotypicals are likely to perform well in classical education systems and in the ‘ways of working’ society prioritises. Consequently, they do not face the same barriers, stigma or discrimination that a person who has a neurodistinct identity is likely to experience.


  • I do not have additional hurdles to manage in my day-to-day life because of the way my brain is wired
  • As a person within the neurotypical range, I do not face any stigma related to how my brain works, nor do I have to worry about this aspect in my personal or professional life.
  • I do not have to disclose my neurodiversity status in either an educational or workplace setting. Nor do I have to ask for accommodations or additional considerations because I am neurotypical.

Stats Don’t Lie 

  • Neurodistinct people represent roughly 20% of the population, cutting across race, gender, age, and sexual orientation.​ Yet, unemployment rates ​for neurodistinct people ​run as high as 80% ​ (Korn Ferry Institute, n.d.)
  • A 2019 report on the digital and technology sector found that 39% of neurodistinct professionals had ​not disclosed at work. ​ (BIMA, 2019)
  • Neurodistinct professionals were found to have a much higher incidence of anxiety and depression, at 84% compared with 49% among their neurotypical colleagues. ​ (BIMA, 2019)

What to do next?

Working towards creating a more equal society and workplace starts with recognising the ways in which we are privileged. The assumption is that people who have a neurodiversity status within the range that society has deemed as ‘the norm’, commonly referred to as being ‘neurotypical’ have greater privilege. Neurodistinct professionals often have to spend energy masking and making their neurodistinct styles and preferences less visible or facing the repercussions of stereotypes being triggered by ‘not the norm’ behaviours. If you’re interested in starting a journey to overhaul this imbalance then join the Privilege Project today.

Watch the recorded session on Neurotypical privilege from our summer event.