[In unrelated news, Haiti relief information pages I recommend:
Feministe page (the comments are important, the OP isn't familiar with all of hir listed charities!)
Partners in Health and Doctors w/o Borders seem to be consistently well recommended.]
The definition and usage.
Wikipedia currently defines the term "neurotypical" as "a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum" (emphasis mine) and goes on further to state that neurotypicals (all not autistic people) are what "most" would perceive as "normal" (with regards to neurology & development).
The only real definition I can find via neurodiversity.com is this: "The term is used with varying degrees of seriousness. This ranges from a straightforward factual way to refer to non-autistic spectrum people to a more playfully tongue-in-cheek use in contexts which often strongly imply that the 'merely typical' are to be pitied..." (emphasis mine).
The term "neurodiversity" itself is, unsurprisingly, similarly centered on autism. I will note, though, that an assortment of non-ASD mental non-typicalities accompanies the Wikipedia definition, the source of which flippantly attributes this inclusion to nebulous "radical groups"*1.
Inclusive alternatives to this definition which acknowledge the existence of "non-typicality" outside of the autistic spectrum are out there. But the inclusive interpretation tends to show up only as an afterthought, if at all; I think the standard usage is as I have quoted.
And that exclusive usage, which makes the presumption of "neurological typicality" on the basis of simply not being on the autism spectrum, is a problem. The neurodiverse (neuro non-typical) umbrella ought to cover the whole range of neurologically nonstandard people, not arbitrarily restrict itself to the austism spectrum. As the language of these terms is inherently presumptuous, it seems entirely reasonable to expect that their usage respect those presumptions.
I want to stress that what I am complaining about is the apparent mainstream characterization. It is generally unclear to me what, precisely, is meant by the usage of these terms in the community itself*2. It's also not clear to me why the exclusivity of the terms persists; is it a lack of not!AS people identifying with the neurodiversity movement, is it the movement failing to recognize those idenities, is it both? And whatever it is, why?
The terminology itself.
The "neuro-" prefix seems problematic in a few ways.
Do those with "physical" neural difficulties - neuropathies, for example - "belong" under the neurodiverse umbrella? If so, why does little or no neurodiverse advocacy cover this issue? If not, how is the distinction made?
What counts as "neurological"? Autism itself, as far as I know, has no readily confirmed neurological cause - theories, yes, but no "smoking gun" evidence. Invoking neurology makes a statement about reality: that a given phenomenon can be explained with consistency by a physical cause within the nervous system. What is the rationale behind this assumption with regards to the neurodiverse movement?
Why exclude the psychological? Is this deliberate distancing? From this crazy's*3 perspective, it seems like it - psychos are unpalatable, so the neurodiverse movement is focusing on neurology as a way to clean things up for presentation to the neurotypical world. Similar, in my opinion, to the way the LG(b) community mandates innate, inborn (and genetic/neurological) sexuality as the only way sexuality works and censors exceptions and deviance in order to be more presentable. In this case, neurology (stereotypically inborn, genetic) takes the place of superiority to psychology ("not physical" and therefore stereotypically the person's "fault") and all the rationale stays the same.
The "-typical" in "neurotypical" also poses problems.
We say "heterosexual", not "sexualtypical". We say "cisgendered", not "gendertypical". These words have discrete meanings in and of themselves - they are not typicalities, not defaults. "Neurotypical" is a default. It has no more meaning than "normal". Decentering "default" notions is one of the points of having terminology like this in the first place.
Furthermore, not being neurotypical doesn't necessarily mean actually being "typical" with regards to neurology. Especially if neurotypical merely means "not autistic". There are any number of ways to be "atypical" which are being ignored by current terminology.
What's the alternative?
This well rounded defence of the term "cis" from detractors has a few implications for the point I'm making here. Particularly that an attack on the current terminology is worthless (or actually damaging) without supplying new terminology which is actually an improvement. So it falls upon me to supply a better alternative.
The use of the term "cognitive" in replacement of "neurology" in the context of neurodiversity makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. It does not preclude psychology or neurology, it simply signifies that a difference in thought exists.
"Cognidiverse" makes plenty of sense to me. I like it. It's a term I'd use.
But then we get to replacing "neurotypical". Here, I run into problems. "Cognitypical" is, if anything, even worse than neurotypical - now it doesn't prescribe neurological typicality but typicality on the basis of thought itself. The problems with this should be obvious.
There is, it seems, no rigorous way to define the sphere outside of cognidiversity. There is no simple handle which defines the "ordered" human mind. Maybe this is why "NT" relies on the problematic notion of "typicality".
Edit: The appropriative nature language of my last suggestions was pointed out, and I agree with that.
Cognidivergent (as in "neurodivergent", brought up in the discussion) and cognormative (that... still relies on a "norm", but... argh!), perhaps?
*1 Isn't this a lovely term. It's too much trouble to point to the actual person/s supporting a given stance, especially since there's a chance the reader might look up and thusly agree with them, so I'll give that stance an erroneous association with faceless, nameless "radicals". Right up there with "(supposedly authoritative but unnamed) experts say X" in journalistic brilliance.
*2 My invocation of Wikipedia (which is a less than optimal source on matters relevant to activism) for definitions demonstrates my difficulty in finding definitions within the community. I am interested in any clarification of terminology representative of the (current) neurodiversity movement itself.
*3 I got this one hurled at me pretty constantly for most of the first eighteen years of my life, so yes, I do get to reclaim it.