The NEUROLIFE project maps experiences with and perspectives on living conditions, social participation, and public services among young people with neurodevelopmental diagnoses (ADHD, Autism and Tourette's Syndrome). A disproportionate number of young adults with these diagnoses meet physical, social, and financial challenges. There are clear limitations to how the public services are currently able to provide the support this group could need to have better lives.
An increasing number of people in the target group are becoming uncomfortable with, the pathologizing that comes with the standard label "neuropsychiatric disorders". The project therefore largely uses the more recent terms of neurodiversity and neurodivergence, abbreviated “ND”. This way, we hope to help reduce the type of stigma that results from terms like "illness", "disorder" and "deficiencies". The project looks at how norm-breaking functional differences are related to discrimination in a society structured by the neuro-majority, also sometimes described as the neurotypicals (NT).
The NEUROLIFE project asks the overarching question: What makes some neurodivergent young adults live what they experience to be good lives today? We ask: How can public services be brough to understand and internalize knowledge about how some ND come to live good lives, in a way that makes the contribution/actions of the public services more adequate to this group? The project will be based on a broader theoretical discussion of what it means to live a good life, and an exploration of the social processes and mechanisms that helps some people live good lives and not others.
The project seeks to be methodologically innovative. It will examine opportunities to obtain a broader participation from research participants by developing information gathering methods that suit different parts of this community. The project includes three work packages with different data sources. Work package 1 explores variations in living conditions and public service experiences through qualitative interviews and focus groups. In work package 2, we analyze data from public registers to look at education, work situation and service use, while in work package 3 we use a survey to learn more about the conditions under which young ND in Norway, Sweden and Denmark may come to live good lives.