"Treating" Neurodivergence..let's chat.

Neurodivergence is a concept that a lot of people are catching on to in the past year. It now encompasses autism spectrum, ADHD, tourette's, dyslexia..and so on.


I think this is something that is important to talk about.


The world is designed for people who are not neurodivergent. As humans we are expected to follow specific social norms. As parents, we are expected to have our kids conform to these prescribed social norms. Stimming, or repetitive movements (hand flapping, rocking, head banging, etc), are not included in those social norms. These movements are considered by neurotypical folk to be bizarre and, ultimately, undesirable.


But is there actually anything wrong with stimming? No. It's not something we need to medicate away, or seek to extinguish in therapy. It serves a purpose to that person.


As a neurotypical person, imagine that you are feeling a little anxious about something coming up. Perhaps when you are anxious, you shake your leg. This is a socially acceptable way to shake off nervous energy. Now imagine if you were shamed for that. Imagine if your parents brought you to specialist after specialist to make you stop shaking your leg when you are nervous. It is an action that comes natural to you, and it is an action that perhaps help you feel a little better. It is an action that hurts no one.


Neurodiversity extends to ADHD as well. ADHD is not simply an inability to focus -- ADHD is a crippling disorder that can affect relationships as well as your ability to function in day to day life. Public school systems are not set up for kids who have ADHD. Public schools expect our children to sit in a seat and complete work or exams amidst ongoing movement, noise and other distractions. Not everyone can learn or function well in this environment.


Thankfully, we have 504B plans and accommodations that can be implemented to help..but why neurodiversity the exception? How many kids suffer in school because they are undiagnosed, or because their parents don't understand the process of seeking a diagnosis or an emotional support plan. This extends to the workplace.


Sensory overload is something people may experience that others are not cognizant of. Even seemingly insignificant noises can drive someone to be irritable, aggressive, angry, panic, or shut down. People with sensory issues can be extremely sensitive to things that neurotypical folk do not even think twice about. And that may cause confusion to some people. In the mental health world, we often expect people to "get over it" or find ways to suppress it instead of adjusting the world around us to better fit their needs.


Medications can help a person with neurodiversity function in our society. ADHD is something that can be dangerous without treatment -- car accidents or other accidents are more likely for people with severe ADHD. Medications and therapies may help people with aggression, impulse control and self harm..things that may cause harm to self or others.


But also, adjusting styles of communication with those who are neurodivergent is necessary. Adjusting societal expectations is necessary. Adjusting therapies to help neurodivergent folk thrive in is necessary.


Tik tok is a really great place to dive more into the topic. I'm also a huge fan of Dr. Kali on Tik Tok. She has a few videos about how society frequently infantilizes Autistic adults with and adults with disabilities, which I think is such a good, freaking point.


This is a conversation that I believe will continue to develop over the next decade in the neurodivergence justice movement.

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