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A review of Nick Walkers Book. 9 minute read.

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

THANKYOU, THANKYOU, THANK ALL OF YOU, as you have confirmed my neurodivergent awakenings!!!!

Ok, so if you've read my intro blog you will have noticed my reference to Nick Walkers book "Notes on the Neurodiversity paradigm, autistic empowerment, and post normal possibilities"

Within this post I will review the content and tell you why reading her book is a must when advocating for yourself or child/young person or if you are a proffessional working with.

If your new to the term neurodiversity, neurodivergent, neurodivergence, neurotypical ,neuronormative, neuronormativity and other words under the neurodiversity paradigm then this is a great book to provide you with a brand new set of tools to use. It doesnt matter what the circumstances or motivation and how you identify, we should all, as part of the same species be using this empowering language to validate neurodivergent identity and neurodiversity in general.

I have been advocating for Joe for many years. He is 14 years old at the time of the post (10/03.22) I am preparing him for adulthood.

His EHCP (Educational and health care plan) legal document. should focus on this theme from year 9 onwards. Third year into secondary school. Although preparation for life as a neurodivergent person should actually begin at birth (In my humble opinion) Also in theory you cant really prepare yourself to be neurodivergent, you are biologically neurodivergent. But you know what I mean. I have to help him to identify.

How did Nick Walkers book give me the tools to help Joe prepare for adulthood as an autistic person?

If you think of language as a tool. Especially language which people recognise in terms of people relating to what it means. Like "Identity" for example.

Now when I heard the word, "autistic identity" for the first time. It was as if someone had deep dived into my brain on a rescue mission to retrieve a priceless gem.

I've always taught Joe to be his self and to not be the person others want him to be. My approach and mindset has always been in line with the neurodiversity Paradigm, however I didnt have the right language to embed my mindset and approach. So others did not take my words seriously in my opinion. They saw me as neurotic, sensitive, pushy, a bit much, a nightmare.

Along side getting him the diagnosis and into the right provision, Why should using the right language matter you may ask?

Over the years thanks to the LGBTQIA plus community, we are gifted with a factual, beautiful validating, inspiring and a much needed dialogue where individuals choose how they'd like to be addressed, treated, introduced, referred to, described ,written and spoken about, out of respect of their identity. As apposed to being oppressed and marginalised.

Celebrate neurodivergance within this diverse community of people then essentially it may feel like coming out twice in terms of identity?

A celebrated form of progression, educated by the very same people whom have also been historically marginalised due to thoughts and opinions from the majority through conditioning and conformity. This progression and validating language have provided future generations with the tools/language they need to advocate for their rights.

Times change. But this change does not happen on its own. It takes lots of hard graft from these marginalised groups to be heard and new policies to be drawn up in terms of making discrimination an offence. Cultural, racial discrimination leading to the black lives matter movement, are all examples including the LGBTAQ + rising up through the evolution of language and humans standing up for their rights.

Yes we have the Equality act which supposedly protects us from discrimination, but surely trying to train our brains to behave in a way which causes trauma is harmful and therefore discriminatory and goes against our human rights as neurodivergent people.?

We wouldn't accept trying to change a gay person into a straight person or telling a white person to be black or vice versa. That would be disgraceful.

So why is it then acceptable to continue to look at neurodivergence in terms of difference as people that are not "normal" or need to be "cured "through ABA therapy?

If you compare the progress that has been made with other marginalised groups and the empowering language within, then from our own lived experince we have the right and power to use our voices and lived experince to stop seeing neurodivergent humans as a species to be fixed or cured through "therapies" and harmful "behaviour plan's or "interventions". Its only the same as sending a gay person for conversion therapy. Which is banned in most places. As it blooming well should be!!!

However, the therapies to which autistic and other neurodivergent humans are exposed to are equally damaging causing years of trauma and ptsd.

Neurodivergent people deserve to be protected from the life long damage inflicted by "behaviour plans,""intervention plans,"strategies,"social opportunities" and other ABA style "Positive behaviour plans."

It feels like, all of the above is for the benefit of neurotypical people, to enable them to feel comfortable at the cost of disabling the neurodiverse. Nick Walker has inspired me in the same way that other humans have inspired her. She mentions them in the book in terms of providing credit and clarifying some of their terms. I loved her for doing this, showing integrity, authenticity and great respect for her co experts in their field. She is very detailed within her descriptions of the different types of language and meanings available under the neurodiversity paradigm and how people can make the mistake of saying how inclusive they might be but then not evidencing this within the language they continue to use. This helped me as a lay person not having her expertise or experience. So Thank you for supporting me to understand in a way that was accessible. (Although I still have to read the pages a few times over for it to sink in!!) lol.

I don’t want to provide too much detail from Nick Walkers books. you'd be better equipped I reading it yourself direct from the horses mouth so to speak.

To summerise if your looking to lay the foundations for a neurodivergent led future, full of neurodivergent people educating others on neurodivergence then this is the book for you.... And remember.... If you are neurodivergent, proud There is nothing wrong with you!!!! You do not need to be fixed!!!!! You do not need "treatment" for your "behaviour" You should not need to change!!!!!

Now go and equip yourself for a neurodivergent bright future. Your way!!!!

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