Neurodivergent Awakenings!!! - 7 MINUTES READ
Introduction to Celebrating the Neurodiversity Paradigm and other related content!!!
Hello and welcome to Celebrating the Neurodiversity Paradigm blog. I've been pondering about doing this for quite some time now and spent most of that time talking my neurodivergent self out of it! So this is really scary for me but I'm not allowing past experiences to dictate my life and effect how I view myself. I'm authentically AUsome and I wont apologise for it.
So who am I, and what do I stand for?
Sense of self
I identify as a neurodivergent Adult parenting an autistic child. I am married and been with the same partner for 25 years!!!.
I reject anything to do with the Pathology Paradigm which has become engrained into society which influences how others speak, feel, interact, measure and make decisions about neurodivergent human beings. We are not problems to be fixed, treated or cured and I intend to share my thoughts on why im against these principles via this platform.
Here goes....Why do I want to blog? Well, the honest answer is....😇😇😇 Lots of reasons.
Firstly... To to be absolutely clear I’m a virginal blogger, but I do hope the content still resonates with my fellow humans and a small but authentic contribution to all of the other amazing activists, advocates, speakers,allies and so on in terms of actively making the "shift" from the Pathology paradigm to the Neurodiversity paradigm to which I will be basing my content, including related topics, hence the name of my blog first introduced to me by autistic queer scholar Nick Walker author of "Neuroqueer Heresies” Tilted "Notes on the Neurodiversity paradigm, autistic empowerment, and post normal possibilities" Website:neuroqueer.com.
After reading her book I couldn't just carry on with our lives without actually doing something to contribute to the "shift" in which Nick writes so passionately about. I also found her writing to be extremely raw and authentic not leaving any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation which can happen so frequently when Neurotypical People misinterpret autistic expression.
I was grateful for her clarity on the meanings of the language under the neurodiversity paradigm, providing a much needed insight into the distinctions between the Pathology paradigm and neurodiversity paradigm which the latter continues to evolve and gain traction. My son are I are part of that neurodiversity movement. A new language to empower me and my son as apposed to suppressing and marginalising, a shift in mind set, approach and enabling.
A whole chapter explaining each definition and the mistakes that people can make when they write or talk about diversity in general and the errors that occur which further fuels misinformation. I will be exploring this book further as part of my regular book reviews. I wanted to reach out to Nick to thank her for this inspirational set of new tools and let her know my intentions re spreading the word and to also ask her permission to quote her literature. She agreed and here I am. I will only be using a couple of quotes as id like readers of this blog to read her book themselves. You will not regret it !!!
Secondly, for me!!!...... To be able to free some space in my brain, to be able to spread my thoughts across the page, to be able to write freely, to remove my shield. The shield I have used for a very long time and as daft as it sounds, still do at home. for my son. To him I am his safe place. The one person he can be his authentic self.
(I will be blogging about this another time.) Future blog titled....."The importance of identity and authenticity" asking...."What is my role as his parent to prepare him for being himself"? and how. he has shown me to do things better. I digress from why I mask/shield at home.😏😏 My body language, tone of voice, my sense of self, his sense of self, we are so connected he only needs to be in the same space as me and he will spot my shielding a mile off, If I attempt a white lie, or quickly change the subject as he enters the room, if I sigh, or have the wrong facial expression, if my tone of voice isn't just right, even if I think I'm doing a great job at shielding him, he can spot it a mile away. So yes, I mask a lot at home to enable him to feel safe which is kind of contradictory as part of my role (as I see it) is to support him NOT to mask/shield. It is important to add that most of these presentations come from a place of trauma over a long period of unmet needs when being "educated "in a primary mainstream setting and not part of his autistic identity. (Ill blog about that too!!)😍😍😍
Future blog titled.....Teaching my Son about the harmful effects of shielding/masking and what he teaches me. The differences between trauma and autistic identity.
That I need to shield less and be honest with him about how I'm feeling and not shy away from being vunerable Infront of him. Following onto why empowering and validating language is the key to self identity which will support him to take ownership of how others interact with him now and into adulthood. I’ll include why self advocacy only works when the receiver (The person who Joe is self advocating to) truly listens and responds in a way that reinforces the benefit of self advocacy so that he wants to do it again and continues as part of his daily communication. Self advocacy is a two way street. You can‘t have one without the other!!!
So some of the content will be selfishly written, a space to unmask, some of it may not be grammatically correct or come across intellectually pleasing to some. But therapeutically it will definatly help me. So I thank you, lonely reader for indulging me. Some of it will be based from my perspective of being a teaching assistant in a mainstream school and why a mainstream environment can at times disable ND children and actually diversity in general That "Behaviour Plans" are counter productive especially when teaching children to understand their bodies and in particular what their central nervous system is telling them. Future Blog... Why "behaviour plans" and other "behaviour" related language are counter productive. I had to leave this job to evidence the need for my son to be supported in a "specialist provision".
To be clear this was not the fault of my sons but the fault of a system that has broken me so many time I have lost count. 💔💔💔
Future blog titled.....Leaving one life behind for the life of another, what I lost and gained.
I'm hoping it reaches some of our diverse population (not exclusive to neurodivergent people only,) it means all human beings!!!because as a diverse species and unique and biologically different. There is absolutely no such thing as "normal. FACT."
Maybe your still questioning your identity? maybe your still in the throws of shielding your self from environments and people that cause you harm with their NT expectations because they haven't be shown an alternative? Or alternatively you are well and truly out as a nureodivergent person and if that's the case are well versed on the importance of the paradigm shift which the neurodivergent community have created before us!! Maybe you've been part of the new empowering narrative which comes from the Neurodiversity paradigm and if so.....
The next blog titled..... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK ALL OF YOU, as you are the reason for my neurodivergent awakenings!!!! To be honest I've always thought that it shouldn't really matter how individuals identify and I don't mean that, in the sense of not respecting peoples life choices, cultures, sexual preferences, sexual identity, gender identity or self expression /self identity. I mean we shouldn't have to work so dam hard to be validated in the first place . There shouldn't be a them and us. Should there?
It should all be relevant to human beings living on this earth together, sharing the same air and living in our local communities as one people. To respect and celebrate our biological differences and use this as an opportunity to enhance our society as apposed to oppression and marginalisation to make the majority feel more comfortable because that's how its always been.
Future blog tiltled... Feeling uncomfortable with difference. Get comfortable with difference people!! And this is the another reason why I wanted to do this.... When you can see in your children or your self, what others cannot. Their/your beauty, wonder, differences, quirks, queerness, wonderful weirdness, spectacular stims, passions, hobbies, sensory experiences 💓💕💖💗💙💚💛💜 then be assured..... its others, NOT you or your child/young person/adult that needs to change!!!! Future blog, titled......Embracing ND talents, passions and expert knowledge.
Please if you are in any doubt as to why any of the above is important please go to website:neuroqueer.com where you will come across queer autistic scholar Nick Walker who has had a profound effect on me, confirming my reasons for preparing my autistic son for adulthood and giving him the tools/language to educate others on his neurodivergence and reassuring me through her words that I am in fact, on the right track!!
Who else inspires and influences me and what else will I be blogging about? I have decided to post books of relevance and any other interesting literature, videos, speakers and any other empowering humans I have come across which influence and validate my day to day living.
I thought I'd post other empowering authors and links to their work including Evaleen Whelton, Nureodivergent teacher who's book titled "Standing Up for Myself" has helped me and Joe open up our communication choices and provided a nureodivergent platform to explore identity.
"She communicated in a very different direct way and sees the world differently to other people. Evaleen found out that she was autistic when she was 37, so she wrote the book to people that were not autistic, communicate and to make things less confusing! Evaleen wanted to make a book that would “help kids who are just like her". (Text taken from Evaleen’s book.) I have also contacted Evaleen to gain permission to include her book which she has granted. Thank you Evaleen!! I will be providing a more detailed review on a separate blog.
I am passionate, loving, kind, impulsive, I am a deep thinker. I am an all or nothing kind of person. I've been described as a mavrick, feisty and a know it all!!.
I dont think the last one was meant to be a compliment.
I used to be Teaching assistant working in a mainstream setting
I've Supported families navigate "The system".
I have been a parent carer rep, ran a parent led Facebook group.
Worked as a health care assistant at my local Hospice.
I've recently been involved as an Expert by Experience working with Humber coast and vale integrated care system on their learning Disability and autism safety and well being review panel offering scrutiny and assurance of "patient care".
I was due to start an exciting initiative with a local children's charity recording autistic children voices in an authentic way to inform training in schools but unfortunately had to step down due to my child's attendance being so sporadic at the time. (He chooses weather he attends or not) I don't believe in forced attendance.
I love trees and nature and love going into the woods with my wheel barrow and bringing treasures from nature for our garden.
I'm trusting, too trusting. This has burnt me on the bum a few times.
I'm a very tactile person and tend to be the person other people need me to be. I'm making some changes as I've realised its not good for me. I'm great at providing advice for others but not great at taking my own advice. I'm working on this.
I'm great at advocating for my son but not great at advocating for myself. I'm also working on this.
So, that's it for now. An introduction to my blog, Celebrating the Neurodiversity Paradigm and other related content.
Future topics/Upcoming Blogs .....
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK ALL OF YOU, as you are the reason for my neurodivergent awakenings!!!!
-The importance of identity and authenticity" asking...."What is my role as his parent to prepare him for being himself and preparation for adulthood.? and how he has shown me to do things better.
-Book review of "Standing up for myself "By autistic author Evaleen Whelton -Joes trauma/mental health, burn out, recovery. What does recovery look like? -My mental health, my burn out.
-Why "behaviour plans" and other "behaviour" related language are counter productive. -His passions or not "fixated interests"
Why I encourage my Son to stim. -Neurotypical expectations of joe to present Neurotypical. -Miss communication and being misunderstood. -Very one does not experience the world in the same way. -Mediation between my other family members. -Joe needs quite so he can be loud!! -Sensory overload and lack of sensory integrated OTs. Where are all the autistic spaces for autistics to be autistic? -identify early so children can identify. -Sex education for neurodivergent children and how this should be adapted to meet sensory experiences.
-Feeling uncomfortable with difference. Get comfortable with difference people!!
-Authenticity is Ausome.
-Feeling uncomfortable with difference. Get comfortable with difference people!!
-Leaving one life behind for the life of another, what I lost and gained.
-Why "behaviour plans" and other "behaviour" related language are counter productive.
-“The importance of identity and authenticity" asking...."What is my role as his parent to prepare him for being himself"? and how he has shown me to do things better. -Teaching my Son about the harmful effects of shielding/masking and what he teaches me. The differences between trauma and autistic identity.