I identify as a Neurodivergent person. Aka ADHD and dyscalculia.
In that my brain/mind body significantly diverges from the neuronormative/neurotypical.
Its taken me ages to write this blog.
When it comes to Joe, I am his biggest advocate.
When it comes to me and advocating for myself its a different story.
Even as I'm writting this, thoughts are flooding through my brain with other peoples judgement.
"Are you sure your not just hormonal"?
"But you've manged all this time, why now"?
"You dont come across as being any different to any of us"
"Dont be daft"
However, these statements made are due to pre conditioned ideas about "Disability "and what they think disability is. I use this as a loose and recognised term.
Autism and ADHD is classed as a Disability under the Equality act
However, if you were to ask Joe if he considered hiself as "having a disability" he would say No. I am autisitc. I dont have anything.
Absolutely right son!!
On the flip side. Society and future employment opportunities (if any) will unquestionably Disable him by not knowing how to enable him to be his autistic self.
Disability is not a dirty word by the way.
In addition, being registered Disabled (which he is) means under the equality act he should be given equal opportunity for employment.
Can an autistic person be legally disabled? Trigger warning. Some may find the narrative below offensive.
"Whether an individual autistic person is also legally disabled will depend on whether that individual’s autism has more than minor or trivial “adverse effect” on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Under the Equality Act 2010, autism is a lifelong “mental impairment”".
Now the trouble with this narrative is the word "Normal "and "mental impairment" and "adverse effect"
I would argue that it is the above NARRATIVE/MINDSET/APPROACH AND A SET OF PRINCIPLES that autisitc people need protection from.
Joes becomes de regulated when he is placed in an environment that disables him.
This is due to sensory overload, adults not understanding how to enable him and why. Placing most of the responsibility on Joe to change his identity and conform to act, behave, think, feel and interact like a neuronormative person.
He will struggle to process, regulate, communicate, concentrate, follow instructions.
He will cease to be able to function as a neurodivergent person and hell be blamed for it too.
So the question should be
Is it Autism that disables Joe or everything external outside of him as an autisitc person.?
There's no point being protected under the Equality act and being given equal opportunities if he has to morph into a completely different person for it to be seen as a success and given value. Where is the equality in that?
I've digressed again!!
Past learnt behaviours and why these have been harmful for me.
All my life I've thought more about what others think of me than being myself, having deep embedded guilt. But I dont know what I'm supposed to be feeling guilty about?
Rejection has played a major role in my life. Professionally and personally and it has shaped the way I value myself.
I dont value myself a great deal (I'mworking on this) which is ironic considering the focus of our #blogs.
I've always felt on the outside of life and have one long term friend.
I guess I'm not everyone's cup of tea.
Of course this voice in my head is my critical friend who over analysis everything and feels emotions ever so deeply.
I would consider myself a lonely person. In that my thoughts mainly stay in my head. Even though I have a loving family and a supportive husband. I dont feel like I have anyone to talk to about our neurodivergence and when I do I can see peoples eyes glaze over and sense their complete boredom of the subject.
My passions can be all consuming and this leads to burn out. Its like an addiction for me.
I didnt leave school with any qualifications and had the same maths Teacher all the way through Secondary School.
In the first math lesson in the last year of school I stayed behind to ask my dreaded Maths Teacher about a maths problem.
His responce was....
"Go home you should have been listening"
The next day I returned to school and the maths lesson.
He stood me up in fount of the whole class and asked me the very same question he knew I didnt know.
Well of course, I couldn't answer him.
So in his wisdom he announced to the whole class that I was "thick"!
"Jennifer Jacklin is thick. Now sit down and listen this time"!!
I didnt return to his class for the whole of the last year. He didnt report me and I didnt sit my GCSE exam.
I am 47 years old and I remember like it was yesterday.
This has impacted me my whole life. The way I feel about my capabilities. It has stopped me for applying for jobs I really wanted.
I dont have a big group of friends and past friends have all dropped off one by one.
Apart from my lovely friend Clare. xx
If you were to meet me, you would see a confident, bubbly chatty person.
This is my mask.
I've perfected it over the years and behave in a way that make others feel more comfortable.
I morph into whatever the other person needs me to be.
If others are feeling comfortable, then this has been my main objective.
I'm a giver and sometimes struggle with boundaries.
For example. When I met my Husband I was practicing my new signature on the first date. Cringe.....
I can be impulsive and try hard not to interrupt. When I love, I love hard and need a lot of affection.
When I'm telling a story, it will be the longest story ever as I dont like to leave any details out and sometimes can over share.
I'm an all or nothing kind of person. This is professionally and personally.
Am I worried about being so open?
Yes. Of course. There is vulnerability in honesty.
I am very loyal and trust worthy, transparent and authentic.
If not now, when?
Through parenting Joe I am unlearning everything I have been taught by being educated by Joseph.
My eyes are wide open.
I am not here to tell anyone what to do.
Our lived experince is our alone
But my child is happier knowing himself and his culture.
I am learning to love myself, appreciating my skill set and talents.
I am trying to let go of the guilt. It is a process.
I am good enough
I am loved
There may be people out there who do not even realise they're #neurodivergent.
Some of those people may have been pathologized and diagnosed with Personality Disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia. Most of these presentations I believe is due to not being enabled to be them selves and should have been identified as being neurodivergent.
I believe there's a lot of money to be saved by enabling and not disabling. Especially by the NHS/CCG.
Reflection is a powerful tool.
I would love to work with an out the box #innovator.
Someone who isnt tied or concerned with usual objectives and stereotypical outcomes around "behaviour management"
Someone who is open to new #approaches.
I am ready to provide my insight and expertise.
What are we preparing children for?
How important is teaching children about their identity/advocacy/culture and how does this influence mental health.?
What #employment choices await these children in the community and who are the employers?
Are they neurodivergent themselves?
What do I want for myself as a neurodivergent person?
I want to be valued for my neurodivergence.
I want to be able to talk about our lived experince to inspire and empower others.
I want my skills to be put to good use.
I want to write a book
I want my son to be seen and valued as a neurodivergent person
I want to stop reading about autism as a deficit and behaviour that needs to be managed and changed.
I want our mental health to matter
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog
Joe and Jen xx