Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on January 27, 2022. The video’s public release will be March 16, 2022.
Thumbnail image is of Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary human, with short green, yellow, and orange hair, with shaved sides pinned back (in need of a haircut). They are sitting in an RV with dark wood panel walls. In front of them the words Authentically NeuroDivergent Lifestyle in green and yellow text.
I want to talk to you a bit today about treatment for Autistic and NeuroDivergent people… and when I say “treatment”, I want to be very clear, I am not talking about medical treatment. I’m talking about kind, and fair, just treatment of NeuroDivergent People.
Though I will have some pleas for those in the medical community. So if you’re watching, because you thought this was going to be a medical treatment video, and you’re a medical professional, do please stay tuned because, I do have some words for you as well.
I’m so glad you stuck around with me in my little phone booth.
So “treatment” – treatment of Autistic and NeuroDivergent People:
As I said, this is not medical treatment. This is how we need to be treated by society and those around us, and what we need in order to live successful, fulfilled, happy, and authentic NeuroDivergent lives.
I am speaking to you today from my experience as an Autistic ADHD, hyperlexic, and probably more some… multiply-NeuroDivergent human, and my experience of living in the world, as a NeuroDivergent Person, not knowing I was NeuroDivergent for almost the first 30 years of my life… being in the workforce, not knowing I was NeuroDivergent for over 15 years… and, now, in my position, where I have the honor of knowing so many amazing and fantastic NeuroDivergent humans, and working to change some of these systems, the education systems, the workplace systems, even working with some medical professionals, and therapy and service providers, to help change the way mental health is treated with NeuroDivergent People.
All of that is come into what is something that we really need. This is what we need to live, happy, healthy, lives.
If there’s anything you would like to add to this, I do invite you to drop your comments. NeuroDivergent People. NeuroTypicals, if you have questions, please drop your questions as well.
The first thing we really need is to be able to live an appropriate, and authentic, NeuroDivergent lifestyle and by lifestyle, I mean, one meeting our sensory needs.
That is avoiding sensory triggers. For me it’s those fluorescent lights, that can give me migraines and seizures. I am over two years seizure seizure-free – yay! Knock on wood… now that I have learned the triggers and I’m avoiding them.
I also can’t remember the last time I had a migraine – woo! – because I was having them almost every day before I knew I was sensory sensitive, and I hadn’t adjusted my lifestyle yet. It’s serious stuff.
We also need to sensory seek, as needed, to stay balanced. Yes, there are sensory things that we have to avoid, but there are also good types of sensory needs, that we want to fill, and engage in. A lot of this can help to block out some of the not so good stuff we’ve got going on. So staying balanced and regulated, with the need for sensory seeking, and also sensory aversions, because sensory aversions have a, there’s a reason for them.
I need to avoid the fluorescent lighting. I need to stay away from that, and I need to engage in sensory activities that helped me relax and stay centered and focused.
My glittery ball, my weighted blanket, fuzzy soft pillows, rolller skating, spinning, all of those things.
If we are ADHD and Autistic, in addition to other types of sensory needs, we often have a need to physically move, and burn off energy, and get extra energy out.
I am ADHD combined type. I need to go out and move, and be physical, and really burn that energy out… rollerskating, and kayaking, and running, and swimming, and dancing, and doing something to burn off that energy is, really, essential to me. Otherwise I start having problems where, where my insomnia comes back, my anxiety gets worse, I become more restless, and less able to focus and do the tasks that I want to do… do my work, even do the tasks I’m passionate about, because I am too distracted and too all over the place to sit still.
When I was in school, this inability to sit still was often punished by taking away my recess, which meant I was burning off even less of the energy I needed to burn off.
I needed more recess. I needed more moving, and my need for movement was often punished by restricting my movement even more.
Don’t do that. If you’re working with NeuroDivergent young people, don’t do that.
Many of us have a need for movement. Please do not restrict the movement of these sensory seeking kids, any more than you have to absolutely have to for safety.
Obviously, you can’t have us running off into the street, and doing other kinds of things, which could be dangerous, but, whenever possible, encourage physical movement and activity. Especially. If you see you are having a hard time being still, we need to get that energy out.
Energy in… energy out movement is energy regulation, and when you have too much energy in the system, it is like a shaken Coke bottle. Boom! It’s going to be too much.
This next one is actually important, for any human being, but especially important for Autistic young people.
We really need time to engage in the activities that bring us joy, our special interests, as it’s sometimes called and Autistic People, because of our tendency to ruminate, fixate, and obsess.
I love a good, healthy obsession… Although some of my obsessions are not healthy. I tend to be in very obsessive kind of a person.
When I have an interest, it is what I think about all the time, and when I’m not doing it, I want to be doing it, and I’m thinking about it all the time… and not being able to do the thing, but thinking about it all the time.
I need to just do the thing. I need to do the things I want to do, because otherwise they are just going to be taking up all the space in my mind, while I’m not doing them.
For me, as an Autistic Person, finding a special interest, finding an interest, finding new passion or hobby, or joy, really, is like falling in love. I have a very deep love for the things that catch my interest, and my soul is filled when I engage in those activities.
This love, I would say, is comparable to the love that I feel for the people in my life that I care about. I really am in love with my hobbies and passions, as much as I can be in love with a person. I think that’s something non-Autistic People, and NeuroTypicals, don’t always understand. Taking away these interests, or not giving us time to engage in these interests, because you feel like we are too interested in something, can really hurt.
Something else we all need… and this is a human need:
To be able to be supported to communicate, in the way that suits us best, and to be able to find ways where the sender and the receiver can both communicate in ways that suit them best, if they are different types of communicator.
For example, if you are someone who communicates best in writing, and needs time to think about what you need to say, versus someone who communicates with their mouth, spoken communications, and instantaneously, knows what they want to say.
These are two very different types of communicator, and they need to be able to communicate with each other effectively; but unfortunately, with NeuroDivergent People, especially Autistic People, who have these communication differences, where we really may not be able to communicate in the way that society, traditionally, expects people to communicate.
Too often is expected that the NeuroDivergent Person do all of the stretching in communication and social situations, to accommodate the NeuroTypical communicators, and the non-Autistic communicators. I really, really, want to ask that, you on the other side, do some of the stretching as well.
Let’s both flex our communications, so that we can find a solution that works well for both sender and receiver, instead of asking the Autistic and NeuroDivergent People to do all of the stretching.
Some of us can not flex in this area, for example, expecting an Autistic non-speaker to speak with their mouths. That’s very cruel when, for some of us that might not be. Or expecting me, someone who has difficulty with working memory and auditory processing, to remember something that was told for me word to word, or to be able to remember a task, that has a bunch of multiple step instructions, when I’m not allowed to get those directions in writing, or to take time to create my own shorthand notes. That’s cruel to me. I can not hold myself to that expectation, and for a lot of years I tried, and it didn’t work out well.
We also really need to have support, especially, because we’re living in a world that isn’t designed to take our needs into consideration.
I need support and understanding, if I am unable to enter a space, because it has the lighting that could make me sick.
“Can you turn the lights off for me?” “Can we meet in another space?”
I need people to understand that I have executive functioning differences, and I need those to be supported in order for me to be an efficient human being, and do the things that life and society expects of me. I need to be able to do things my own way, so that I can accommodate myself, because my needs are my own.
Each and every single individual NeuroDivergent Person has very different needs from the next. Even two people with the exact same diagnoses, even two Autistic People, can have very different needs, and very different presentation, and how being NeuroDivergent, being Autistic, impacts them.
We really need to have supports provided to us to live in this world that can, actually, be quite hostile to those whose brains and minds work differently.
So this week I’ve talked about how NeuroDivergent People need to live authentically, and live a more NeuroDivergent appropriate lifestyle, in order to be successful. That’s part one.
Part two… Next week’s video… I’m going to go shoot it right now:
We’re going to talk about what we need from society as a whole, in order to be able to live authentically, as NeuroDivergent People, and get to this point where we can be ourselves and be supported, because right now we’ve got a long way to go. It’s not always safe to be visible, and be out, and be open.
Thank you all so much for hanging out with me this week. Be sure to turn on your notifications, if you would like to catch part two of this video. If you found part one helpful, hit that like button, so I know that this format of video was helpful to you, or that this topic was useful and helpful. This helps me decide what types of videos and topics I will do in future videos.
Thank you, of course, to all of you who do share, and comment, and engage, and give your feedback and suggestions. I’m really grateful for you. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without you.
Speaking of which: the Patreons and supporters, of course, I say it every week. Thank you to the Patreon subscribers, YouTube channel members, and Facebook supporters… who do that little monetary subscription. That helped this blog be the quality that it is now, because I would not be able to do this alone in that regards either.
I’m so grateful for all of you. Thank you so much. I will see you all next week for part two.
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