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Finding the Similarities Within Our Differences as Neurodiverse People

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Far too often I see segregation within the neurodiverse population — people not wanting to learn across conditions because society and the medical profession often divides us, and categorizes certain traits to mean one thing and other traits to mean another. Those of us with multiple diagnoses start to not fit in any box, and it gets to a point where it feels slightly overindulgent to get another assessment. What if you fit in all the boxes and none completely?

Welcome to my world!

I feel like I am collecting developmental conditions. Currently diagnosed dyslexic with comorbid dyspraxia and ADHD. I am the mother to three children, two of whom have a diagnosis of autism, and the other one plus myself having social communication difficulties. I can’t help but feel that I don’t fit in any of the boxes. I actually present more pathological demand avoidant than anything, but that condition is not currently recognized in the U.K., so no point going down that route.

My pursuit of understanding myself and my children has emphasized the need to learn across conditions, and highlighted that within these conditions, there are overlaps that could help us to share common ground. I feel the need to share this because I believe that although certain experiences within the developmental conditions mirror each other (for instance, sensory processing difficulty is common across all developmental conditions), the way it is perceived and managed varies.

I feel sharing strategies across developmental conditions will allow for a greater understanding of what may help, and may allow for teachers and practitioners to have a more varied, adaptable approach to supporting people. We need to look more at what makes us similar within our difference, instead of focusing on what makes us different from each other and the neurotypical population. Within this united shared perception, I believe we can move forward in helping the neurotypical population understand difference a little better.

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Getty image by NisiriN.

Originally published: December 30, 2017
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