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Being South Asian And Neurodivergent

Growing up, it was very hard for me to fit in with other people from my community. I always felt different from other kids and I never really fit the stereotypes of a "brown" girl. The stereotype where all south Asians were good academically in school.

I was diagnosed with a Mild Intellectual Disability and I didn't understand myself and my disability until I was 18. Having this disability has made my life much more difficult as it's a general learning disability. It was hard for me to do math as it was a complex subject and it was also hard for me to understand certain things.

It was hard to explain what I was going thru to those around me. I am high functioning so people thought there was nothing wrong with me but since my disability is invisible people can't see it. I always hated being compared to neurotypical people around me, those who did well in school and could understand things very fast. I felt very alone and in my head all the time.

My parents never understood me as they thought I was normal-looking and just lazy. It was hard having south Asian parents and then being neurodivergent.

They put very high expectations on me and they saw these other people doing well and they were also south Asian. So, they just thought I wasn't trying hard enough. They even thought there was a cure for my disability. But there is obviously no cure for it. I just did what I could do best.

To this day, I still struggle to do things that many neurotypical people can do so easily. It's very hard and one thing that really throws me off is when people tell me how easy it is for them to do things but they don't understand that there are others in the world like myself that struggle to do those little things.

I want to end off my post by saying if you have anyone in your life with the disability I have please be patient and supportive of them. They are human as well and deserve to be respected.

We aren't lazy, we're just different and sometimes that might not be enough for you neurotypical people but we just want you to accept us for how we are.

#neurodivergent #MildIntellectualDisability #southasian

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Role of Culture, and Parenting, on Gender Norms

When it comes to women empowerment, we need to explore the psychological underpinnings of cultural influences, parenting, and the development of gender norms.

Parents, particularly in the South Asian culture, tend to restrict their girls’ opinions and silence their voices, in the name of “niceness”, “respect”, and “obedience”, fearing societal shame, and attempting to uphold an unrealistic image of perfection, especially when it comes to the family unit.

From a young age, girls are not allowed to freely be themselves. They’re discouraged from expressing their thoughts and emotions. Any questioning or critical thought is silenced. After years of feeling restricted and not accepted for who they are, girls often feel anger and rebel against their parents, their upbringing, and their culture, acting out in aggressive or passive aggressive ways - which is saddening because parents are usually coming from a place of love and want the best for their children.

However, this kind of restrictive or authoritarian parenting style can cause girls to grow up with a sense that it’s not okay to be themselves or to have a voice. It can take years of therapy and healing to recover from this.

So, I teach parents to challenge unhealthy cultural and gender norms, encourage their girls to think freely, engage in critical thought, speak their minds openly, and voice their opinions at home by creating a safe space for them, talking to them, and consistently checking in with them about their lives, school, friends, thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

When girls learn their opinions and voices are accepted and valued at home, they’ll go out in the world and freely do the same. Moreover, they’ll teach their daughters, and granddaughters, this creating lasting change that will hopefully sustain a new chapter of empowered women.

-Faiza Haroon, MACP, RP (Qualifying)

#women #womenempowerment #southasian #culture #MentalHealth #Parenting