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  • Writer's pictureMelisa De Seguirant

Embracing Neurodivergence and Releasing Ableist Expectations

Updated: Apr 2


We’re continuing to target internalized oppression this week, highlighting the impacts of ableism on the neurodivergent community  🧠


Scroll for some ideas to get you thinking, and feel free to add your ideas in the comments!



NEUROTYPICAL REFLECTION ~

  • How often do you think about ableism?

  • How does ableism impact you?

  • What can you do to be more mindful of your privilege in this area?

  • How can you adjust to meet neurodivergent people where they are at? 



NEUROSPICY REFLECTION ~

  • How does ableism impact you? 

  • How often do you think about internalized ableism?

  • What emotions do you experience in relation to your neurodivergence?

  • What support do you have or could you have to help you navigate the world a bit more comfortably?


 

Spotlighting my late-diagnosed neurospicy friends here… how often do you find yourself thinking about masking


Masking is a survival mechanism- a way of blending in an attempt to ensure acceptance & belonging. It is a privilege (many neurodivergent and otherwise disabled people do not have the option to mask), though a bit of a back-handed one as it comes at a huge energetic cost.


Most who mask do so involuntarily.

Part of coming to terms with late-diagnosed neurodivergence is recognizing this habit and its impact on energetic capacity & social bandwidth. Some pursue “unmasking”, learning how to drop their mask and embrace blending in less in order to preserve energy and live more affirmatively.


The decision to mask or unmask, if you are able to do so, is entirely up to you.



 

As we target ableism and its impact on neurodivergent people, let’s invite an important reframe around the meaning of difference. 


Neurodiversity is a GIFT. Diversity is BEAUTIFUL.


Neurodivergence allows us to experience the world differently and make observations and connections where neurotypical brains can’t. Many people who have contributed to great innovation and discovery over time have done so because of their neurodivergence, not in spite of it. Let’s take some time to CELEBRATE how our magnificent brains work!


IMPORTANT ~ This need not overshadow the difficulties experienced by many neurodiverse people. As pointed out earlier this week, no amount of acceptance, affirmation and accommodating we can do will not eliminate the impact of ableism on neurodivergent people. We can celebrate ourselves and fight a broken system simultaneously. 


 


 

Let’s place our focus on changing the unsupportive systems and structures that exist, rather than putting the responsibility on disadvantaged people to mind the gaps.


IMPORTANT~ Some thoughts about FUNCTIONING … 


When we measure people by their “functioning” (categorizing them as high or low functioning), we are using an ableist measuring system in which neurotypicality is the marker to reach. Measured this way, functioning can be defined as the degree to which someone blends in with a neurotypical standard. 


Not only does this measurement system regard neurotypicality as the goal, it fails to recognize the energetic and emotional cost of striving for it when it doesn’t come naturally. 


There is an alternate model that measures neurodiversity by level of need. This system is similarly flawed, in that people who are able to blend in may appear to have “low needs”, although as we’ve discussed appearances can be deceiving. Still, focusing on needs seems like a step up from focusing on a neurotypical definition of functioning. Progress, but we’ve got more work to do.


💡 What are YOUR ideas? 


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