Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

Reading Time: 5 Mins
Category: Allyship
Author: Oscar Hoyle
Today marks the start of Neurodiversity celebration week and as a neurodiverse person myself, I figured it’s time for a new blog post! Honestly, I personally find the fact this week is called a “celebration” slightly patronising, it kind of feels like another example of how neurodiverse people are often infantilised and I’d rather see it called Awareness week, but I’m not going to get lost in the language. I figured I’d take this opportunity to share five things I wish neurotypical people understood about being neurodiverse. 

  It’s important I say that these are about my experiences. There are SO many different kind of neurodiversity that there isn’t one answer for a lot of these questions. I know a lot of people would disagree with that I say! 


One. What neurodiversity actually is.

Neurodiversity is an umbrella term which is used to describe the differences in brain function and behavior. Neurodiversity is not necessarily a disability rather a difference in functionality of the brain to what we considered to be a typical brain. Neurodiverse people may experience thought, processing of information, and social skills differently to others but those who fall within the umbrella term have incredibly varied experiences. 


Two. We are not all asexual scientists.

Bazinga… Not quite. When you think about neurodiverse people, I’d say 75 percent of people who experience life as a neurotypical picture Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. According to its creators, Sheldon Cooper was never written as Autistic. And sure, he could represent a part of our community, but more importantly is what Sheldon Cooper could represent. Sheldon is a prime example of how neurodiverse characters often represent a forced social asexualisation of neurodiverse people. Now those are some big words… So what do I mean? I simply mean that if you reflect on any TV shows which represent neurodiverse people you’ll see that they are often seen as people who don’t feel sexual or romantic attraction. It’s really important that we try to end that narrative. Ace and Aro spectrum people are not all neurodiverse, and likewise not all neurodiverse people are on the ace and aro spectrum. 


Three. We don’t need you to tell us our neurodiversity or a super power… or a hardship.

We live our own lives. We know the strengths and the weaknesses that being a neurodiverse person brings. More importantly, we know that being neurodiverse is more a difference of ability rather than a lack of ability. We live in a society that’s set up to work for neurotypical people which is why we’re often seen as less able, however, when organisations and spaces take a needs-led approach to including us within their services we’re able to thrive, often as innovators, creatives, and/or system focused individuals. 


Four. Overstimulation is a thing, back off! 

Imagine you’re working on nice and slow moving conveyor belt, you’re slowly popping chocolates into a box when all of a sudden the machine malfunctions and instead of processing one chocolate every few seconds you have to process a couple hundred chocolates. Sounds stressful, right? Now imagine that those chocolates are your senses & thoughts. Yeah, not as tasty but arguably worse! This links back again to society not being set up for neurodiverse people, busy, loud, or messy places can be a bit much. I personally get what I call trolley rage… Where I go into my local sainsburys and get stressed due to the amount of lights, sounds, visual things to process, and people in the way.

  Coming out of a stressful space, I just need to be left alone in a place with a lot less to process! That’s it! 


Five. We know what we want. 

The narrative I hear so often is that neurodiverse people don’t have the intelligence or ability to make their own decisions. It’s something I hear time and time again. Usually from anti-trans people who believe that my neurodiversity is the root cause of my trans-ness. Trust me, I know what I want, actually, I’m a stubborn ass most of the time. The idea that we don’t know what we want is insulting to our intelligence. 


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