Celebrating Neurodiversity


Earlier this week I talked about how the social model of disability revolutionized my life. Today I’d like to talk about another concept that did the same: the neurodiversity movement.

For my entire life, I have felt like I am wired fundamentally differently from other people. Processing sensory information — touch and sound in particular — without discomfort is difficult for me. I always thought that there was something wrong with me, that those challenges were “problems” that needed to be “fixed,” and medical professionals often did too, which was very shaming.

It wasn’t until I found a fantastic doctor and started reading about the experiences of others with similar challenges (mostly folks on the autism spectrum) that I began to realize that I wasn’t broken! I was just different from the neurotypical average.

What a relief! No longer did I feel shame. I still struggled, of course, and searched out strategies that could help me modulate the input from my environment better, but no longer did I see myself as a giant Problem with a capital P. And that was incredibly liberating.

Part of that liberation involved seeing my struggles as part of a greater civil rights movement. For over 60 years, autistic people have been subjected to often-coercive and inhumane treatments delivered in an attempt to “cure” them at any cost, which is absolutely harrowing. (Please note that I am not anti-intervention at all cost, either. I support interventions that directly allow an autistic person to live a more comfortable and empowered life, and are put in place respectfully with the consent and collaboration of the autistic person.)

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to no longer feel broken and fundamentally flawed. I still have challenges, often on a daily basis, but I view them as just that: obstacles that can be mitigated. And I give thanks to the neurodiversity movement on a daily basis, too, for providing me with a model for self-worth and even pride.

Want to receive more updates from me, including an exclusive short story? Sign up for my email newsletter here.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating Neurodiversity

  1. I’m so glad you were able to let go of the shame and judgment Jenn, and come to understand your not broken but merely wired differently. What a huge shift in understanding.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s