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Neurodivergent

This sounds like a dystopian word, and holy crap I am way behind in learning about all of the newest concepts of describing temperament, diverse neurological conditions, and learning patterns. Admittedly, I can be singularly focused on wildlife and the environment. I really think I was just born appreciating that the earth gives us everything we need to survive without asking for anything in return, and that I as a human am a guest that should tread as lightly as possible. Humans can be so beautiful, at the same time cause so much noise and chaos that outside of my friends and family I can only dip my toes in human society as much as is needed to hopefully stay informed well enough to be a good mother, wife, employee, family member and friend. But I digress...divulge...diverge. See what I did there? Haha.

Anyhow, my mother often regales me about stories from being an absolute wild child in public school, beginning in Kindergarten. Apparently on a very hot day (when we were seated as five year olds for hours on end at desks!) I jumped out the window and into a puddle. It was the ground floor. But I had figured out the smaller windows could all be opened as a unit, bided my time until the teacher went to the bathroom, and made a break for it. That's actually a lot of steps for a 5 year old to figure out! I had an okay time as far as friends and sports, was given advanced math for several years, and went on to college prep high school, but always my "conduct" scores were very poor. I am GenX, and after school I was outside until dinner time. On trails, playing basketball in the street, riding bikes, playing flashlight tag. And without cell phones, my Mom would scream "Kristeeeennnnnnnn" and I would run home from 5 streets away.


Since he started early childhood education, we have been receiving reports on how our son is "different". Ranging from "he seems to feel what the other children feel and cries when they cry" to "if he has a plan to build something he has to see it through and will not follow instructions to move on with the group" and more. We are and have been on a path to discover how his beautiful brain works and best support him shining in this society, which includes perhaps discovering whether his and our brains are "neurodivergent" or "neurotypical". Yeesh, I feel like I might have been put in a straight jacket if I had been tested when I was five in the 80's! I can think of so many friends and family members that space out when talking, make a bee line out of crowded farmer's markets, notice one dog hair on a blanket, etc. Or even as siblings the physical and emotional pain we inflicted upon each other as we became more mature. But obviously we need to categorize and study different brains and disabilities in order to gain insight into support, medications, etc. But instead of disabilities, can we call them superpowers? Or, coping strategies for an indoor centric, high stress world where we're on the brink of climate collapse at any moment?? Sorry, my superpower, anxiety, was showing right there. Admittedly I feel excited, sad, and protective all at the same time as a parent embarking on how to best navigate encouraging and accepting all attributes unconditionally, but also judgement from teachers along with people who may not have children or high energy/sensitive boys, and making sure that we give our son and daughter the skills, support and right school they need to emotionally regulate, make friends, and learn. At 2 and 5. An occupational therapist just stated recently that the instance of anxiety and sensory seeking behaviors popping up in even elementary school children that had never had that on their radar is through the roof. Waitlists to get into places for support are months long. But, I do not see a shift in focus of curriculum. Should we really be careening towards making sure kids know their ABC's and can sit through lunch, instead of maybe months worth of work on feeling secure in a very insecure world? Maybe more time outside and connecting with the source of all life and learning how to take care of her (which thankfully, does seem to be #trending). What do you think?


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