There is a wave of adults stepping into their Neurodivergent identities. The biggest categories are Autism and ADHD. Social media is allowing the Neurodivergent community to share their lived experience, and people are connecting to their truth beyond the limited picture painted in the DSM.
I take a strong anti-ableist lens in my work with Neurodivergent adults. There is so much pain and grief tied into the journey of coming to terms with who you are and mourning the support you never received. There is also profound validation, joy, and opportunity to connect with a community where you're understood and supported.
There is no therapeutic "cure" for Neurodivergence, and my stance is that there doesn't need to be. It's a naturally occurring facet of human experience that is at odds with the neuro-majoritive culture and its emphasis on productivity and hyper-independence. You are a precious being and deserve to live fully, make accommodations, and love yourself just as you are.
Stims are self-regulatory behaviors that relieve tension, calm the nervous system, and increase physical sensations. Many of us experienced shaming or discipline for these behaviors as children. This can result in a disconnect from the body and your needs. Reclaiming stimming can be deeply emotional and empowering work for Neurodivergent adults. It's a chance to take back what was taken from you and express yourself fully. There is often shame and deeply held negative beliefs to be unpacked. I treasure this facet of my work and am honored to help my neurokin reclaim the full spectrum of their humanity.
Strengths-Based and Identity Affirming
"You can't judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree." Similarly, many Neurodivergent adults are taught to only see how they don't measure up to the neurotypical standard. We're taught to fit ourselves into the mold, no matter what is lost in the process. This can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. I encourage my clients to connect with their special interests, adapt their routines to meet their needs, and make sensory/executive functioning accommodations so they can work with their neurotype, rather than against it.
Neurodivergence and Trauma
While experiencing trauma isn't a core part of the Neurodivergent experience, it is unfortunately common. Living in a world that's not designed for you can lead to internalized ableism, or the belief that you're inherently deficient. This leads to masking, compensatory strategies, and dismissing your own needs. This is especially true if you received negative messages about your behavior or capabilities growing up. Adult Autistics who went through ABA therapy often recount the experience as traumatic and disempowering. The good news is, this can be addressed through EMDR with adaptations to fit your needs.