It flows through my bloodlines
Aug 24, 2021
We are FIXATED on behaviour as a society. We hastily attach meaning and intention to it, and project our own biased (mis)understandings onto it, based on all that lies within US.
For many of us, what ‘lies within’ is the unseen, the unheard and the unknown.
We overlook that our discomfort with the behaviour of our neurodivergent children is a product of not having done the work on ourselves.
Our discomfort is the voice that speaks to our fears, our trauma, our grief, and threatens to undo all of the masking and the walls we’ve often unknowingly built around ourselves, borne from our own survival.
Our discomfort is in our training from birth; our cultural and social conditioning, our bias, our blind compliance with stereotyping, our learnt binary thinking around gender, our racism and sexism.
This is neither bad, nor good. It just is. It is not about blame or shame. It is about survival; surviving a world and a society that we inherently know is not safe for us.
Neurodivergence doesn’t just pop up randomly in our children.
It flows through our bloodlines; is a part of our ancestry.
It has moved through our families since the beginning of time, and we missed it because of where it hid or where it was sent.
It has been hidden in alcoholism and drug addiction.
It has been hidden in institutions.
It has fallen through the cracks in classrooms and left educational institutions with battered self esteem and no education.
It has been hidden behind misdiagnosis and improper, inappropriate care.
It has been hiding underneath the trauma it brings about when it is unrecognised.
It has been disguised behind it’s many characteristics - eating disorders, dyslexia, anxiety.
It has many times been hidden behind other variations of names - indigo child, rainbow child, gifted child, learning disabled, highly sensitive person.
It has been hidden behind our recognition of the most prominent needs of our loved ones-”has bad nerves”, “needs some alone time”, “doesn’t like noise”, “can’t think with too much else going on”, “hates crowds”, “is painfully shy”.
It has been hidden by sprinklings of characteristics of a larger picture thrown at us like generalised anxiety disorder with demand avoidance with social pragmatic communication disorder with a learning disability with sensory processing disorder. Instead of autism.
It has been hidden behind the many Mothers who were shamed and blamed for their children's behaviour and held themselves responsible as failing in their parental duties.
It has been hidden behind the parents who blamed ourselves for our children's struggles because we were the same and if only we could be better, so would our children.
When we begin to recognise neurodivergence as identity and culture, everything we know and understand about it changes.
Changes us. Moves us. Shifts us. Awakens us.
We come away with the knowledge that our identity and culture, that our rite of passage, that our community has been withheld from many of us.
All because who we are has been sold to us as disorder. Medical disorder.
The idea that we are inherently flawed and can be improved as human beings has been sold to our parents, our families, the society we live and work in.
And our inability as neurodivergent people to convince society otherwise is more often than not, thwarted by our own internalised discrimination against ourselves; our internalised ableism.
The self loathing we are left to overcome. To heal from.
The lies we’ve been told about ourselves.
I am not disordered. I am disabled.
I am autistic. ADHD. PDA. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Educator. Human.
I found myself when I found my community-the autistic community.
I began to live when I discovered my culture-disabled culture.
And I almost died many times on the way.
P.S Hey, interested in learning more about autistic identity and culture? Our signature 12 week program 'inTune Families' for families and professionals supporting autistic people closes in three days.