Nov 2023
Neurodiversity – Get With The Program !



Discovering my son had ADHD at 17 years old was a huge surprise and at the same time a relief. I knew there was something not working for him and that was a puzzle for us. The teachers kept telling me was fine and not to worry, but we all know when Mumma bear senses her cub might be vulnerable we see her start being that loud voice her cub needs. I started reading with the kids at school to keep my finger on the pulse and to understand where he was at in terms of the other children.


Bouncing off the walls ?

Yes, he was slow to read and write, a huge runner and dodger! I was constantly exhausted chasing him down the street as I was trying to do my schoolyard conversations in sound bites! Nevertheless, he was also knowledgeable and had a large amount of knowledge of things that interested him. He could draw beautifully and intricately, and had made incredible clever stop motion animations as a child. He was great at karate and soccer.
Some badly needing professional development psychologist said he had a low IQ when she tested him. I knew that was rubbish and so it proved to be. Where do they get these crazy assessments from?? No one picked up ADHD , even after several teachers , and two psychologists assessments, and I had very little knowledge of what it was except for a child that bounces off the walls ALL DAY EVERY DAY , he was never that obvious.


Neurodiversity our First Responders !


We refer to children with ADHD and with Autism and other related neurological disorders as being “neurodiverse” as opposed to “neurotypical” which is the way the general populations brain is wired.

Neurodiversity refers to the variation in neurological structure and function, and it includes conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and more. There is the theory that once upon a time we needed ADHDers to be our first responders, the guys who rallied and protected the community from the sabre-toothed tiger. Little thinking, just jump into hyperfocus mode and act immediately. They were our wellbeing warriors, saving the tribe form danger . But of course, we don’t need these types of responders as we all sit around at desks and eat from Maccas these days . Those hyper vigilant types are largely redundant unless there is a fire or a tornado.  So, what happens? We get kids in a classroom who can’t sit down for 5 minutes and switch focus on a dime. No small wonder that by the age of 12 a neurodiverse child has had 20,000 more negative comments made to them than neurotypicals. We can see why their self esteem and self image heads  for the dumpster.


That sticky stigma again !


Diagnosis for myself and my husband, was the pathway to learning more about what neurodiverse children encounter and the stigma and barriers to self-development and self-potential. We needed to be mindful of and overcome all of these issues as well as balancing medication , and therapy, as he navigated his teen life into his new normal . Unfortunately, even with our support there are still many barriers. We may have the legislation to protect people with learning difficulties, but we still find the door gets shut quite readily and easily when on one is looking or monitoring the neurotypically – catered world we live in.


Who has the barriers here ?

I had one of my clients’ mum rings me this morning almost in tears. Her 15-year-old son living with autism  has been rejected form a school-based apprenticeship because he was “not mature enough”. Now most ADHD and Autism specialists and people with neurodiverse children know that one of the symptoms of being neurodiverse is that children mature at a slower rate that neurotypicals. We are talking between 1 and 4 years. That is a big deal! So, you would think reasonable adjustments would be made for a child with learning difficulties. Well apparently, not! This school is also a special needs school …. I know right? WTF?? I would laugh with the irony if it wasn’t so devastating an outcome for this kid and his family. His mum feels defeated, and I m sure this is NOT a rare scenario in any educational setting.



Opportunity for thriving.

We bang on about discrimination and equal opportunity, but assessments and tests are set up to suit the wider population and this means that there is no level playing field, and this is paramount when you are looking at competition  based programs or scholarships surely ?  Your neurodiverse kid is on the back foot already. Not only that, how can a child mature without being given opportunities to fertilize that maturity? We simply add to their feelings of worthlessness and being different when we set them up for failure.

So as we observe, in educational settings, discrimination can also be characterized by a lack of understanding from teachers and peers, or even exclusion from certain activities or programs and more failure .


Get with the program people !

It’s crucial for schools and communities to promote inclusivity and provide the necessary resources to support neurodiverse children. Understanding and acceptance are essential in creating an environment where every child can thrive.
It’s heartening to see growing awareness about neurodiversity and efforts to promote inclusivity, but there’s still work to be done. Encouraging empathy, educating others about different neurodivergent conditions, and fostering a culture of acceptance can contribute to a more inclusive and supportive society for neurodiverse individuals. After all, diversity, including neurodiversity, is what makes our world rich and interesting!

My son is doing well , he’s still a pain in the arse ? Is there a name for that disorder ? LOL