Hey y’all! I am so excited to announce our newest series, and one I am very passionate about, “Exploring Neurodiversity and Mental Health.”
Exploring Neurodiversity and Mental Health is going to be a weekly series, posted every Wednesday that explores the different developmental, mental, and emotional needs of those around us in the neurodivergent community. EN&MH is all about talking about and educating the masses on neurodiversity with our kids, for our kids, and because of our kids-but you don’t need to be a parent to participate or read along.
What is neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity is “the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population.” (Thanks Google Dictionary!) The movement to accept neurodivergent individuals where they are is one I am passionate about. It’s about recognizing that the perceived “normal” way to behave is not the RIGHT or ONLY way and working towards being inclusive and accepting of the daily joys and struggles of others who are neurodivergent.
What is mental health?
Mental health is “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” (Thanks again, Google dictionary!) Caring for your own mental health and being aware of and accepting others is something I am relentless in pushing on other people. Our mental health is just as, if not more, important as our physical health. For some that’s simply making sure you’re taking care of yourself-others it’s much deeper in dealing with, survivoring, and overcoming mental illnesses.
As a parent of children who are do exist in this society where they will (and have) been told the way their brain works isn’t right, one of my biggest hopes is raising a new generation of people who understand and are accepting of-not only “putting up with” behaviors that seem out of our societal norm. I want kids who understand not meeting a persons eyes when talking to them is not disrespectful.I want them to be compassionate when people are struggling with depression or anxiety. I want them to understand the basics that make brains work the way they work and be loving and caring people who treat others with respect.
I want to raise up children who are compassionate and kind to all those they come in contact with and in some ways that takes extra education beyond “treat everyone the way you want to be treated.” Especially if treating them the way you want to be treated won’t convey love or kindness with who they are.
My goal for this series is to raise awareness on different challenges our children may face for them. Parents get a lot of miscommunication and misinformation on many of the things I will be covering in this series-whether it’s ADHD, anxiety, autism, or an eating disorder. Part of the hope of EN&MF is to provide factual information on some of the things parents may hear in the doctors office or school meetings-or to help them identify struggles and joys and bring it to the attention of teachers or doctors.
Beyond the informational posts about specific conditions and scenarios, I will include practical tips for handling meetings and specialists, different types of therapies you can explore, and tips for self care for parents while fighting for your children’s rights….because it can become an exhausting battle. I want to offer self advocacy advice, not only for your children’s care and rights but for yours as well.
Another aspect I hope to successfully convey through this series is a system and advice for parents to talk TO their children about these things. I will share some ideas for experimental ways to show kids some different brain functions as well as empathy exercises. Knowledge is power and the more we educate our kids now, the less catching up they will have to do as adults.
My final hope-and one I cannot promise yet-is to use this as a platform to allow others to share their stories. While I have a limited amount of exposure inside neurodivergent communities, my voice is not the one I want speaking the loudest on situations and struggles and joys I personally have not encountered. I’m inviting other parents, adults, wives and husbands, daughters and sons, to share their stories-from when they were younger to now, or as a parent, spouse or child helping navigate this world.
To give you an oversight or idea of some of the posts I’m already working on(and maybe prompt you to send in a personal experience with one of these things!), here’s some of the subjects I’ve already begun researching:
PTSD-I have a really cool experiment for kids to go along with this!
Eating disorders-the different types will each be a post on their own.
Anxiety in children
Tips for talking to your kids about your mental illnesses
Inclusion in the church
Addiction-I’m still hashing in my head how to handle this one, as it’s a pretty raw topic and I have limited(and to be completely authentic here, kind of biased) experiences with it.
How the church can talk about mental health
And many more!
I am so excited to begin this journey and I pray that you are too. Again, if you want to offer your own story, here is the link to do so. I ask for grace, as I am not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, just a mom who has a passion for neurodiversity and mental health becoming much more well known in this world we call home.