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Not Enough

My friend encouraged me to write an article for this issue on neurodiversity and what Galveston is doing for this community, and my first thought was “not enough” I say this as a fellow neurodivergent of the ADHD flavor and as a working mental health professional in this community.

To start, I have a not-so-clinical definition of what it means to be a neurodivergent and why it appears that diagnoses of ADHD, autism and the like are on the rise. Were not meant to be put in the boxes that this  capitalistic society has thrown us in and I believe this expansion of us “neuro-spicy” individuals is nature’s way of creating a new group of humans charged with this leaping-out-of-the-box energy to start a new path and help everyone leave that cardboard prison behind.

But what are we doing with these magical individuals? Are we helping them become the leaders of the new path? Or are we slapping them with a label akin to designating them a broken toy, making them believe they don’t deserve better than a cardboard box? The latter is more aligned with what I have experienced in both of my roles. I had the privilege of not getting my diagnosis until I was an adult, but most of the NDs out there get assigned their labels as children along with their allotment of guilt and self-doubt. One of my former clients who shares the same label with me was having trouble with anger issues and impulsivity causing problems at school. They came in as a lot of them do, wary about therapy and in their case apathetic because “I’ve had other therapists and none of them could help me” What I noticed is that a lot of the problems seemed to stem from my client’s lack of self-esteem. They had a 504 in place (a special education plan geared towards giving those with alternative learning styles adaptations to help with learning) but still reported not getting along with other kids their age, and not being understood by their teachers. We bonded over our shared brain chemistry and I shar my perspective certain aspects of ADHD being superpowers. You get better at listening by playing casual games on your phone and have higher level discussions about mental health with me? Superpower You have an endless knowledge and desire to learn more about the ins and outs of charter fishing? Superpower The therapeutic term for this is reframing finding a new and ideally more positiveor at least neutral) perspective on negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Where some would see a lack of knowledge on more traditional subjects and not paying attention when someone is talking, we found superpowers. At a certain point my client’s behavior clashed too much with the school’s rules and they now spend their days being homeschooled, around more adults, and learning the business of charter fishing. In this new environment, my client graduated from anger and impulsivity dropp from a boil to a manageable simmer, thriving.

I love getting to work with kids in this way, getting to be a helping hand out of the box and onto the path but I still have my challenges. The journey that led me to my diagnosis was still tinged with the notion of figuring out “What was wrong with me?” “Why is it so hard for me to adult?” “I feel like two kids in a , calling themselves Mr. Business but still messing everything up” I had to reframe as well, but had the luxury of learning how for a living. To all those out there big

And small with these same thoughts, we have proof that us so-called broken toys can make our mark in Simone Biles, Emma Watson, and Albert Einstein. To those looking for ways to enrich our community for us neurodivergents, shake things up! Start by trying to reframe your perspectives on us, and then take it to the streets, demand that your local government and schools do better and reframe from “How do I make them fit in with the rest of us?” to “How can we be more inclusive of them?” Be another hand that pulls us out of the boxes so that we all can make those new paths. I love you Galveston, and I believe we can do better if we do it together.

For more information and resources:

The Austim Spectrum -


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