Monday, October 10, 2022

The Shame Of Being Neurodiverse #MentalHealth

One of the things that tends to get lost in the shuffle when talking about neurodiversity is the feelings that can go along with it. One feeling in particular is the feeling of shame. 

As a neurodiverse person, I feel an incredible amount of shame when I don't get things done the way neurotypical people expect them to be done. I feel shame when I can't find the think I have been tasked to look for right away. That shame turns into anxiety over time and it makes for a very tough few moments. 

The shame comes from the fact that we understand how this task would be simple for a neurotypical person. The shame comes from knowing that others are watching and possibly judging. The shame hits even harder when someone comments about why it is taking so long or why it couldn't be done in a different, "more normal", way. 

How we deal with students who are neurodiverse can impact their love of learning. We don't want to connect the feeling of shame with learning. Being in Middle School, I will often find myself asking a student that has done something impulsive, "What were you thinking?"

It seems like a simple questions, but it is all about tone. The teacher tone that says, "What you did was wrong, bad, or weird and you should know better than to do that. What is wrong with you?"

As a neurodiverse person, you'd think I would be better at addressing students who are neurodiverse as well, but I make mistakes. I've been conditioned to react to certain behaviors and I need to continue to work on tone and interactions with students who show their neurodiversity in ways that do not look like ones I'm am accustomed to seeing. 

It is hard to go through a day feeling shame because my brain refuses to fit in with the rest of the brains around me. I will continue to ask for grace from those that know me and advocate for students who do not need to feel shame at school because they don't fully understand their own neurodiversity. 

Hugs and High Fives, 


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