Thursday, July 30, 2015

in support of Adam Goodes: a message to his bullies

I'm doing it again! I'm wiring about AFL. Only this time it's mostly about manners and respect and advocacy.

For the background to this post, you should read yesterdays post >> click here<< it will open in a new window. 

This post will be shorter. I just have one thing to say, and it is to all those people who have been actively justifying their poor behaviour for the past 48 hours. 

To all of you who say "Booing Goodes isn't racist, I'm booing because.... 
{insert as many of the tired old reasons that are circulating here as you wish}
I'd like to know:

If your kid came home from school and said they were being picked on and had asked for the kids doing it to stop because their feeling were being hurt but the other kids wouldn't stop, would that be OK? 

If you went to work and people there abused you every time they walked past your desk citing a reason that you believed to be invalid, and refused to stop when you asked them to, would that be OK? 

How about if you made a mistake, and people yelled at you every time you took on a new task to remind you that they noticed your mistake a long time ago, and you asked them to stop but they decided continue yelling and to tell you you should stop whining and just suck it up, would that be OK? 

I'm guessing no. I'm guessing if it was you turning up to work and being booed, yelled at, called names, and generally abused you'd be pretty upset by that. You might even call the people involved bullies. And you'd be right. 

I'm guessing that if you decided to take a couple of days off to catch a break from the bullying and abuse, and people called you a sook, you'd feel like that was unfair. You might even consider quitting that job to get away from the stress. And many people would understand you doing that because turning up to work week after week and trying to carry on and ignore bullying takes its toll eventually, no matter who you are. 

So, to all of you vigorously defending your right to be an asshole from the safety of your anonymous seat in the stand and from behind your computer keyboard, I say this:

I don't care what you say your motivation is. I don't even care what your motivation actually is. It is impossible to convince bigots they are bigots, so I won't even try. 

But how about this? Your behaviour is hurting someone. He has said it is hurting him. He has asked for it to stop. If you choose to keep on with your behaviour, knowing it hurts, then you have bad manners, and show a lack of respect for other human beings. You are a bully. 

I see bullies a lot as I raise my Autistic children. These bullies seem to enjoy picking on people who stand out as a little bit different. The pleasure seems to increase if the person responds in an act of self advocacy. You are those people. You are just the same as the kids in the playground who call names and exclude from games while laughing and patting each other on the back. It is ugly in children and even uglier in adults. 

I regularly stand up for my children. I have to stand up for them to other kids who behave the same way you do. Sometimes I have to stand up for them to adults who behave the way you do. I have to stand up for them to systems that are based on the values you uphold with your callous and stubborn refusal to admit you might have been wrong. And I will stand up for Adam too. 

Stop being bullies. Sit down and watch the game with respect for those there to provide your afternoons entertainment. Cheer the good stuff. Save your boos for the true injustices in the world. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

AFL, Adam Goodes and acceptance of diversity in Australia

I'm going to do something I've never done before. Chances are I will never do this again. I am going to write about football. Australian Rules Football to be exact. This is unlikely to be a "popular" post, or even of interest to most of my regular readers, but I wanted to record my thoughts somewhere public.

As a matter of disclosure, I will say that I have been a fan of the Sydney Swans for a number of years. For the past few years my family has held a membership and we go to every home game they play. We like the sport, we like the team and we like Adam Goodes. As a matter of principal I will say that even if the issue I am going to write about today wasn't involving a member of my favourite team, I would still be angry about it.

Some background, in case anyone unfamiliar with what is happening is reading.
For some time now Adam Goodes, a key player in the Swans team, is noticeably booed by fans of opposition teams when he has possession of the ball during a game.

Booing is a part of the fan "culture" in AFL games, and is used as a way of protesting a bad play made, a poor umpire decision, or any behaviour the crowd deems unacceptable (an example would be if a tackle results in a player being knocked unconscious).

The discussion around the booing of Adam Goodes by the people who do it largely centres around their belief that Goodes is a "flog"- a colloquial term used to mean that someone is a lousy person for one reason or another. Some say it because they think he is rough or overly aggressive on the field. Some say it because they think he is a whiner. Some say it is because he is a bully; specifically that he bullied a teenaged girl. The situation came to a head a couple of months ago when, during the "Indigenous Round", Adam- an Indigenous man- celebrated scoring a goal with an Indigenous war cry dance some young Indigenous players had taught him. And, as a couple of major news outlets have stated, the country imploded over an imaginary spear. Since then, the booing has increased, and the discussion about racism in our nation has intensified.

I am not the first person to write about this, of course. In fact, I suspect this post would be fairly considered as arriving late to the party. So, I doubt I'll have anything new to add. But here I am. It bothers me that this is happening. Here is a man, who has been an amazing footy player since before my now 19 year old was 8 and loving cheering for Goodes. Back then he wasn't booed. So what changed?

Well, in the past 10 years, Adam Goodes has moved on from being "just" a footy player, and has become an advocate. He advocates for the right of Indigenous people in our country. He mentors young Indigenous people, future players in the AFL. He has entertained our sports fans for more than a decade with good strong football, but once he began to point out some of the privilege and prejudice that exists in our country, suddenly he is labelled a bad person.

That teenaged girl he "bullied"? What happened was he called her out for calling him an ape. From what I can tell from media reports the young lady phoned him later and apologised. Goodes accepted that apology by publicly acknowledging it and asking people to show the young lady support. But ever since there have been people who have attacked him for his reaction to being called an ape. Essentially, we have an Indigenous man who stood up for himself and has been vilified for it each time he turns up to work ever since.

The arguments that he is rough on the field? I can tell you now that his team mate Lance Franklin, who is also Indigenous, is more aggressive on field than Goodes is. He is not booed ever time he touches the ball. There have been many other (non Indigenous) players over the years known for their aggressive style, and to this day are considered heroes of the sport.

How about the "lousy person" argument? There are other sportspeople who are actually known criminals who receive more respectful treatment than Goodes does.

What we are really seeing here is not an objection to aggressive play of the game, or any personal failings as a bully. What we are seeing is exactly what journalist Waleed Aly identified. Adam Goodes has shown he is an Indigenous man who does know know his appropriate place in our society as part of a minority group. He challenges people on their prejudices, their racism, and they will not put up with that. He is not perfect- no one is. But Adam Goodes is being bullied, and the crowd is allowing and encouraging it. They will proudly boo him, shame him, until he retires, and they will justify it with all sorts of unjustifiable nonsense as they down their beers and celebrate 'Straya and its values of mateship.

I am pleased and cautiously hopeful to see the AFL leadership beginning to take a more noticeable stand on this following Lewis Jetta's show of solidarity over the weekend as he performed his own war cry dance. But I  don't think the booing is going to stop.

For all our self congratulatory back patting over how accepting and mate oriented and champions of the fair go we are here in Australia, we are incredibly racist and extremely intolerant of diversity. Just as Adam Goodes is howled down for advocating for Indigenous rights, so others are silenced when fighting for the rights of other minority groups. Our treatment of disabled students in schools, our attitudes to Asylum Seekers (people who are genuine refugees), our fear and hatred of Muslim people, our skepticism toward anything not considered "like us" overwhelmingly confirms that we do not like, or even tolerate, diversity. The booing of Adam Goodes is just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that it has been going on so long and is still justified by so many is something we should all be ashamed of.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

one of THOSE days

You've had one of THOSE days, right? 

The ones that start with running late to the early drop off for your kid to catch the train for an excursion, and finish with the topping falling off the pizza you order for dinner because you didn't make it into the shops (the only task on your to do list for the day) despite having driven past them 5 times. 

The days that include an emergency trip to the vet and result in a $500 bill to fix your dogs leg that he somehow got impaled by a stick in your back yard. 

You've had THOSE days, right?

The days in which you spend another hour on the phone to your internet provider (that makes 7 hours in total, and the problem isn't solved yet) and still don't feel like they have understood what you are talking about. 

The days in which your toddler cries all day, and it takes you to dinner time to figure out he has a headache, and you feel like you win the worst mother of the year award for not thinking to give him some pain relief earlier.

I'm not the only one, I'm sure, who has THOSE days from time to time. 

The days that see you going straight from school pick up to the dentist with your kid who has developed an abscess in her mouth sometime that day and all you can think is "I tell her every day to brush"..... 

The days when the dishwasher is actually empty for once, but no one realises, so there is still a pile of dirty dishes sitting on the sink and you wonder why you bother! 

The days when your Wonderful Husband whisks you out of the house at 5.30 for 30 minutes of "down time" while you pick up the aforementioned topping-shedding-pizza (yes, running errands counts as down time), and when you duck into the bottle shop the shop attendant greets you with "How are you tonight" and you say "Good" but really mean "If I don't get to go to sleep soon I'm going to burst in uncontrollable ugly tears of frustration". 

You know, THOSE days? 

You are sitting in front of the tv at the end of it all, with a piece of naked pizza in one hand and a mug of champagne in the other telling yourself you are celebrating the end of this awful day, knowing deep down that there is every chance tomorrow will be much the same, and that as frustrated and tired and over it you are in this moment, you wouldn't change it all for anything. This life, these kids, even the clumsy dog, are all yours. 

Today all the things above happened at our place. All of them! That is unusual. Thank goodness. But every day in life something does happen that I wasn't expecting or planning for. Every day as a parent I have to do something or deal with something I'd rather not. And that is alright. 

This is my life. I like it here. These are my kids. I'm pretty fond of them. Sure, there are inconveniences, and some days are just plain crap. But it's OK. It is all worth it. A chubby armed little cuddle (or 'cuggle', as he calls them), the sound of the girls chatting together in their room as they settle for sleep, the teens offering to help out when they see I am stressing. All reminders of the good things we have, and the reasons we hang in there. 

So, I raise my mug to you all out there. Parents, cheers! This is our life. I hope you all like yours as much as I like mine. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Neurodiversity versus "The Mighty"

On the 28th of April this year I published an article called "the basics of neurodiversity, in my own words, with pictures". The article is now this blogs most viewed post. Being a little blog that means a grand total of 1551 views (cool number!!), which is not heaps, but I'm pleased enough with that.

Somehow, an editor at 'The Mighty' stumbled across the article and liked it enough to get in touch on 8 June and request permission to republish it. {In case you don't know about The Mighty I've included a link >> here << so you can see their website via donotlink.}

The time difference between The USA and Australia has meant that the discussions between them and me have spanned 8 days. While the person I was talking to was always polite and friendly, I've got to say that the process was rather frustrating for me.

In the initial contact the editor said The Mighty publishes pieces that celebrate disability, and invited me to let them know if I wanted to discuss details around publishing my article. I said I was interested.

In the next email I was asked to change my first paragraph. Fair enough, the original was rather specific to my blog, and changing it a bit would provide more context. I wrote up a new introduction and sent it off. All seemed well, I was asked for a bio and headshot.

The next message surprised me a little. They wanted to remove the image descriptions from my article. It was followed an hour later by another email saying not to worry, they would leave them in. I responded that I was pleased about that as image descriptions as they are useful to many people with disabilities. I was left wondering how a website like theirs could not be on board with such a thing already?

The next email contained a request for an official definition of Neurodiversity. I'm now going to start including full quotes of my communications with the editor.

The thing is that the Neurodiversity Paradigm is being championed mostly by a grassroots movement, so you won't find a lot of discussion on it outside grassroots social media like blogs. I am hearing more about it being included in academic discussion and a little bit of research, but it is still just catching on there, really. Blog posts are becoming widely accepted as valid sources of information, particularly in the area of disability studies. Disability Studies Quarterly regularly publishes articles that cite blog posts.

Nick Walkers writing (
editing to add that I had referenced Nick in my new introduction) is the best I've read on the topic, and is becoming widely accepted within the movement as the go to resource, and probably is the most accessible language, as once you start referencing academic writing the information tends to become inaccessible to many. Nicks definitive piece on the neurodiversity paradigm, the “Throw Away the Master’s Tools” essay, wasn’t originally a blog post. Printed in a book, cited in multiple academic works, and assigned in classrooms around the country. And getting reprinted in a textbook from Pearson, a major academic publisher.

On top of what I've already said, I strongly feel that requiring external referencing on a grassroots, owned by the people it talks about movement, is silencing those people and invalidating the work they are doing.


At this point I requested to see a copy of the article as I suspected it was being heavily edited.

A copy of the text of their edit was sent to me. This is my next message:

I notice you have removed a section at the end of the article. 

"The Pathology Paradigm includes the word "Disorder" in all the above labels (except of course the label "normal") and says that all these neurodivergences require treatment in order to make the brains, and the people with those brains, appear more normal.
The Neurodiversity Paradigm maintains that diversity is good and that people with neurodivergences are valuable just as they are and should not be forced or coerced into participation in treatments designed to make them look more normal.
Neurodivergence is something a person can be born with (e.g. Autism) or it can be acquired (e.g. a traumatic injury to the brain). Of course, if a persons neurodivergence leads to them being unwell, unable to function the way they want to, or in danger of any sort, there is no reason they should not seek treatment, or assistance and accommodations, in order to look after themselves the best way they can, but this is a decision that should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality."

This section is crucial to help people see the discrimination and challenges Neurodivergent people face in advocating for themselves. I realise there may be an issue with length of the article, but I suggest that at a minimum the following be included. 

The Pathology Paradigm includes the word "Disorder" in all the above labels (except of course the label "normal") and says that all these neurodivergences require treatment in order to make the brains, and the people with those brains, appear more normal. The Neurodiversity Paradigm maintains that diversity is good and that people with neurodivergences are valuable just as they are and should not be forced or coerced into participation in treatments designed to make them look more normal. Decisions about treatment, accommodations and supports should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality.

If this is not possible I would prefer the article not be published, as this point is such an important one. 


This is what The Mighty was happy to publish:

The Pathology Paradigm includes the word "Disorder" in all the above labels (except of course the label "normal") and says that all these neurodivergences require treatment in order to make the brains, and the people with those brains, appear more normal. The Neurodiversity Paradigm maintains that diversity is good and that people with neurodivergences are valuable just as they are and should not be forced or coerced into participation in treatments designed to make them look more normal. So according to the paradigm, decisions about treatment, accommodations and supports should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality.
With the explanation that the change was to properly attribute all facts.

There is a certain irony, don't you think, that they are attempting to edit my words to conform with a standard, within a sentence that speaks against doing the same?


My response:

I think it is pretty clear in my original words that the sentence sits under the previous one as being attributed to the ethos of the Neurodiversity Paradigm. I wrote the sentence to deliberately sit there and imply that I agree at the same time, and I am uncomfortable with changes being made to imply I, as the writer, am merely reporting on the issue. I am Neurodivergent myself, and prefer to leave the personal aspect in my article. I hope you can understand my insistence on this.  

And that was the end of that.

The editors at the Mighty feel that they need to distinguish between fact and paradigm, and that the statement "decisions about treatment, accommodations and supports should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality" is too controversial to be included without the qualification according to the paradigm directly in front of it. They will not publish my work unless I agree to this edit. 

I sent the following response this morning:

That is a very disappointing outcome.

Aside from having spent a week discussing with you, it is frustrating to be told that my experience and beliefs are not valuable unless edited a certain way. When I, as a Neurodivergent person, write about myself I expect that I will do so without other people telling me which parts of my experience and beliefs are too controversial. If someone requests to reprint my work because they like it and think it carries an important and helpful message, I am not comfortable with them dictating to me which parts of the message are ok to speak and which aren't. I strongly object to being told that "decisions about treatment, accommodations and supports should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality" is not a fact but merely an ideal being held up by a few people.

If you have seen my writing much before, you will know that I don't shy away from calling people and organisations out when they do things that are hurtful to the people they say they are helping.

The Mighty falls into this category. Your website says The Mighty was started to help people with disabilities. My impression as I look around the site is that The Mighty has become a website of inspiration porn that works to meet the emotional desires of parents of disabled children and does nothing to serve the needs, or even touch on the interests, of disabled people. How you can claim to be helping disabled people when you won't feature their unedited voices is hard to understand. 

image: a circle of brains each in it's own "head" circle,
each head is a different colour. Over the top of the brains
is a stamp that says "Not good enough for "The Mighty"" 
I don't care that The Mighty won't publish my article. I really don't. I did not approach them or pitch it to them. They came to me and asked to reprint it, then told me it wasn't good enough. That is what I care about, because you can bet I am not the only one they have done it to. 

I care about seeing someone claim to help or represent the views of a group of people, then censor and silence them when they speak out. 

I care about seeing a well known publication choose one angle, that makes them and their readership of parents feel happy and validated, but actively ignores and fails to represent all aspects of the story from within a group while they are claiming to advocate for them. 

Not only does doing these things hurt disabled people and contribute to the perpetuation of stigma and misinformation, it feeds parents of disabled people a diet of words that help them dwell on their own misery instead of empowering them to support and care for their children in ways that protect them from stigma and discrimination. 

The Mighty has a long way to go before it actually truly helps anybody. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Basics of Neurodiversity infographic



This infographic was made to compliment my article

the basics of Neurodiversity, in my own words, with pictures

This image is a shorter version that serves as a summary of the article.
Text that serves as an image description for this infographic can be found in the article, linked above. 

I am happy for people to share the image, but please credit me and link back to this article, or to my Facebook page when you do. If you wish to print the image or otherwise reproduce it for your own use, please email me (michellesuttonwrites@gmail.com) and request permission. I will be able to provide you with a PDF to use. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tired. Anxious. Almost not coping. Or almost doing well.

Some days I'm a weird mix of tired and anxious. I'm not worried about anything in particular, but everything worries me and it's hard to make a decision about anything. I'm not physically sick, but there is a queasiness in my stomach and a feeling in my chest. I am tired and foggy in my brain, but I don't want to lie down to rest because that it exactly when my brain will jump into action and I will feel worse.

On days like this I don't get anything done other than things I absolutely can't avoid. If the day is one with nothing much I can't avoid I manage to get through OK. If the day is one like today when I have to drop one child off early to school, one at the regular time, and one to TAFE, then take one child to a psychology appointment, buy food for dinner, pick up two kids from two separate schools, then organise dinner for everyone and still find energy to go to karate.... well, on days like today I find myself sitting in my chair at 5.15pm desperately in need of both a drink and a visit to the bathroom but unable to do anything until I have cleared my mind of the thoughts that are bothering me even though I really should be onto making dinner by now.

These are the days I actually feel like I have taken on too much and probably should not be a parent. No one is starving or in any danger, but I feel woefully incompetent.

It's 5.18pm and I feel like I could go to bed and stay there until morning.... but bedtime is about 5 hours away. And I felt like this 5 hours ago.

If I have more than a couple of days in a row like this I start cancelling things. I have to if I don't want to end up shut down for a few days. The house gets messier and messier. Dirty clothes and dishes pile up. If it goes on too long it takes me weeks to catch up.

Some weeks I don't have any days like this. Some weeks I have more days like this than not. Sometimes I have a week full of days like this.

Lately I don't really seem to catch up... or I almost get there and then I'm slipping again. Falling behind again.

It's 5.24pm and my body just remembered to tell me I am really hungry now. Still haven't been able to empty my mind enough to get up. It's a bit like I imagine a locked up computer would feel if it had feels.

If I make the mistake of looking at the calendar for the next day I can do nothing I know I'll feel worse because this is a busy week.

If I make a quick easy dinner instead of the one I bought ingredients for I will get through the evening more easily. Better still I can ask one of the older kids to do the quick dinner. Remembering I can ask for help is a skill I am still learning. Delegation is an important self care skill- note to self! Dinner sorted, now I can clear a space to think about karate. I like karate, it will be fine. When I get back the kids will be about ready for bed. I can go to bed early and ignore the dishes a while longer. I have plan. Now I can go to the bathroom and have a drink.

I feel like it would seem silly to others, but this is how my mind works and how my days often look. Tired and anxious, almost depressed but not quite. Taking frequent breaks to clear my thoughts so I can move on with the day. Almost not coping. Or almost doing well. Depending on how you look at it. Take a deep breath and smile. One foot in front of the other until I can stop.

It's not a crisis. I'm not stressed, or in pain. I don't need saving or even sympathy. It just is. 

My life.

I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. I think sometimes it's this sort of thing they are talking about when they say everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. I mean, sometimes they are talking about death or illness, or tragedy or big stuff. But sometimes it's this... just life for some people. I know there are others like me. It's not just my story.

I thought you should know.

Some of you need to know because you didn't know before. Some of you need to know that someone else understands. 

So there it is. It will be OK. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the basics of Neurodiversity, in my own words, with pictures

I was asked on the weekend, "So, what is Neurodiversity about?".

Would you believe I've only ever written about neurodiversity before, not actually discussed it face to face with someone seeking to understand? But I was asked, so I answered. And I didn't have access to the internet to give links to people who explain it very well. As I was talking I remembered how much I love to get a visual of things as I take on new information. So, here it is.... 

the basics of Neurodiversity, in my own words, with pictures 
(image descriptions are included in the main text of the post)



This is Pat.

(image is a very basic human shaped outline consisting of a circle head and an upside down U line for the body, with the word "Pat" at the bottom)





image source

This is Pats Brain. 

(image is a black line drawing style brain- the left side looks like a basic brain outline, the right side is made up of a light switch, a clock, a cog, a spool, two circuit boards and a lot of tubes all winding around and linking with each other. This image was sourced on Freepik.com)




This is Pat with his friends. 
All Pats friends have Brains too. 

(image is a row of 6 very basic human shaped outlines consisting of a circle head and an inside down U line for the body, each has a brain  the same as image for Pats Brain above inside the head. Each person has a name at the bottom- left to right they are Alex, Drew, Pat, Lee, Jess and Sal)





No two brains are exactly alike. 
This is Neurodiversity. 

(image is the same as the one above, with each brain in a different colour. Alex is blue, Drew is green, Pat is yellow, Lee is orange, Jess is red, Sal is purple)



neuro- |ˈnjʊərəʊ|
combining form
relating to nerves or the nervous system

diversity |dʌɪˈvəːsɪti, dɪ-|
noun (pl.diversities) [ mass noun ]
the state of being diverse

diverse |dʌɪˈvəːs, ˈdʌɪvəːs|
adjective
showing a great deal of variety; very different

(image to the left is a rainbow brain circle made of 6 brains each a different colour)



Some peoples brains are similar enough that they behave in ways that are 
categorised and labelled. 


One of these labels is "normal", which in this context means something like: 
looks pretty much like the majority of people and can function in ways we expect people in our society to function without needing extra support. Sometimes people use the word "neurotypical" instead of normal (image to the right is a group of 
7 blue brains in a kind of circular arrangement)




Some other labels are
"Schizophrenic"
(image to the left is a group of 7 yellow brains in a kind of circular arrangement)


"Bipolar
(image to the right is a group of 7 green brains in a kind of circular arrangement)


"Autistic
(image to the left is a group of 7 red brains in a kind of circular arrangement)




"Epileptic"
(image to the right is a group of 7 purple brains in a kind of circular arrangement)


All these labels indicate Neurodivergence, that is, a deviation of a brain from the "normal". 
People labeled with these things (and others) are Neurodivergent. 

Not all neurodivergence is diagnosed, or even diagnosable. This means that not all people who are perceived as neurotypical are in fact so. I write about this in my article 'Neurodivergent NOS'. Neurodivergent NOS is a nonsense term I made up to represent people who identify as neurodivergent but are not diagnosed with a recognised neurodivergence. 
(image to the left is a group of 7 orange brains in a kind of circular arrangement)



The Pathology Paradigm includes the word "Disorder" in all the above labels (except of course the label "normal") and says that all these neurodivergences require treatment in order to make the brains, and the people with those brains, appear more normal. 

The Neurodiversity Paradigm maintains that diversity is good and that people with neurodivergences are valuable just as they are and should not be forced or coerced into participation in treatments designed to make them look more normal. 

Neurodivergence is something a person can be born with (e.g. Autism) or it can be acquired (e.g. a traumatic injury to the brain). Of course, if a persons neurodivergence leads to them being unwell,  unable to function the way they want to, or in danger of any sort, there is no reason they should not seek treatment, or assistance and accommodations, in order to look after themselves the best way they can, but this is a decision that should be made by the person themselves without being pressured by others simply for the purpose of conforming to societies expectations of normality. 


Neurodivergence is neither "good" nor "bad". It just is. It is up to each neurodivergent individual to decide what help they desire. People who are part of the Neurodiversity Movement support and advocate for the rights of individuals to have those choices. 




Pat, Alex, Drew, Lee, Jess and Sal are comfortable with their individual divergences and their diversity as a group. They support each others rights to self determination, and they value the strengths they each bring to their group of friends. 

(image above is a row of 6 very basic human shaped outlines consisting of a circle head and an inside down U line for the body, each has a coloured brain and a name at the bottom of their body outline: Alex is blue, Drew is green, Pat is yellow, Lee is orange, Jess is red, Sal is purple. There is a colourful row of small triangular flags hanging above the group of people. Each flag has a letter on it. The letters together spell "NEURODIVERSITY")



Edit: this article has now been summarised in a one page infographic, available for viewing by clicking: