My Top Performing Articles of 2021

I’ve been on medium for eight months, and it’s been quite a ride so far. I have really enjoyed writing here and reading stories and articles shared by others.

To date, I’ve published 175 articles. Recently I’ve made it to 1.5K followers, and have reached more than 50K readers, which is very exciting for me.

I’m still not earning much in comparison to the effort I’m putting in, but I am hoping the long-game will eventually begin to pay off.

Here’s to greater success for all of us in the new year!

My 10 most popular stories on Medium this year

10) ADHD, Actually: The Struggle is Real

Research reveals how life-altering ADHD really is… and what you can do about it.

ADHD is about so much more than difficulty sitting still or paying attention.

So. Much. More.

“Children learn more from watching our actions and behaviour than they ever will from our words.”

9) ADHD and Autistic People Have Heard Enough

Things you should never say to and ADHD and autistic people

(Nor to the parents of ADHD and autistic children).

People really should know better by now, seriously.

I have Celiac disease, so I actually do need to be on a gluten-free diet. I’ve been completely gluten-free for over twelve years, and guess what? Still neurodivergent.

People can be smart AND disabled. Smart AND Autistic. Smart AND whatever. The two are not mutually exclusive, and I wish the general population knew and understood this.

Most of us are extremely knowledgeable about our condition, or our children’s condition, probably a lot more knowledgeable than you are.

Every neurodivergent individual has received unsolicited advice at some point in their lives. I’d wager that the majority of those comments were not appreciated, especially if they came from a stranger, or someone they didn’t know well.

Offering advice when you weren’t asked is plain ignorant, and I no longer have the energy to care about “good intentions”.

Don’t think we’re fooled by your insincerity, many neurodivergent people are excellent bullshit detectors. We know when your suggestions were made for your own benefit, to show off the knowledge you thought you had, not genuinely offered for the person receiving them.

8) Neurodivergents: Justice Warriors

Many neurodivergent people experience extreme justice sensitivity.

Kids with ADHD tend to have a strong sense of justice, sensitivity, and of course, energy. When they feel wronged, disempowered, or unheard, they can become quite mad.” 

— Dr. Sharon Saline

We’re not “sensitive”, we’re justice warriors.

Maybe we should get capes.

Yep, I’m definitely getting a cape.

7) Postural Sway in ADHD and Autism

I noticed a sudden uptick in conversation about Postural Sway in ADHD and Autistic people, but what does it actually mean, and why is it important to understand?

For one thing, because issues with postural instability and proprioception can have an impact on a person’s quality of life. In some cases, it can interfere with participation in activities and can cause physical pain.

In other cases, it’s more of an inconvenience but still can lead to more frequent injuries and difficulty with coordination.

Postural sway relates to our sense of balance and refers to horizontal movement around our centre of gravity. Postural sway, or postural instability, refers to abnormalities in the way we adjust our body posture in response to changes in our environment in order to maintain our balance.

Postural sway, or postural instability, is a common problem amongst ADHD and Autistic individuals. Postural instability refers to difficulty maintaining equilibrium under both dynamic (changing) and static (unchanging) conditions.

Whatever the reason, I’m certainly glad it came up again, because it gave me an excuse to do some deeper research on the subject.

6) Neurodivergence and the Politics of Self-Control

Neurodivergent people may have more difficulty feeling motivated to complete tasks we do not find enjoyable, and everyday things that neurotypical folks might enjoy are much less interesting for us.

Take small talk, for example.

I hate small talk.

I often find it painfully boring and, frankly, a waste of time. I understand there is a social aspect to exchanging pleasantries and being friendly, but small talk is not friendly to me, it usually feels artificial and performative.

I love deep conversations. I really enjoy intellectual discussion and debate. I can recall many occasions where I was debating an interesting topic with others and people reacted as though I were becoming “too” passionate. I wasn’t angry or getting upset, I was genuinely and enthusiastically enjoying the exchange.

My interactions are genuine. If I show interest, it’s genuine. People don’t have to wonder if I’m being “fake” or second-guess our communications because I’m honest and direct. I may have a poor filter, but isn’t honesty supposed to be a good thing?

Emotional intelligence is touted as an important skill for all to have. In its genuine form, absolutely, it is adaptive to be able to regulate one’s own emotions. Unfortunately, the mainstream propaganda around emotional intelligence is nothing more than monetizing the concept of self-control.

5) Actual ADHD Symptoms the DSM-5 Misses

October was ADHD Awareness Month, and increased awareness and understanding of signs and symptoms has led more people to question whether they might have ADHD.

Unfortunately, there are many who don’t have access to proper assessment or support options, so I aim to make information more accessible.

Many behavioural-based diagnoses are left up to clinical judgement, and clinical judgement comes with… well, judgement. Which means it also comes with biases.

4) Punishing Unwanted Behaviour Just Makes it Worse

(Especially for neurodivergent children) — Based on neuroscience

This article was shared and recommended by Lives in the Balance (Dr. Ross Greene), Mona Delahooke, Ph.D. (Beyond Behaviours), Linda K. Murphy (Declarative Language), (Dr. Laura Markham), and Dr. Lori Desautels (Connections Over Compliance)!

I have read all of their books and was very flattered that they took the time to read and share my writing ❤

When we punish children for behaviour that we don’t like, we cause children additional stress.

The kids who are most often described as being manipulative are those least capable of doing it well.”

— Dr. Ross Greene

Neurodiverse children generally experience increased life stressors in comparison to their neurotypical peers.

Traditional discipline can inadvertently escalate negative behaviours because survival brains cannot process rewards, consequences, or reason.”

— Dr. Lori Desautels

Blaming, shaming, or otherwise punishing a child for stress behaviours can make things worse.

Pain is often misunderstood and seen as intentional disrespect, indifference, or deviant behaviour.” 

— Dr. Lori Desautels

This is especially true if the punishment is inconsistent, unpredictable, or a consequence for something over which the child has little or no control.

It is powerful when we can model an observation of our own mistake and then model how we take responsibility for it.” 

— Linda K. Murphy

When our children feel threatened, they are no longer neurologically capable of accessing their intellect and logic, and neither are adults.

3) How Executive Dysfunction Impacts Daily Life

Executive Functions explained in an understandable and accessible way, and how EFs relate to ADHD, Autism, and other divergent brains.

This was one of my most in-depth and comprehensive articles published to date.

Executive functions enable us to plan for the future, focus our attention, remember instructions or information, and regulate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

While there is no single, accepted definition of executive functions (EFs), most experts agree that EFs are complex, and necessary for executing tasks in the service of accomplishing a goal.

Our Executive Functions are broken into roughly five categories:

1. Inhibition (impulse control, self-regulation)

2. Cognitive flexibility and problem-solving

3. Working memory (hindsight and foresight)

4. Organization and time management

5. Emotion regulation

My article explains executive functions and how they relate to everyday life:

2) I Was Masking For So Long, I Lost Myself

Masking is harmful for neurodivergent people.

Masking is attempting to hide or conceal one’s “undesirable” traits.

Unfortunately the neurotypical majority are the ones who define what desirable is in the first place, leaving the rest of us to be made to feel as though there is something wrong with us, and that we must conform to fit in.

As a result, we neurodivergent people are expected to suppress anything about ourselves that doesn’t fit within the norm, in order to make the majority feel more comfortable. When ND people experience repeated rejection, correction, and criticisms, we learn to adapt and hide those parts of ourselves to avoid those painful experiences.

Many neurodivergent traits are what make people unique, allowing us to think about things differently and therefore come up with different ideas and bring new perspectives. We need ND brains, ND perspectives, and ND ideas.

A lot of ND “behaviours” actually reduce anxiety. Some just make us happy. So if it doesn’t harm anyone and just seems a little “strange”, perhaps it’s those who are so worried about someone being different that need to change their thinking & behaviour?

Cause, neurotypical people: we’ve tried it your way, and your way sucks. It hasn’t done any of us any good, in fact quite the opposite. So maybe step back and let us be the experts on ourselves, m-kay?


And last but not least…

1) Research Shows What People With ADHD Have Been Saying For Years

(Thanks for catching up, academia)

What the neurodivergent community has been trying to explain to the general population for decades — at least they’re beginning to catch up.

About The Author

About Me — JillianAllow me to introduce myself: The Coles Notes

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Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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