My Top Articles of 2022 Thus Far


In celebration of reaching three thousand followers on Medium

Thank you, fellow Medium readers and writers, for supporting my writing.

In celebration of reaching 3 thousand followers this week, I have compiled my 10 most popular articles for January and February 2022 to make them easier to find.

I’ve also added to each of them, so there will be new information to discover and new content to enjoy.


Children are not mini adults

Some try to justify the use of punishment and rewards to gain compliance from children by claiming that we do the same to adults when they go to work.

These are not the same thing, and we need to stop comparing apples to oranges. Children are developmentally different from adults, have fewer choices and control over their lives, and also have less life experience.


Communication differences are not deficits

Cultural and communication differences: Thinking about neurodiverse people as a cultural group, rather than as disabled by our neurotype.

Many Autistics are treated as though they are “less than”, or at least highly deficient when it comes to social skills. That is only because of the neuronormative view of social skills, meaning the assumption that the statistical majority are superior to the neurominority.

Many Autistics are, in fact, excellent communicators. We are often direct, to the point, honest, even blunt. This may be off-putting to those who like to speak in code, subtleties, and dance around the actual meaning of their message, but that doesn’t mean the neurotypical way of communicating is better.

In fact, I’d wager that neurotypicals have more misunderstandings with each other as a result.

When we accept the fact that we have different communication styles, and then we each do our best to meet the other person halfway, we learn about each other and how to best facilitate effective communication.


ADHD is not a disease

Can you develop ADHD?

You get the brain you’re born with… (sort of). Our life experiences certainly shape the way our brains develop and can impact traits and symptoms to which we are predisposed.

That said, ADHD is one of the most heritable neurodevelopmental disorders, with an estimated heritability rate of 75–80%. It’s something we are born with, but we may not notice symptoms or be identified until such that our life circumstances make our ADHD traits more apparent.

It is very possible for symptoms to go unnoticed for a long period of time, making it feel like ADHD just sprung up out of nowhere.

So… Can you develop ADHD?


Emotional dysregulation is not always pathological

Our emotions are natural and necessary human responses.

I was doing research for another article and trying to find a scientific definition of emotional dysregulation. Instead, what I found was a series of peer-reviewed sources pathologizing intense emotions.

Why are we, in North American culture especially (but in others, I’m sure), so darn obsessed with self-control and not showing our emotions?

“…a lack of self-control isn’t always a bad thing because it may provide the basis for spontaneity, flexibility, expressions of interpersonal warmth, openness to experience, and creativity.”

— Jack Block

ADHD in women and girls

ADHD in Women and Girls: But really, externalizing versus internalizing symptoms of ADHD.

There’s actually no such thing as “girl” ADHD or “boy” ADHD, and in fact, many people find the division by gender, or by internalizing versus externalizing traits, unhelpful.

This makes sense, given that we all experience ADHD differently, and we’ll all have a combination of both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, some of us will just be more predominantly one or the other.

Even given that, whether our symptoms are primarily internalized or externalized will also depend on the context, our mood or mental health at the time, and the environment in which we find ourselves.

The DSM-5 criteria for ADHD is primarily based on external, behavioural symptoms observed in male-presenting white children. This can make it much more difficult for those who have what is (erroneously) viewed as “female” ADHD to receive an accurate diagnosis and effective supports or accommodations.


We all need accommodations to thrive

Some accommodations are normalized while others are pathologized.

When I wrote this story, I had just read an article arguing that highly sensitive people (HSP) and autistic people are not the same.

The article then went on to describe all the ways in which they are, in fact, The. Same. Thing.


What is emotional co-regulation?

Exploring and explaining emotional co-regulation: Co-regulation is essential for any relationship, especially the parent-child relationship.

We provide co-regulation for a distressed loved one when our tone, body language, facial expressions, and words all convey calm, comfort, and safety.


What is scripting, and why is it important for autistic people?

I had another “Ah-ha!” moment.

Alternatively, a “duh, why didn’t I realize that sooner?” moment that turned it to a “why the hell do neurotypicals want to stop autistic people from doing anything we enjoy or that feels good to us?” moment.

Scripting is repeating back speech, or using lines that we have heard or read in other places.

Many Autistics use scripting to help with unfamiliar social situations, to communicate information when we’re not sure how else to do so, or as part of masking when trying to fit in.


Since O.D.D. doesn’t exist…

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (O.D.D.) doesn’t exist, but children needing connection do.

To fellow parents who have struggled and continue to struggle, I see you. Explaining how and why O.D.D. is a B.S. diagnosis does not mean our children don’t have extremely challenging behaviours. It does not mean our children’s concerning behaviours are all our fault. Not in the least.

What it does mean is that labelling our children with this B.S. diagnosis distracts and detracts from finding and providing the support our children truly need.

We also can’t pass challenging behaviours off as something wrong with our children, because it’s definitely not that either.

We can’t be perfect, and neither can they.


And, last but not least, my most popular article of January and February 2022 (so far) was… ADHD & autistic assets.

ADHD and autistic assets

The strengths and gifts of divergent minds

So much of the literature on ADHD and autism focuses on our deficits, painting us as “disordered”, pathologizing our very existence.

Yes, neurodiverse people struggle, as do neurotypical people. We also have a lot of strengths, gifts, and positive qualities.

Some (of the many) strengths of ADHD and Autistic people are resilience, energy, humanity, sensory sensitivities, hyperfocus, creativity, transcendence, and attention to detail. I describe them in my article in detail, along with some real-life examples.


For those who made it this far, I have something in the works that I am hoping I can share publicly very soon, so stay tuned!


When you join medium, as a member you’ll have access to unlimited reads for only $5 per month. If you use my referral link, I’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll earn my undying gratitude.


References

Block, J. (2002). Personality as an Affect-processing System: Toward An Integrative Theory (1st ed.). Psychology Press. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410602466

Faraone, S.V., & Larsson, H. (2019). Genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Molecular Psychiatry 24, 562–575. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0070-0

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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