Echolalia Is Not “Meaningless” Speech


Why you should never try to stop or “treat” echolalia, especially in Autistic people

W‌hat is Echolalia?

Echolalia is the repetition or echoing of words or sounds that you hear someone else say.

Echolalia is an important part of language development for all children, and one of the ways children learn how to communicate verbally.

Autistics often use echolalia much more often than non-autistic people, and often continue using it in adulthood. This is partly because our language development can differ significantly from that of allistic (non-autistic) children.

Repeating, or “echoing” speech we’ve heard can be a stim, or a form of communication when we’re not sure how to convey what we want to say in our own words.


An important note

It’s also very important to note that echolalic speech may not always be a direct or accurate representation of what someone is trying to communicate. With verbal tics or disinhibition, a person may say one thing, but actually mean something else.

It’s important to know the person and provide various forms of communication to help reduce frustration, misunderstanding, and miscommunication.


Echolalia can be an important way to:

  • Communicate something we don’t know how to express otherwise
  • Reduce anxiety and mentally prepare for an unfamiliar situation
  • Engage socially and facilitate communication
  • Engage in repetitive behaviour as a form of self-regulation
  • Take time to process and think about something that was said

When you’re upset or anxious, what are some behaviours you perform in order to self-soothe, calm down, or self-regulate?

Some people tap their fingers or foot, some pace back and forth, some mutter or hum to themselves. Ever wonder why these are such common stress-induced (as well as stress-reducing) behaviours? This is, in large part, because they’re repetitive, which makes them soothing.

What about when you encounter a confusing question or difficult problem — perhaps a challenging question on an exam, a tricky bit of trivia, trying to solve a complex problem, or follow confusing directions?

Often people repeat the information out loud to help sort through it in their mind, to process what they’re reading or hearing, and try to make sense of it. This can be yet another benefit of echolalia.


Pathologizing helpful behaviours

Whereas repetitive thoughts (such as rumination) in those with OCD and depression tend to increase stress and anxiety, Autistic perseveration has been shown to reduce the incidence of depression, and to partially mediate symptoms of rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD).

Yet if you search online for Autistic echolalia, you will be met with a slew of articles calling echolalia “meaningless speech”, replete with advice for parents and clinicians about how to “treat” echolalia in autistic children.

Children engage in echolalic speech as part of language development, self-regulation, and self-talk. Self-talk is a way of processing our thoughts and feelings out-loud. It can help us regulate our emotions or behaviour, and make sense of events and thoughts.

Do you still catch yourself talking to yourself out loud when you’re under stress? If you’re looking for something and can’t find it, do you talk yourself through your last steps out loud? Do you sometimes mutter to yourself when you’re upset or confused?

Do you repeat words out loud to yourself when you’re trying to remember an important message? Do you repeat the lyrics to your favourite song over and over again? Echolalia can be an important tool for learning and memory, and it can also be fun.

While allistic adults may not engage in speech as repetitive as that of Autistics, and generally out-grow speaking to themselves out loud, allistic adults still do this upon occasion, largely because it is helpful.


Pick your battles

Believe it or not, we don’t actually need to pathologize, diagnose, manage, and “treat” every single behaviour that doesn’t meet with the neurotypical (NT) majority’s approval.

A behaviour that seems a bit odd to you may be incredibly helpful to another. If we stopped trying to turn everybody into a NT person and started genuinely valuing differences in one another, we might recognize this.

More people could stim freely without being bullied, ostracized, or treated like a criminal. Autistic children and adults could more effectively utilize echolalia as a form of language development, communication, and self-regulation, rather than having an important tool punished or “modified” away.

If someone’s behaviour does not cause harm or put anyone at risk, and may even be helpful, then just leave them alone.

If they’re an important person in your life, develop a stronger connection with them and get to know them better. When you make an effort to understand them, you’ll learn to appreciate their unique abilities instead of forcing them to conform.

If they’re not someone whose behaviour has any impact on you whatsoever, then mind your business, it’s as simple as that.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


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.


Related Stories

Why Scripting is Important for Autistics

Autistic Mirroring, Masking, & “Unstable Personality”

Stimminy Cricket: Everybody Stims


References

Keenan, E. G., Gotham, K., & Lerner, M. D. (2018). Hooked on a feeling: Repetitive cognition and internalizing symptomatology in relation to autism spectrum symptomatology. Autism : the international journal of research and practice, 22(7), 814–824. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361317709603

Patra K. P., & De Jesus, O. (2021). Echolalia. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. PMID: 33351445. https://europepmc.org/article/nbk/nbk565908

What Inclusive Education Really Means


What inclusive education really means to neurodivergent and disabled students

Since our Minister of Education didn’t bother to ask disabled students and their families for their input, I decided to do it for them.

The following is a compilation of comments from Manitoban parents whose children live with disabilities and are currently in public school. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we will continue to add to it as we receive additional comments and feedback from community members.


What “Inclusive Education” REALLY means to Parents of Children with Disabilities:

  • School staff need to do a better job of risk assessment (and acceptance), teaching children how to do their own risk assessments, and allowing elements of risky play with reasonable boundaries. Schools are overly concerned with forbidding and banning certain activities because of the (usually low) risk of injury, thus robbing children of opportunities to self-monitor, learn to assess situations for themselves, and to develop skills to manage and mitigate their own risks.
  • Each school division and each school needs to identify the barriers and hurdles that they have put in their system that are causing special needs students to struggle and not succeed.
  • Parents are tired of constantly trying to change a system that isn’t interested in change and instead puts up barriers that the parents always need to identify. It’s about time that they do their own inventory.
  • Schools can be incredibly rigid in needing to apply rules consistently to everyone, “no matter what”. Instead, school staff could set an example of flexible thinking and being accommodating. We can teach our students that everyone has different needs, and equity isn’t always the same as equality. This way, children won’t always expect everything to be equal because they will understand that what helps or hinders one person is not the same as what helps or hinders another.
  • Adults are often preaching to children about having a flexible mindset and about adapting to change, yet school staff tend to be incredibly resistant to change and administrators and policy-writers tend to have very fixed mindsets.
  • The learning environment should adapt to the needs of its diverse students, rather than always expecting children to adapt based on the rigid, out-dated expectations of the school (both physical environment and pedagogy).
  • Teachers, resource teachers, principals all well trained in Executive Functioning skill development, including emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, time management, and organizational structures. This would not only benefit kids with ADHD or other Executive Functioning disabilities, but all kids!
  • Increased occupational therapy and behaviour specialist support staff for educators.
  • Accountability for all school staff to be required to follow student IEP/SSPs and clinical recommendations. For example, any instructions from a school psychologist, guidance counsellor, social worker, behaviour specialist, occupational therapist, other expert, etc. must be followed and strategies implemented.
  • If there are not enough resources to follow the recommendations, then the division must provide them, or make an application to the provincial government so that expert recommendations can be followed.
  • More classroom teachers and resource teachers to allow children to grow and thrive in a school setting for more than a few hours a day.
  • Greater focus on emotional and social skills in the classroom: more than just an hour per week with the guidance counsellor learning the Zones of Regulation, or Fixed vs. Flexible Mindset. This needs to be integrated into the daily routine of classrooms and students need to be supported emotionally and socially first, before they will be effective learners.
  • More training for all school staff in best practices for supporting students with special needs, as well as what proper accommodations look like in public schools on a day-to-day basis.
  • Training on compassionate and effective communication for school administrators.
  • Training for school staff on how to prevent and deal with bullying in schools.
  • Child-centred and evidence-based training for supporting students with challenging behaviours, such as the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model (Greene, 2008).
  • Believing children when they are sharing their perspective and concerns. Taking their point of view seriously and truly working to understand their experience. Teaching children to advocate for themselves, and then listening to them when they do.
  • Truly understanding that unwanted behaviours are not malicious or intentional, they are a form of communication. School staff need to be trained in seeing beyond the surface behaviour and looking for underlying reasons, triggers, and causes. It should never be acceptable for any adult to blame and shame a child for behaviour that they cannot control. It is the adults’ responsibility to teach children strategies for managing emotions, and coping with adversity.
  • Inclusion must be an all-encompassing attitude and culture where allpersons are valued and their needs met.
  • Truly educating all about what inclusive education means and what it is. Parents and caregivers of both disabled and non-disabled children need to be educated about neurodiversity and disabilities so that they can raise well-informed children who are inclusive and welcoming to all.
  • Inclusive schools, classrooms, and curriculum planning should be required courses for ALL teachers and all school staff, these should not only be mandatory for those specializing in special education. Education programs and professional development should normalize and demand inclusion practices for all, not just specialists.
  • School divisions should only hire trained professionals, including Educational Assistants (EAs), which means divisions need better funding in order to better pay school support staff.
  • Some divisions hire parents and caregivers, or people wanting to go into education, but have zero training in supporting children with disabilities.
  • This is particularly true during recess and lunch times, when EAs or lunch room volunteers are the primary supervisors. These times are unstructured and can be loud and stressful for many children, especially students with disabilities, yet they are the time when the least number of trained staff are available.

“Many parents feel frustrated when support personnel handle the most stressful parts of their child’s day, leading to uninformed discipline decisions. Whether the EAs are staff employees or parent volunteers, they should be educated to support all students.” 

— Kelly Hirt
  • Students need better consistency with their EAs. Schools and divisions should make best efforts to keep the same EAs with the same students, and a student should work with the same EA for most of their school day. If an EA and a student have developed a good working relationship, they should be able to continue working together.
  • However, if the relationship is struggling, then the EA and student need full support to improve the relationship, the EA needs better training to better support that student, or the student needs an EA who can more effectively support them.
  • Schools need to be transparent and communicate openly and regularly with families. Caregivers need to be kept up to date on any issues at the school and whether an EA that works with their child is either being provided with additional supports and training, or whether they are considering having a different adult support their child.
  • School administrators should be responsible for spotting issues or concerns, notifying staff and students (if appropriate) involved, notifying families, and then initiating a plan for problem-solving.
  • If something isn’t working, they need to acknowledge this and sit down with their team of experts to find a better way, not wait until a parent complains, or hope that the problem goes away on its own.
  • Good policies are only effective if they are practiced, and this can only happen when divisions and schools are provided the resources to see them through.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we will continue to add to it as we receive additional comments and feedback from community members.


Related stories

February Is Inclusive Education Month

Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms


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

Greene, R. W. (2008). Lost at school: Why our kids with behavioral challenges are falling through the cracks and how we can help them. New York: Scribner.

Hirt, Kelly. (2018). Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children. GFH Press.

Autistic And ADHD Differences


Comparing ADHD vs Autism

How they are similar and how to tell them apart

There are many similarities and overlapping traits between ADHD and Autism, to the point where sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference. Each person’s experience will be different, but I’ll outline some of the similarities and highlight the differences.

While ADHD and Autism have a lot of similarities, many of the traits which seem the same have very different underlying contributing factors.

It’s important to note, however, that many people (like me) are both Autistic and ADHD (AuDHD), and so factors from one can influence the other.


Social differences

Many Autistics and people with ADHD experience social challenges, primarily because we’re in the neurominority, and our social structures have developed with only neurotypicals in mind.

The Social Model of Disability


Eye contact

People with ADHD may struggle with making eye contact, but this is usually related to difficulty regulating our attention, and being distracted by extraneous stimuli.

People with ADHD are extremely observant and many of us are scanning our environment, noticing things that others don’t. For example, if I’m sitting having coffee with my husband in a coffee shop, I may not be making eye contact because I’m observing everything going on around me.

I’ll pick up on how each customer is treating the staff based on body language and facial expressions, how tired and overworked the young staff-persons look, that guy who just cut in line and doesn’t think anyone saw…

Meanwhile a neurotypical (NT) person may simply be tuning out the sights and sounds around them, focusing on the conversation and the person in front of them. Divergent brains have a much harder time filtering out extraneous stimuli.

For Autistics, it can be physically uncomfortable, even painful, to make prolonged eye-contact. This is not a hard-and-fast rule however, Autistics are individuals, and our neurotype will look different in each person.

Created by author

Social anxiety

Both Autistics and ADHDers may experience social anxiety due to repeated negative experiences. For those with ADHD it may come from impulsivity, worrying about doing something without thinking, and then later regretting it.

For Autistics it may come from communication differences and the fact that a lot of spaces are not Autistic-friendly. Our needs, such as sensory sensitivities, usually not considered. We may also become overwhelmed by crowds and need quiet downtime to recover from socializing.

Created by author

Executive functioning

Nearly all neurodivergent people struggle with executive functioning. This includes mental tasks such as:

  1. Inhibition (impulse control)
  2. Working memory (short-term memory)
  3. Planning, organization, and time management
  4. Emotional regulation (self-regulation and dysregulation)
  5. Cognitive rigidity (mental flexibility)

Routine

Part of mental flexibility is the ability to adapt to changes. Those of us who struggle with rigid thinking patterns can really get thrown off by unexpected changes or roadblocks.

Whereas ADHDers benefit from schedules and routine, we can easily become bored with repetition. A lot of ADHDers enjoy spontaneity and novelty, while also finding predictability helpful. We’re enigmas!

In contrast, a lot of Autistics struggle with unexpected changes, or when something doesn’t go as planned, due to cognitive rigidity. We can have a really difficult time “going with the flow” and can become highly anxious or overwhelmed when things don’t go how we were expecting.

Created by author

Hyperfocus and special interests

Hyperfocus and special interests are two different things which are often conflated.

Hyperfocus also stems from cognitive rigidity, wherein we have difficulty transitioning from one task to another. If we become engrossed in an activity or project, we can lose all track of time, even forgetting to eat and drink.

ADHDers tend to get really excited about something, do all the research, gather all the materials, and then lose interest partway. We often have a number of incomplete projects we just couldn’t finish.

Created by author

Both ADHDers and Autistics can experience hyperfocus, but it is not the same as a special interest.

Special interests are topics or activities that a person finds so intensely fascinating and enjoyable they seek to learn everything they possibly can about it. A lot of Autistics have a special interest, something we love and are incredibly knowledgeable about (can you guess what mine is?).

Created by author

Emotional regulation

Many neurodivergent people struggle with emotional regulation. There are many reasons for this. Autistics and ADHDers are more likely to experience discrimination, social rejection, and trauma — all of which can have an impact on how we perceive, process, and express emotions.

Our brains are also wired differently, so we are already neurologically set up to experience and respond to the world differently from others.

Created by author

ADHDers and Autistics both often experience intense emotions. However, it’s very important to note that impulsive emotional reactions are much different from meltdowns.

ADHDers are more likely to respond impulsively to uncomfortable and distressing emotions. Autistics can struggle with intense emotions and impulsivity too, however we can also experience such a high degree of distress that we become completely overwhelmed.

This is often referred to as a “meltdown”, or a nervous system overload. When a person gets to this state of extreme dysregulation, they are no longer fully in control. Their survival instincts are taking over and the reasoning part of their brain is unaccessible until they feel safe again.

Created by author

Motor differences

ADHDers are more likely to struggle with fine motor skills, whereas Autistics are more likely to struggle with gross motor skills — again, that’s not to say Autistics don’t struggle with fine motor or ADHDers don’t struggle with gross motor — this is just a generality and there are always individual differences.

People with ADHD are more likely to have co-occurring dysgraphia and other fine-motor skill issues. Autistics are also highly represented in people with dysgraphia, but more than 90% of ADHDers have weaknesses in our fine motor skills.

Autistics are more likely to have developmental coordination disorder (DCD — also called dyspraxia), as well as hypermobility spectrum disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

Many Autistics and ADHDers struggle with interoception as well as proprioception. Interoception is the way we perceive and interpret the messages sent from within our bodies (such as thirst and hunger). Proprioception gives us awareness of where our body is in space, and in relation to other objects.


Stimming vs fidgeting

ADHDers and Autistics also have different ways of moving our bodies and experiencing the world. ADHDers are more likely to fidget, moving our bodies in ways that help us focus and pay attention.

Autistics are more likely to stim, ways of moving our bodies that help with self-regulation and can also be very enjoyable.

Created by author

More similarities than differences

The more we are learning about Autistic and ADHD brains, the more we are finding significant overlap between the two neurotypes.

Just like anything as complex as human neurology, there exists an incredibly wide spectrum of traits and individual experiences. Those of us who are AuDHD (Autistic and ADHD both) may have an even harder time differentiating our ADHD characteristics from the Autistic traits, but perhaps it doesn’t really matter.

This is also one reason why many people prefer the umbrella term Neurodivergent (ND), which simply refers to anyone whose neurology differs from the statistical ‘norm’, or majority.

Whatever terminology you prefer, don’t forget about the many assets and strengths that also come with having a uniquely wired brain.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


Related articles

My ADHD Brain and Autistic Brain Are Not Friends

ADHD: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Impulsivity: It’s A Neurodivergent Thing


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook!


References

Bos, D. J., Dobos, D., Oranje, B., & Durston, S. (2020, November 10). Overlapping symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders: more similarities than differences. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/7xspg

Lau-Zhu, A., Fritz, A., & McLoughlin, G. (2019). Overlaps and distinctions between attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder in young adulthood: Systematic review and guiding framework for EEG-imaging research. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 96, 93–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.10.009

Lum, J.A.G., Shandley, K., Albein-Urios, N., Kirkovski, M., Papadopoulos, N., Wilson, R.B., Enticott, P.G. and Rinehart, N.J. (2021). Meta-Analysis Reveals Gait Anomalies in Autism. Autism Research, 14, 733–747. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2443

Mayes, S. D., Breaux, R. P., Calhoun, S. L., & Frye, S. S. (2019). High Prevalence of Dysgraphia in Elementary Through High School Students With ADHD and Autism. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(8), 787–796. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054717720721

Valagussa, G., Trentin, L., Signori, A. and Grossi, E. (2018). Toe Walking Assessment in Autism Spectrum Disorder Subjects: A Systematic Review. Autism Research, 11, 1404–1415. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2009

Alternatives To Behaviour Therapies


Alternatives to ABA therapy, as well as PTMB, PBIS, and all of its cousins

Alternatives to ABA Therapy

There is a significant gap in the knowledge

Learning one’s child is Autistic can bring about so many different emotions and reactions. One common experience is feeling very lost and not knowing what to do, or where to go for support.

If a parent has never (knowingly) met an Autistic person before, their understanding of autism is likely limited to stereotypical representations in popular media.

Often psychologists, doctors, and other clinicians have a generic handout — perhaps a pamphlet, or printed sheet with a list of resources, resources which that professional has likely not checked out for themselves.

It’s difficult enough to find a professional who understands autism, it’s even more challenging to find a clinician who is neurodiversity-affirming, meaning they do not operate with a pathologizing view of autism.

Too often, the clinician provides the diagnosis, gives a deficits-based description of autism, then hands the parent a printout and encourages them to start contacting therapists right away. The most commonly recommended therapy is applied behaviour analysis (ABA).

In brief, ABA is very similar to dog training. There are particular goal behaviours, behaviours which are usually unnatural and uncomfortable for the Autistic child, behaviours which are intended to make them appear less Autistic.

The ABA practitioner uses rewards and consequences to “shape” those behaviours, essentially training the Autistic child to try and behave more like neurotypical children.


Why would clinicians recommend ABA if it’s harmful?

There are a few reasons. One, this is how they are trained. They are trained using a deficits model, and they are taught that ABA is the “gold standard” of treatment for autism (yes, they use the word treatment, as though autism were an illness, rather than a neurotype).

Secondly, the ABA industry is too large and too well funded to leave much room for other, more person-centred, approaches. It’s ubiquitous, pervasive, and inescapable for anyone in the Autistic community.

Most clinicians have no idea what they are actually recommending when they encourage parents to enrol their children in countless hours of ABA and behaviourism-based therapies.

Those clinicians, and those unsuspecting parents, have no idea of the harm these therapies have caused many Autistic children, trauma which has lasted well into adulthood for many.

I understand parents what to do what’s best for their children. When we are in a very vulnerable place, feeling completely lost, not knowing what to do next, we rely on those experts to give us good advice.

We expect they will have our children’s best interests at heart — and they may — unfortunately, they often make these recommendations with very limited knowledge about what they are actually suggesting.

I want to offer a variety of alternatives to ABA therapy which are more child-centred and respectful of your child’s individuality and autonomy. If you have received similar advice to that mentioned above, and it doesn’t sit right with you, I promise there are better options.

I will name some of them here.

I’ll list common challenges caregivers experience when caring for Autistic children — and the hardships those children are experiencing — and list some alternative options for pursuing support.


Emotional dysregulation

Challenging behaviours

Sensory issues

Communication

  • Offer, teach, and engage with various modes of communication.
  • This may include speech, text, AAC, sign language, writing, body language, art — whatever best meet’s the individual’s needs.

Love & acceptance

Love and accept your child for exactly who they are right now.

Listen to Autistics!

When Autistic people are trying to express how and why ABA is harmful, or trying to share their personal experiences, listen.

Our lived experiences are more valuable than textbooks written by neurotypical academics.


How do you find Autistic adults to learn from?

There are a lot of resources out there created by Autistic adults, so please investigate those before asking for Autistics to give you free emotional labour — some people are more than happy to, whereas for others this can be emotionally and psychologically draining.

Some helpful resources:
  • Online support groups — I highly recommend choosing the ones run by Autistics, where Autistic experiences are centred, and allistic (non-Autistic) members are there to learn, not talk over Autistics.
  • Social media pages run by Autistic self-advocates. Again, the idea is for allistics to follow, read, and learn.
  • Books about autism, preferably those written by Autistic parents of Autistic children. I promise, there are a lot more than you may think! There are also many parenting books written by both Autistic and allistic authors which are child-centred and support our children’s autonomy.
  • The Autistic community. Check for local Autistic meet-ups or supportive and affirming organizations. It’s so important for Autistic children to meet Autistic adults, and for Autistic children to have neurodivergent friends.

Community is also incredibly important for parents. This journey can feel very lonely sometimes, and finding other parents who get it is invaluable.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


You can find this list in the form of a free handout, alongside many other printable resources, available for purchase on my website.


Related Articles

Finding Neurodiversity-Affirming Support

My Anti-Behaviourism Series

“I Think My Child Might Be Autistic Or ADHD… What Do I Do?”


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn!


Learn more

The Significance Of The Neurodiversity Movement

My Favourite Books About Autism

Explaining Autism to Kids


References

Ashburn, M., & Edwards, J. (2023). I Will Die On This Hill: Autistic adults, autism parents, and the children who deserve a better world. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Broderick, A. (2022). The Autism Industrial Complex: How branding, marketing, and capital investment turned autism into big business. Myers Education Press.


Neurodiversity-related Terminology

Created by author

Setting Up Chill Zones And Calming Corners


Creating safe and effective regulation spaces at home and in the classroom


What is a regulation space?

A regulation space — also sometimes called a zen zone, chill zone, sensory space, or calming corner — is a safe and quiet area where a person can go to regulate (i.e. “calm down”) when they are feeling overwhelmed.

Created by author

Important Notes for Adults

  • There are no “good” or “bad” feelings, all feelings are important signals to us about what we are experiencing.
  • Regulation is important so our emotions don’t overtake us, and our behaviour does not cause harm to ourselves or others.
  • A chill zone or calming area should never be used as a threat, punishment, or rejection of a child.
  • It is intended to provide a calm, quiet space for a child to seek support and develop emotional self-regulation skills.

Items you might include in a calming area:

  • Sensory items and fidget tools
  • Stuffies, comfort items
  • Weighted blanket
  • Books, puzzles, lego
  • Ear protection (i.e. ear defenders or noise-cancelling headphones)
  • Soft music (or whatever music the child prefers)
  • Paper or a notebook for drawing or driving
  • A tent, or light blankets to make a fort
  • Mindfulness and/or meditation recordings (there are many available as free apps)
Photo by author

Adapting a regulation space for the classroom

As mentioned, a calming corner or chill zone should never be used as a threat, punishment, or rejection of a child. Students should never be forced to go there, nor sent there as a consequence or for a “time out”.

Ideally, this space should be available right in the classroom, so students do not have to leave to go there. This makes it easier for both staff and students, so children don’t have to ask permission to go, and it doesn’t feel like they’re being sent away because they’re upset.

Understanding that space and budgets are limited, the space should offer some privacy without isolating the child. One could put up a divider between the classroom and the calming area, as some children need a reduction in visual stimulation, and some want privacy when feeling dysregulated.

Photo credit: Crystal Radke

Classroom calming corners can include:

  • Comfortable seating such as a bean bag chair or cushion
  • A basket of sensory items, stress balls, and fidget tools
  • A basket of stuffed animals or comfort items
  • Visual sensory items such as a toy aquarium, child-safe “lava lamp”, or glitter wand
  • Books, puzzles, lego
  • Notebooks, paper, crayons, other art supplies
  • Images of the different ways our emotions can feel in our bodies (interoception)
  • A weighted blanket or lap desk
  • Ear protection (i.e. ear defenders or noise-cancelling headphones)

Teaching opportunities

Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions. Our feelings are not inherently good or bad, they are signals from our bodies communicating something important, therefore it’s important we learn to listen to our bodies and what they are telling us.

This is why it’s also imperative we do not inadvertently send the message to children that certain feelings are acceptable and others are not.

Created by author

Using regulation spaces effectively means:

  • Teaching your students about the space, about the different options available, and how to use them
  • Children cannot learn to effectively self-regulate until they’ve experienced co-regulation, and until they’ve been taught skills and strategies for doing so
  • Validating the child’s experiences
  • Helping the child notice and identify the feelings in their body associated with different emotions
  • Providing a wide range of tools and strategies so students can explore and experiment to find which ones work best for them
  • Offering empathy, comfort, and co-regulation, rather than punishment, consequences, and rejection
  • They are not a time-out space. An adult can offer, asking if the child would like to try one of the options available, but it must always be the student’s choice
  • Adults should role-model self-regulation strategies for the children, as this is one of the most effective ways children can learn how to use these skills for themselves
Created by author

Speaking of role-modelling

If you struggle with emotional regulation yourself (or even if you don’t, really), you can set up a calming area for yourself as well. I am not being patronizing, I’m serious. I have one for me at home.

If we were never taught these strategies growing up, how can we be expected to teach and role-model them for our children? It’s never too late to learn and practice new skills, and it genuinely feels better when we’re in tune with ourselves and our emotions are better regulated.


It’s worth the time and effort

As a parent, and someone who has worked in schools, I understand the limits on our time, resources, even our patience (we’re all human!). My consolation for the time and effort put into creating these spaces and practicing these strategies is they pay off big time, in many different ways.

When children learn how to recognize their emotions, they are more prepared to try various strategies for self-regulation. When they better understand their own bodies and feelings, they develop greater self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Most importantly, when we all (adults, teens, children, everyone!) improve our emotional regulation skills, we also improve our mental health. Our children will feel better about themselves and each other.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook!


Related Articles

Recognizing How Emotions Feel Physically In Our Bodies

Giving Your Child A Voice

The Best Books About Emotional Regulation

Exploring Emotional Co-Regulation

Keeping Our Cool With Our Loved Ones


Even more resources!

Check out my online shop for a downloadable package to help you get started with your very own chill zone in your home or classroom.

The 3 Best Autistic-Led Books This Year


It’s only January, and I have already read three amazing books by (and with) Autistic authors

What a year for Autistic Authors already!

I am so excited about all of the incredible books that have been published, and are soon-to-be published, by Autistic authors.

I am sure I will miss some, and for that I apologize in advance — these are the books which have stood out most for me, and have been incredibly relatable to my own personal journeys of parenting and self-discovery.

Here I review my three favourite books by Autistic authors, all published within the past four months. One was technically released in October 2022, but books which are released in the U.S. and U.K. often take a long time to make it to Canada.

So without further ado, here are my reading recommendations.


What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic, by Annie Kotowicz

As a fellow late-identified Autistic woman, this is the book I needed just when I needed it. The precision and elegance with which Annie describes her experiences are beautiful in their complexity and specificity at once.

I identified with about 90% of the book, and the other 10% will help me better understand my son and other Autistics in my life. I highly recommend this book for fellow Autistics, as well as anyone who has an Autistic loved one or close friend.


Your Child Is Not Broken, by Heidi Mavir

This book is honest, hilarious, and REAL. I loved this book. Heidi Mavir is funny AF. She writes with no B.S. and doesn’t hold back.

Parents of Autistic and neurodivergent kids will relate so hard to her experiences and will feel less alone after reading this. You may cry, you will laugh, and you will learn.


I Will Die On This Hill

Co-written by Meghan Ashburn and Jules Edwards, this is the book the Autistic parent and “Autism mom” communities have been needing so badly.

Our community, like any, has divisions.

On one side, we have well-meaning parents who have been fed misinformation by people they trust, like doctors, psychologists, and educators.

On the other, we have Actually Autistic adults trying to counter that misinformation and educate parents in efforts to advocate on behalf of Autistic children.

Meghan Ashburn is an allistic parent to Autistic children who has learned (sometimes the hard way) to listen to Autistic adults and to use her privilege to lift up the voices of Autistics.

Jules Edwards writes from an intersectional lens as an Indigenous Autistic parent of Autistic children. White Autistics who have struggled to understand and empathize with people from communities more marginalized than our own (Black and Brown Autistics, for example), should absolutely read this book, paying careful attention to Jules’ messages.

This book is transformative. It’s honest, raw, and should be in the hands of every single parent of Autistic children, regardless of whether that parent is Autistic or allistic.


Honourable mentions from 2022

Unmasking Autism, by Devon Price

Unmasking Autism describes Dr. Devon Price’s personal experience with masking; blending history, social science research, prescriptions, and personal profiles to tell a story of neurodivergence that has thus far been dominated by those on the outside looking in.

Dr. Price’s book inspired one of my articles about masking.

Image created by author

Standing Up For Myself, by Evaleen Whelton

The Autism and Neurodiversity Self Advocacy Handbook
Co-written by Barb Cook and Yenn Purkis

Workplace Neurodiversity Rising, by Lyric Rivera

The Awesome Autistic Guide for Trans Teens
Co-written by Yenn Purkis and Sam Rose


Coming soon!

(but not soon enough)

Image created by author

A Day With No Words, by Tiffany Hammond

Un-Typical, by Pete Wharmby

Different, Not Less, by Chloé Hayden


Related Articles

Autistic Mirroring, Masking, & “Unstable Personality”

The “Autistic Divide”

My Favourite Books About Autism


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Helping Our Kids Get (a little) More Organized


Tips for teaching children to keep their rooms tidy — or at least less messy

“My kid can’t keep their room clean for five minutes!”

I’ve read comments like these online and have heard them directly from parents so many times. Exasperated, they ask me, “why can’t they just clean their room when I ask them?!”

I’ll provide some strategies to help make this easier for everyone, but first, I want to clarify a few things.


Kids do not share our priorities

Nor are they supposed to. Children do not have to care about the same things we do. They’re kids and we’re adults. Our brains and our lives are very different.

It’s developmentally appropriate for children to care more about playing outside with their friends or playing video games than about cleaning their room.

While we need to help our children learn to take responsibility (at an age-appropriate level), the real job of childhood is to play and have fun.

Let’s remember that because we all forget sometimes (myself included!) when we’re staring at the disaster that is our child’s room, not 24 hours after we did a major clean-up for them because we couldn’t stand looking at the mess anymore!

The Simpsons created by Matt Groening — (image created by author)

If we’re overwhelmed, they’re even more so

We may lose patience because we’ve asked our kids eleventy-billion times to stop throwing their coat on the floor — that’s what the coat hooks are for! We may feel overwhelmed when we look at their bedrooms and play areas and see an unremitting sea of stuff. The mess has been building up and now we don’t even know where to start.

That’s exactly how our kids feel — but with immature neurodevelopment, because they’re kids. When we see a pile of dishes and groan, feeling like it’s going to take forever to wash them, we know this isn’t true. It may feel like a slog, but it will eventually be done, and we’ll appreciate having a cleaner kitchen at the end of it.

These mental processes require a level of forethought and cognitive maturity our children may not yet possess.

If we look at a pile of laundry and say fuck it because there’s just too much, we can’t be bothered, and we don’t even know where to start — well, that’s sort of what our kids are thinking too — (their thoughts may or may not include the f-word, depending on the child).


“I don’t know how!”

Sometimes we ask our kids to please clean up the mess they left from their latest project and they tell us “I can’t, it’s too much!” or “I don’t know how!” It’s tempting to respond with something along the lines of, “you knew well enough to make the mess, you can figure out how to clean it.”

The truth is, they may really not know how. Kids, especially kids with ADHD or other neurodevelopmental differences, have a really hard time with knowing how to get started. When a task feels overwhelming, they probably do need some help, or at least some guidance.

There are a few ways we can approach this:

  • Help them, at least in the beginning, until they feel more confident they can do it on their own. Sometimes they really do need the help, and sometimes they just like having company while doing an unpleasant chore.
  • Make it fun, play some upbeat music, or make a game of it.
  • Designate specific places for their belongings. As the saying goes, “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” It makes it a lot easier for children to clean up when they know exactly where each thing goes.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. It’s easy to forget about something if it doesn’t enter our field of vision, especially for those of us with working memory issues. Using open shelves and clear organizers or drawers helps everyone remember where things are — and where they go when we’re done with them.
  • Break tasks down into concrete, manageable parts. Instead of a general “go clean your room!”, a lot of kids need more specific information as to exactly how you want them to do this.
  • Provide checklists, or visual guides to show children what each step looks like. You can add a picture of the finished product, so they see what they are working toward, and what a “clean” room looks like.
Created by author

Pick your battles

I don’t like cleaning up after my son because I don’t want him to grow up thinking there’s a magical cleaning fairy who follows him around and makes messes disappear (that would be nice, however).

I want him to develop life skills so that he has the ability to do these things for himself when he’s older.

Have you ever met adults whose parents, for whatever reason, did everything for them when they were kids?

Many grow up to expect their partners, roommates — anyone but them — to fill in the role of doting parent because they were taught to expect this, and because they weren’t taught the skills needed to do these things independently.

That said, not one person is fully and completely independent in life. We all need and receive help sometimes, even things we are capable of doing for ourselves. Sometimes my husband is too tired to cook dinner, so I do it. I hate grocery shopping, so my husband usually does that for our family.

If my son was up late for basketball practice, I don’t mind giving him a little extra support getting ready for school in the morning because I know he’s tired. It’s important to be fair and understanding, and to pick our battles.

If he’s laying on the couch reading a book while I’m working, and he asks me to stop what I’m doing to get something for him, the answer is probably going to be something like, “I’m not available to help right now”.

The key is striking a balance between doing kind things for one another, helping each other, while also instilling a sense of responsibility in our children.

The balance will be different for each family. There is no right or wrong, just the approach that works best for your family’s needs, wants, and goals.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn!


Related Articles

Executive Functions for Parents And Kids

Children Are Not Mini Adults

Stop Punishing Kids For Being Kids

Body Doubling With ADHD

How To Study With ADHD


Effective study tips and strategies for fellow ADHDers

Welcome to my nerd-dom

I am a self-professed nerd (and proud of it). I love to read, I love to learn, and if school had been free, I would have remained a student for many more years. As it is, I have two degrees, and spend much of my days reading and researching for articles and creating resources for my clients.

I also have ADHD.

ADHD which was not identified until after I had completed my post-secondary education.

Suffice it to say, I have developed some very effective strategies for getting shit done.

I won’t claim to have all the answers, I certainly have my areas of strengths and weaknesses, and days when I’m a lot more productive than others. It also takes me a lot longer to complete most projects because I am forever jumping from one task to another.

What works for one person may not work for others, but my hope is to provide an eclectic collection of various strategies so you can find one that works for you.


Find your time zone

No, I don’t mean Eastern or Central, I mean the time you are most likely to be “in the zone”. I am most productive in the mornings and early afternoons, and I do like to get up early — however, I also know I need my medication, coffee, and time to gradually wake up first.

By the time I’ve worked a full day, had dinner, attended whatever evening sports myself or my son are playing, and gotten my son to bed, I am in no shape for heavy academic reading. My evenings are reserved for reading entertaining fiction.

Some people are more productive in the late afternoons or evenings. Whatever works best for you, identify your zone, then plan your studying and working on assignments for that timeframe whenever you can.


Fresh air and exercise

The old tried-and-true cliché prevails for a reason. Moving our bodies helps us focus, especially for those of us with ADHD. Research suggests that just half an hour each day of moderate exercise has significant benefits for our cognitive performance.

Exercise can be anything you find enjoyable that increases your heart rate. You don’t have to go from couch to 5K overnight. Take your dog for a walk, find a lovely hiking trail, or plan a walk or bike ride with a friend. Jump rope or jump on a trampoline.

If you’re competitive, like I am, you may enjoy team sports more than solo fitness. Join a rec league or arrange a local game of pick-up. The important thing is it needs to be fun and something you will want to do on a regular basis.


Active reading

I’m not talking about reading on the treadmill, although go for it if that works for you. I’m referring to actively engaging with the text as you read it. For me, I use colour-coded highlighters to help me zoom in on important points and make it easier to find those passages again later.

I also like to take a lot of notes when I’m studying or doing research. Sometimes I hardly refer to those notes at all and sometimes they are extremely useful, but the act of physically writing down key information helps me process and retain it.

If our brains are distracted, we’ll start skim-reading, and end up reading a whole paragraph without really absorbing anything we just read. Highlighting and taking notes can force us to slow down and really pay attention to what it is we’re reading.

Created by author

Routine and environment

Do you have a routine you do before you sit down to study or work on an assignment? Is it helpful? If not, time for a new one.

Having a familiar set of steps you engage in right before you start studying can help get your brain and body into study mode, and signal your brain to prepare for incoming information.

Similarly, if your workspace is very cluttered and disorganized, this is not conducive to productivity. I say this without judgement because my home office is quite often messy, my desk is usually covered with a variety of papers and books.

The time when I’m best at thoroughly cleaning my workspace is when I’m supposed to be working on something I’m avoiding. Be aware of procrastinating by way of doing other tasks, or getting hyperfocused on cleaning, and forgetting all about your assignment.

Created by author

Not-so-executive functions

Two significant aspects of ADHD and executive dysfunction are difficulty with task-switching, and time blindness. We can get stuck on the thing we’re doing in the moment and completely lose track of time. That’s when we end up with a really clean workspace, but no actual school work completed.

I prevent this from happening by setting reminders and alarms at certain times — I’ve even put my phone in a different room so it forces me to get up and go over to where I strategically placed it, ensuring I would tear myself away from whatever I was working on, and end up standing near the next task needing to be done.

I personally love checklists, but like, good ones. They need to be very specific, detailed, and also nice to look at so they’ll catch my attention. Sometimes the hardest part of completing a project is just getting started. Checklists help to break things down into more manageable parts, and also remind me where I need to begin.


Stimulation versus distraction

We ADHDers have to find our ideal balance between adequate stimulation and distraction, and that balance will be different for each person.

Some common ways to get just enough stimulation to help motivate you, but not so much as to be distracting:

  • Music
  • Fidget tools
  • Flexible seating (work on the couch, use a yoga ball, a stand desk, etc.)
  • Frequent, short breaks
Created by author

Some people like having another person working in the room with them — not helping them, just doing their own thing, but being present — often called body doubling. Others prefer to have a quiet workspace to themselves.

Take note of works best for you, then do as much as you can to set yourself up for success.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


Related Articles

Simple Yet Effective Ways To Get Sh!t Done

Body Doubling With ADHD

Strategies for Managing Executive Functioning Challenges for Adults


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn!


More on executive functions

Time Blindness Explained

ADHD Paralysis Explained

How Executive Dysfunction Impacts Daily Life


References

Piepmeier, A.T., Shih, C.H., Whedon, M., Williams, L.M., Davis, M.E., Henning, D.A., SeYun Park, Calkins, S.D., Etnier, J.L. (2015). The effect of acute exercise on cognitive performance in children with and without ADHD. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 4(1), 97–104.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2014.11.004

Taylor, A., Novo, D., Foreman, D. (2019). An Exercise Program Designed for Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for Use in School Physical Education: Feasibility and Utility. Healthcare, 7(3), 102. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7030102

The Potential New Canada Disability Benefit


Bill C-22 was unduly delayed in December so politicians could take an extended holiday

An open letter to my Member of Parliament (MP)

Candice Bergen, MP
E-886 Thornhill Street
Morden, Manitoba R6M 2E1

Re: Bill C-22 — Canada Disability Benefit

December 14, 2022

Dear Ms. Bergen,

As your constituent I urge your continued support of Bill C-22, an Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of disabled people, by establishing the Canada disability benefit.

This Bill should have been passed in December, before the Christmas recess.

With Bill C-22 still in Committee Stage we urge your assistance in prioritizing the Bill for Third Reading debate as soon as it returns to the House of Commons from Committee. Disabled people are facing a national crisis and cannot wait any longer.

With the unanimous passing and support of the Bill through Second Reading in October the disability community was optimistic. We urge all parties to work together to ensure the Bill does not linger unnecessarily in the House of Commons. It has had many hours of debate and further consideration in Committee.

Disabled people need urgent support now and cannot wait any longer for action on the commitment to bring in a new Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). Bill C-22 has the potential to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.

In Canada, 73% of working age adults with intellectual disabilities who live on their own are living in poverty, compared to 23% of those in the same cohorts among the general population.

Incomes are being stretched further and further in the current economic environment. With inflation at its highest level in decades, many disability support amounts haven’t risen with inflation or are lagging behind actual inflation levels. This is pushing disabled people even further below the poverty line.

Disabled people have been living in poverty for far too long. A monthly national disability benefit is more important now than ever. Your support as our Member of Parliament is crucial.

Getting Bill C-22 passed into law as quickly as possible is necessary so the regulations can be co-created with disabled people, and the benefit gets directly to people sooner.

I am asking for all party support on this non-partisan issue. I am urging Ms. Bergen, as our MP, to work in collaboration with parliamentarians representing different parties for all-party support.

We cannot afford to delay this foundational legislation with prolonged debate or further amendments at Third Reading which would slow the process down even further.

Disabled people are counting on our elected officials to do what is necessary to end disability poverty. We are urging you to pass Bill C-22 in 2022 so we can create the CDB in 2023.

This is an historic opportunity that we cannot miss. Please do the right thing for your disabled constituents, and for all disabled Canadians. We are counting on your support.

Thank you,

Jillian Enright, CYW, BA Psych.
Founder & Advocate
Neurodiversity Manitoba, Inc.


*Letter adapted from template provided by Inclusion Canada.

Thank you, Inclusion Canada

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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn!


Related Articles

International Day of Disabled People

Accessibility Versus Accommodation

Half-Assed Accessibility Is More Insulting Than Helpful


References

Maroto, M., & Pettinicchio, D. (2020). Barriers to Economic Security: Disability, Employment, and Asset Disparities in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 57(1), 53–79. https://doi.org/10.1111/cars.12268

Statistics Canada. (2022). Table 11–10–0090–01 Poverty and low-income statistics by disability status. https://doi.org/10.25318/1110009001-eng

Dyspraxia And Apraxia


Motor and coordination issues in Autism and ADHD

Communication is a basic human right

Humans place an unreasonable level of importance on communicating verbally, but that’s an ableist belief of superiority based on speech being the method of communication preferred by the majority of the population.

Building on my previous article, I do acknowledge the potential flaws in the rapid prompting method of communication (RPM) and Facilitated Communication (FC).

Despite some drawbacks to certain types of assisted communication methods, I’d still much prefer to support avenues which increase autonomy and options for effective communication for everyone.

Acknowledging the weaknesses of some methods will hopefully lead to improvements and thus, even better options coming about in the future.

This article isn’t about that, specifically, but it is related. Many Autistics who have unreliable speech or are non-speaking use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), RPM, FC, and Spelling to Communicate (S2C).

Many Autistics and people with ADHD have co-occurring conditions called dyspraxia and apraxia, which can significantly impact one’s speech, but do not impact a person’s intelligence. People seem to understand this in principle, but not in practice.


What is the difference between dyspraxia and apraxia?

Dyspraxia is difficulty in performing a motor task.

The prefix dys- refers to difficulty or “impairment”.

Apraxia is the inability to perform a particular motor task.

The prefix ‘A’- means not, or without.

The term –praxia refers to the performance of movements.


Prevalence

As many as 87% of Autistics have co-occurring motor issues, and one study found a prevalence rate of 75% of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) in children with ADHD.


Motor and co-ordination difficulties

Like most things, motor issues occur along a spectrum.

Some are relatively minor, whereas some impact every aspect of a person’s life, and most fall somewhere in between.

There are also different types of dyspraxia and apraxia, which impact different types of movement.


Dyspraxia & apraxia of speech

Someone with Dyspraxia or Apraxia of Speech (AOS) struggles to say what they want to say accurately and consistently.

AOS is a neurological disorder that affects the brain pathways which help plan the sequence of movements involved in producing speech.

The person knows what they want to say, but their brain has difficulty planning and carrying out the required speech sound movements.


Signs of dyspraxia or apraxia of speech (AOS)

  • Difficulty with pronunciation, especially with vowels.
  • Inconsistent errors in speech.
  • Difficulty finding the right word or sound for what one wants to say.
  • Inconsistent or incorrect use of tone, inflection, and rhythm of speech.
  • Vowel distortions, such as attempting to use the correct vowel, but saying it incorrectly.
  • Separation of syllables, such as putting a pause or gap between syllables.

People with apraxia of speech understand language much better than they are able to use it.


Motor dyspraxia

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), also called motor dyspraxia, affects one’s ability to balance and coordinate movements.

Motor dyspraxia and apraxia are neurological disorders characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out skilled movements and gestures, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform them.


Dyspraxia symptoms:

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, typing, using scissors, zipping or buttoning clothing, tying laces, and using utensils.
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance, a reluctance or awkwardness when playing sports or engaging in physical activities.
  • Seeming to bump into things a lot.
  • Dyspraxia and apraxia do not impact a person’s intelligence.

Always presume competence

Do not assume a person has an intellectual disability because they have a physical disability.

Having difficulty with speech, or not speaking, do not mean someone has an intellectual disability, it means they struggle to communicate using speech.

© Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB


Related Articles

Speech Is Seriously Overrated

Dyspraxia and Autism

Clumsy, or Neurodivergent?

Postural Sway And The ADHD Walk


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.

If you’d prefer give a one-time tip, you can support my writing on Ko-Fi — also, it’s free to follow me on Facebook!


References

Lino, F., & Chieffo, D. P. R. (2022). Developmental Coordination Disorder and Most Prevalent Comorbidities: A Narrative Review. Children, 9(7), 1095. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children9071095

Montes-Montes, R., Delgado-Lobete, L., Rodríguez-Seoane, S. (2021). Developmental Coordination Disorder, Motor Performance, and Daily Participation in Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Children, 8(3), 187. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030187

Syriopoulou-Delli, C.K., Eleni, G. (2021). Effectiveness of Different Types of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in Improving Communication Skills and in Enhancing the Vocabulary of Children with ASD: a Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 9, 493–506. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-021-00269-4

Zampella, C.J., Wang, L.A.L., Haley, M., Hutchinson, A.G., de Marchena, A. (2021). Motor Skill Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Clinically Focused Review. Current Psychiatry Reports 23, 64. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-021-01280-6