My Pillars of Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity applies to everyone because we are all unique.

These pillars are things I have learned as I’ve come to understand myself and find my place.  I have been able to share these pillars with my mentees, and I believe they’ve found them quite helpful thus far. 

You don’t have to be Neurodivergent to be able to use these in your own life.  

Wisdom is earned through study, life experiences, and pain

My dad once told me “there a difference between being wise and having wisdom”.  While I generally agreed at the time, it’s hard to argue this point as the dictionary definition for “wise” is literally “having wisdom”.  I assume my dad meant that “you may be smart, but you know almost nothing”. 

I’ve learned many things over my life, but much of what I learned relating to my Neurodivergence has been painful.  Recognize that as you have painful experiences, they are important to learning and becoming wiser.  


Perfection is not the standard

There are many yard sticks on which we can measure our skills and assets.  It’s important to be able to quantify an aspect if we want to improve or change it.  It’s okay to strive to be better, but it’s not okay to expect perfection from anyone, especially yourself. 

It’s also okay to decide not to change something about yourself.  You are unique, and you always will be unique.  Embrace it.


A diagnosis is a tool, not a solution

Whether you have a diagnosis or not, your uniqueness is valid and should be celebrated.  Don’t let a lack of diagnosis prevent you from self identifying as Neurodivergent.  If you have a diagnosis, don’t let it hold you back. 

A diagnosis is helpful for accessing support.  Accommodations in education, funding, special programs, and support groups.  It will not do much to help you understand yourself or guide you.

I got an Aspergers Syndrome diagnosis as a child.  I got some extra support in and outside of school because of it.  It didn’t help me understand myself, no one could do that but me.


You are your own user manual

Only your mind and your body will be able to give you concrete information on what is working for you.  Listen, feel, reflect, and experiment. 

Can you name all the feelings you feel?  Can you describe each type of stress?  Maybe you need to make up a word because the English language doesn’t have a way of expressing something that’s going on in your mind.