Today is that day. That day where I explain that word that sounds made up. Or maybe it’s an excuse. Maybe it’s a disease. Perhaps it is just brilliance.
But a promise is a promise, back on Day 4, Difficult Mothering I said… “a Difficult Mind, neurodiverse as we like to say (more on that later this month)” today is later.
Our words have power. The things on this earth that we name begin to have deep meaning in our hearts. Think about it, even in the simple things.
Nice vs. Beautiful
Easy vs. Manageable
Mean vs. Bitter
What we call things matters. That is why we call our son neurodiverse.
If we didn’t call him neurodiverse his difficult mind and awkward personality would be called a whole lot of other things, including but not limited to…
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Executive Functioning Disorder
Limited Social Skills
Potential Candidate for Bi-Polar Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder
Our labels mean something. When those labels show up in reports and emails and are spoken over a meal, my heart just breaks. Seeing my son, the one I spent 41.5 hours in labor with, whittled down to a few terms, is devastating.
When others see him through those terms he becomes small and limited. Tied up in a box with a warning tag shouting “you are not as you should be.”
Before you start sending me crazy emails I want you to know I am not in denial. I know that my son struggles with every label on that list. I know he didn’t chose those labels. I also know that these labels can be helpful. They point me in the right direction when we don’t know why and we need doctors and all we have is questions. But used as the lens through which I see my son every single day, these labels not only hurt but they start building a wall, one heavily condemning brick at a time.
Neurodiversity is a real thing. Psychology Today said that
“…neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome…many individuals who embrace the concept of neurodiversity believe that people with differences do not need to be cured; they need help and accommodation instead. They look at the pool of diverse humanity and see – in the middle – the range of different thinking that’s made humanity’s progress in science and the creative arts possible.”
Changing the name changes how we see the person. Calling my son neurodiverse helps me see him as a human being with potential, creativity and passion. He becomes a living, breathing soul to be nurtured and not just a difficult child to be fixed. In being neurodiverse we can no longer use our sons struggles as an excuse for poor behavior or negative attitudes, instead we use it as a tool, a guide to seeing and interacting with the world in a new way.
In this sense we are all neurodiverse. At some point we will all view the world in our own unique way, a way that no one else does. If I have the right to live that way without judgment, so should my son. His neurodiverse being will just have those experiences much more frequently than I will.
I believe in giving up the name. This is where we may disagree but as my story is dedicated to truth, here it is. I believe in healing and wholeness. I believe that any day at any time my sons Difficult Mind could be healed by God or cured by science. I believe in miracles and medicine. I believe in science and psychology. I believe in a loving mothers instinct to do the right thing at the right time in the right way with the child she has.
We call him neurodiverse. You can call him what you like, I won’t be offended by the truth. But we call him silly, crazy, fun and smart. We try and point out that he is kind, gentle, serving and loving. We remind him that he is wanted, belongs and is ours. In it all, he is our son, no matter what.
“Hope and sorrow in it all there’s rescue and there’s not.”
There’s Rescue: By finding a way to both identify our sons struggle but not weigh him down with labels, neurodiversity has changed my attitude, actions and heart towards my son.
There’s Not: As of today he still struggles. He cries and screams and sees therapists. Rose colored glasses aren’t an option with neurodiversity but you never know what the future holds.
Today I am thankful for unique minds. For the men and women who have lived out their lives in their own neurodiversity. From Beethoven to Picasso to Temple Grandin, the world would not be the same without the neurodiverse mind.