• Shelley

To be accepted

It's Mental Health Awareness week and in many stories and reports of mental health struggles, people report feeling different and not accepted time and time again. It is a universal human need to feel that sense of belonging, that feeling of acceptance for who you are. People will often meet any requirements necessary to achieve this feeling, so great is that need.

Neurodiverse children often feel different and unaccepted in our neurotypical world. As they

grow up they become more aware of their different ways of thinking and behaving, they realise that their peers are not including them because they don't always conform, friendships are more difficult to make and keep, their behaviour causes them to be isolated and separated, often even within their own family. No matter the valiant efforts of the adults around them, these children do feel the lack of acceptance when their struggles are highlighted and their strengths ignored.

These days we set our sights on valuing the strengths whilst acknowledging and making

accomodations for the difficulties these children experience in a world set up to enable

neurotypical people to thrive. We try to help them by getting them to be more of what society expects and less of who they really are. But often these children don't want to be accommodated, they only want to be accepted for who they are and valued for what they offer as themselves.

I am realistic enough to know it will take many years and significant changes for the world to offer equal opportunities for neurodiverse people. I do believe that acceptance and belonging will only be truly felt by all children when education systems are expanded and altered to encompass different types of thinking and when all of society is educated about neurodiversity, when people are valued and accepted for their uniqueness rather than their ability to conform.

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