Mom and preschooler

The Inspiration Behind All Brains Belong VT

All Brains Belong VT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community health organization located in Montpelier, Vermont. We provide neurodiversity-affirming medical care, social connection opportunities, and community education. Our mission is to support the well-being and inclusion of people with all types of brains.

We all have different brains. We think, learn, play, communicate, and experience the world differently. There is no “default” brain, so there should be no “default” way to access healthcare, education, employment, and society as a whole.

Our Story

All Brains Belong launched in November 2012 during the COVID pandemic. Vermont family physician Melissa Houser, M.D. was caring for sick patients in the hospital, while also homeschooling her neurodivergent preschooler. She fell in love with her child’s brain. She also learned, for the first time at age 37, that she was autistic, ADHD, dyspraxic, dyslexic, and dyscalculic. Shortly thereafter, she learned that the average life expectancy for an autistic person was 36-54 years.

Dr. Houser had spent the past decade watching her patients’ physical and mental health suffer. Why? They lived in a world that did not work for their brains. Healthcare, business, schools, and most other things are designed for only certain brains. Neurodivergent people are often forced to hide or change their true selves. They all too often are told that they “should” be able to do things, and are made to feel broken, ashamed, and alone. She decided to change that.

Health and well-being is much more than medical care. To do anything for the neurodivergent community, we have to do everything. And so, we are.

Our Model

All Brains Belong VT health

At All Brains Belong, we believe that connection is the path to health. We provide support for “the whole person.” Not only do we offer medical care but our community programs help reduce social isolation and provide support for accessing employment and education. We also provide neuroinclusivity training for employers, healthcare providers, and anyone else seeking to learn a new way.

All of our programs incorporate principles of inclusive design. We provide a menu of flexible, different ways to access our programs. We listen to your ideas, too. We give you freedom to choose what works best for your brain. We intentionally create environments where all people can show up as their true selves and connect with community. All Brains Belong fosters a community village environment, where people can learn (and unlearn) together and feel, at long last, that they belong.

Our Impact

In 2022, All Brains Belong:

  • served 252 medical patients whose needs were not met by the traditional healthcare system
  • provided free social connection programs to 472 families (in VT and beyond!)
  • developed a novel model for customized primary care using universal design principles
  • provided training to 321 employers, healthcare providers and educators on how to be more neuroinclusive
“ABB has given me a way to be myself in community with others, that I haven’t had in so long.”

All Brains Belong is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organized under the state laws of Vermont with a mission to support the well-being and inclusion of people with all types of brains. All donations are tax-deductible (EIN 87-1709486)