It’s trendy recently to talk about inclusion. “Equity, inclusion, yeah, those are important; I want those,” says (everyone). The problem is that many people misperceive what “inclusion” really means. In true inclusion, all people feel that they belong. In 2023, not all people feel like they belong.
At least 1 in 5 people have a brain difference in thinking, learning, or communicating. Some may have a diagnostic label such as autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, or dyslexia. However, most do not.
The word “neurodiversity” means that we all have different, unique brains. We all have strengths and challenges. “Neurodivergent” brains (or “dopamine-bound brains”) are different than most brains. Most of society is designed for “neurotypical” brains and those with specific abilities. Everyone else is required to figure out how to work around the mismatch for their needs, or are prevented from participating. This causes problems at school, at work, in relationships, and other contexts.
The neurodivergent community is stigmatized, invalidated, marginalized, and “othered” by mainstream society. This is even worse for members of other marginalized groups (i.e., non-majority gender identity, racial, educational and economic groups) who are also neurodivergent. These communities experience intersectional trauma and barriers to full community participation.
Many brain differences go unrecognized. Many challenges and disabilities frequently go unexplained for decades. Many people with invisible disabilities do not actually know they have disabilities. They think they are in some way “broken” or “defective” simply because the world was not designed for them.
The world is learning about “trauma-informed” practices. However, there is not enough attention given to the trauma of daily life experienced by the neurodivergent community. There is not enough attention given to the systemic ableism and neurotypical bias within the major structures of society. Neurodiversity and access are largely missing from the broader community conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Neurodivergent people have high rates of:
- untreated physical and mental health problems
- poor access to healthcare and community support services
- dissatisfaction with their healthcare, school, and social experiences
- lower quality of life.
Neurodivergent children have higher rates of bullying, depression, and anxiety.
Neurodivergent children haver higher rates of suicidal thinking and completed suicide.
It is time for all of this to change. No more “defaults.” No more othering.
Will you help us?
Please consider making a donation to support the work of All Brains Belong VT. We are on a mission to show the world what true inclusion looks like. We want people with all types of brains to feel safe showing up in the world as their true selves. Even small gifts add up fast. Let’s show the world what’s possible.