Neurodivergence refers to the natural variations in how our brains function and process information. It encompasses a range of neurological conditions, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more. People who identify as neurodivergent often experience the world in different ways, possessing distinct strengths and challenges that can enrich the fabric of our community.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that ADHD and autism are mental health conditions, they are not.
Although, of course, given the issues many of us across the entire LGBTQIA community go through in terms of dealing with our own self-acceptance, coming out etc. The intersection of neurodivergence and LGBTQIA identity brings unique challenges and perspectives that deserve understanding and support.
This is where we can all play our part in recognising and embracing the diversity within our own community.
Neurodivergent individuals within our community are influenced not only by their neurodivergence but also by their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. This can magnify the barriers they encounter and impact their overall well-being, which can in turn lead to issues that affect a person’s mental health and well-being.
Our very own CEO here at Sahir House, Ant Hopkinson, recently learned he is living with autism, and has my complete respect for sharing this openly, and for helping to launch a new LGBTQIA+ Neurodivergent Peer Support Group for Merseyside.
If we all understand a little bit more about these conditions, then we can all help and support each other a little more and play our part in helping to stop the stigma about such things.
There is a significant stigma surrounding ADHD, probably because it is one of those terms that is frequently bandied around or used as a personal insult. Many people with the disorder face discrimination and misunderstanding. It is important to recognise that ADHD is a real and treatable condition, and that individuals with ADHD can lead fulfilled and successful lives with the right support.
Symptoms of adult ADHD can include difficulty organising and completing tasks, forgetfulness, impulsivity, restlessness, and problems with time management (time-blindness). These symptoms can lead to difficulties at work and in relationships, which further leads to self-esteem issues.
In general, men with ADHD are more likely to have symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, while women with ADHD are more likely to have symptoms of inattention. This means that men with ADHD may be more likely to fidget, interrupt others, and act impulsively, while women with ADHD may be more likely to be easily distracted, forgetful, and disorganised.
These days ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, but many people, particularly the more senior generation, are not diagnosed until much later. This might be because the disorder was not recognised or properly diagnosed. Those with milder symptoms can now be recognised and helped, whereas in the past they may have been overlooked.
ADHD can be effectively managed by a number of methods such as therapy and medication, if necessary. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the many talking therapies that can help individuals learn coping strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their functioning in everyday life. Other types of therapy, such as hypnotherapy and support groups are also beneficial.
Autism is a lifelong condition that varies in severity and presents differently in each individual, which is why it is referred to as a spectrum. It is a natural variation of human neurology, that affects the way individuals perceive the world and interact with others. It is characterised by a range of challenges in social communication, repetitive behaviours, and restricted interests.
Autism affects people across all levels of cognitive ability. Each person with autism has their own unique set of characteristics, and it is crucial to approach them with respect, understanding, and support tailored to their specific needs.
By embracing neurodivergence, and being mutually supportive, we can create an environment where everyone feels accepted and valued. Let us celebrate the richness that neurodivergent LGBTQIA individuals bring to our community, recognising that their unique neurological experiences contribute to the diversity that makes us stronger together.
That’s it for this month.
Please remember you can always contact me if you would like me to cover a particular topic about mental health & well-being firstname.lastname@example.org
Or check out my website https://www.martinfurber.com
If you would like to attend the Sahir House LGBTQ+ Neurodivergent Peer Support Group, please email email@example.com