My Neurodiversity Journey Part 4

Thank you for the feedback and positive comments from parts 1, 2 and 3 of my journey.

In my last blog I mentioned at times we have to take responsibly for our own journey, setting boundaries, ensuring the environments and behaviours are accommodating and supportive of our unique skill set. Capabilities, refers to our skills, what we are good at. Our natural areas of expertise or skills that improve in time or through forced or focused practice.

What capabilities / skills are vital for people like us who are Neurodivergent? What skills do we require to live in harmony within our daily environments that provide the appropriate accommodation? “Know thyself” is the first commandment of leadership as written in the Harvard Business Review. How well do we know ourselves?

-Where are our blind spots?

-What are my social deficits?

-How do I improve my executive functioning?

-How do I verbalise communication differences?

-What skills do I require to survive and thrive in a neurotypical world?

Accommodation in our environments is required, that goes way beyond awareness; e.g. Social Model of Disability. “The unexamined life is not worth living”; as Socrates so eloquently stated. In essence he was saying an unexamined human life is deprived of the meaning and purpose of existence. Einstein stated “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

So, the question we must ask ourselves is: – What environments are aligned to my capabilities? Or more importantly what environments are not suitable or accommodating for my capabilities? As previously mentioned in the last issue, Sir Professor Baron-Cohen highlighted the various types of abuse Autistics / neurodivergents experience. Whether you are a parent, care giver or careers guidance teacher working with neurodivergent people, it’s important that the career choice is appropriate, i.e. Environment.

My younger self would have wished to have been aware of different types of personalities that are in society. Topics such as this would have been more useful to me after I left home. Home for me was secure with structure and routine. Through circumstances and lived experience to the detriment of my emotional, financial and mental well-being the world is filled with different personality types that also appear in DSM V. Antisocial personality disorder according to the NHS web site states: –

“Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how someone thinks, perceives, feels or relates to others. Antisocial personality disorder is a particularly challenging type of personality disorder characterised by impulsive, irresponsible and often criminal behaviour. Someone with antisocial personality disorder will typically be manipulative, deceitful and reckless, and will not care for other people’s feelings. I suggest further reading on the NHS link above to familiarise yourself with the behaviours associated with people that would not be desirable for Autistics / neurodivergent to work for.

I personally am not limited by being autistic /neurodivergent, however I am limited by my environment, and lack of accommodation during my life. It is vitally important that Autistics / neurodivergents unique capabilities / strengths are identified at an early age. The next stage is then to establish what environments and behaviours will best utilise the capabilities. After identifying your own unique capabilities, finding the right environment which complements your own behaviours you will enjoy a most productive and enjoyable career.

For those who wish further details on personality types / behaviours I personally learnt much from Robert D Hare forensic psychologist and Dr Kevin Dutton.

Until the next issue, stay safe and be kind to yourself and gentle to those around you.

David Yeoman – Blogger & Volunteer; Scottish Autism, Contributor @ Autism Advisory Forum