Black Lives Matter on Neurodiverging

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Dear all:

The goal of Neurodiverging, as a blog and a podcast, is to offer education on autism, ADHD, and other forms of neurodiversity. I am critical of the painful, hard attitudes toward neurodivergent people I see in the world, and how we are treated, because I hope to contribute toward social justice for all people. Much of my work is dedicated especially to folks raising the next generation of neurodivergent children, who I hope will experience a more just world than my parents did, or than I did. 

This website is for everyone. The work we do toward equity and justice for neurodivergent people is inherently a part of the larger movement toward social justice and equity for black people, people of color, indigenous people, LGTBQA+ people, poor people, and disabled people. All of our children deserve a space in this world that is safe, authentic, and theirs. 

Racial inequality is pervasive in the medical community that works with neurodivergent people, and within the neurodivergence community itself. The stereotyped image of an autistic person is still a young, white boy, but in reality, autism rates are relatively consistent across all race, class, and age lines. There are autistic and ADHD people in all communities - but they are not treated the same.

There is strong evidence that if you are black, Latine, or any person of color, you are less likely to be able to get diagnosed with ADHD or autism, even if you have the same traits as white people. Plus, if you are able to be diagnosed, you still aren’t as likely to be able to receive treatment that you may want, or to be able to afford it. 

Additionally, people of color with ADHD are way more likely to be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) than white people with the same traits and concerns, making it harder for them to stay in the public school system and access quality education. This in turn can have huge negative effects on their whole quality of life - their ability to finish school, go to college or access job training, get a job that pays well, offers good medical care through insurance, etc.

Black people are more likely to be given antipsychotic medications with significant side effects, when the same physician would prescribe gentler medications to a white person. Black people are less likely to be believed when they say they are in pain, and less likely to be given basic pain medication by medical professionals. Black peoples’ trauma is constantly underrated, and not taken into account when considering why symptoms manifest in certain ways and what the best way to help could be. Black autistic people are more likely to die young, and to die by violence.

Black Lives Matter. Black Autistic Lives Matter. Black ADHD Lives Matter. Black Neurodivergent Lives Matter. 

As a white person running this site, I promise I am always doing my best to do my homework and think critically about my own biases. I’ll still get things wrong. I promise I will be constantly reading and thinking on my own, but I’m one person, and a privileged one. If you see something racist, ableist, or otherwise troubling on Neurodiverging, please let me know. I want you to be safe here.

 - Danielle

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