Neurodivergent. Brain health. These are newer terms working to remove the stigma of mental health struggles, and I am grateful for them. Some of you are really familiar with this terminology, and others have never before heard it. And that is okay. I’m not convinced that we don’t all struggle with brain health at some point in life. Some just spend a lot more time with it. I know people who have ear/nose/throat issues for much of their life, and others who seem to always have digestive problems or respiratory troubles.
But mental health/brain health has struggled to be recognized as a real, physical issue. It’s been seen as something over which the sufferer has control. They can fix it. Think about something else. Just stop acting that way. If only it was that simple. We don’t tell the asthmatic to just breathe normally.
I am very grateful that in 2022, resources are greatly expanded for neurodivergent people. Kids who don’t fit into the neurotypical mode are able to receive help that meets them where they are. They can be treated according to their abilities and their struggles, not expected to fit into a typical box. It is a lot more work to understand the neurodivergent child. Once you think you get them, then they grow to puberty and you have to start all over again.
I sat in a meeting today to help define ways my child needs assistance to succeed in school. That’s a really nice way of saying that we had to list many “shortcomings” or ways in which this child is not neurotypical. I cried when it was over. These people care for my child and want to give her the best possible chance at success. At the same time, focusing on all the ways she is not typical was…well, sad. I was sad that she has so much to overcome in the school environment. I am so grateful for the people who stand with me and fight on behalf of this child. I really could not do this all alone. Their insight is valuable. Their care for her is beautiful. It takes a village. I have always embraced that, and today it was a gift once again.
Today I cried. Because we are fighting hard for this child, fighting to give her tools she needs and help to succeed. And I pray that she continues to find the niches in which she fits well, the skills she has that enrich her life and the lives of others, and the ways God has gifted her whether they fit into a typical mold or not.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14 ESV