Let’s talk about Neurodiversity – Our journey at Future Toolbox

March is an excellent month for two reasons. Firstly, it’s Brain Injury Awareness Month – a dedicated time to spread knowledge and advocate for the people affected by brain injury. Secondly, we are currently in the midst of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. This is another equally significant period that allows us to acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of the human mind.

Today, we are going to delve into the similarities between the challenges faced by brain injury survivors and the neurodiverse community, exploring the common ground between the two.

So, what is neurodiversity?

At its core, neurodiversity is used to explain how someone’s brain is structured and operates. There are variations in the way that human brains work, people can be neurodivergent and neurotypical. If you are Neurodivergent, your brain functions differently from the ‘common’ or neurotypical standard.

All forms of brain functioning are valid, and none is inherently superior or inferior to another. It’s important to embrace the diversity of the human mind and value the differences in how individuals think, learn, and perceive their surroundings.

Types of neurodivergence

Among the most common neurodivergent conditions are Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Tourette’s Syndrome. Each of these conditions presents unique characteristics and challenges, but they also provide the individuals with a distinct lens through which they view and interact with the world.

Recently, acquired and traumatic brain injuries have been recognised as neurodiverse conditions. That’s because surviving a brain injury can change how a person’s brain functions, just like someone who’s neurodiverse. Here are some common challenges:

Cognitive Challenges
  • Brain injury survivors may face challenges like memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, and issues with problem-solving.
  • On the flip side, those with ADHD may struggle with hyperfocus and find it hard to change their way of thinking easily.
Sensory Sensitivities
  • Both groups can be extra sensitive to things they see, hear, touch, or taste which can sometimes feel overwhelming. For example, loud noise levels or bright lights might be too intense for someone with a brain injury, while neurodiverse individuals may find certain textures or smells uncomfortable.
Social Interaction Difficulties
  • Brain injury survivors might struggle to stay focused on conversations or find it hard to understand the body language of others. This can lead to feeling out of place and uncomfortable.
  • The same goes for neurodiverse individuals. For instance, someone with Autism might find the unspoken rules of friendship a bit confusing.
Communication Challenges
  • Sometimes, explaining what they feel or understanding what someone else said can be tough for those with brain injuries.
  • Neurodiverse individuals may have varied communication styles and find it harder to understand jokes and sarcasm or keep up with the rhythm of a conversation.
Motor Coordination Issues
  • Both groups may find it difficult to control their movements, though the specific nature of the problems can differ. Brain injury survivors may struggle with balance and coordination, while neurodiverse individuals can struggle with tasks that require fine motor skills.
Emotional Regulation
  • Brain injury survivors and neurodiverse individuals can find controlling their feelings a bit tricky sometimes. They might feel things very intensely and face challenges in identifying or expressing their emotions. Sometimes it can be hard for them to shift from one emotion to another.
Stigma and Misunderstanding
  • The biggest challenge of all? Other people just not getting it. Both brain injury survivors and neurodiverse individuals may encounter misconceptions about their capabilities and face barriers due to the invisible nature of some of their challenges.

How does Future Toolbox Support Neurodiversity?

We’re all about encouraging you, supporting you, and helping you achieve your dreams regardless of whatever you feel could be holding you back! Being neurodivergent isn’t a limitation – it’s an asset that allows someone to see things from a unique perspective.

We want people to feel confident and live life on their own terms. Did you know that every one of us has our own way of learning? Our resources will help you figure out what works best for you. We’ll show you how to set achievable goals, develop your self-confidence and incorporate self-care into your routine, so you’ll be equipped to tackle life’s ups and downs.

Navigating Brain Injury Together

Brain or Shine is a platform designed to help individuals and their families, friends, and work colleagues, understand how to live with the life-changing effects of traumatic injuries and hidden disabilities.

In 2012, Mark sustained a Brain Injury in a freak accident whilst we were on holiday. Life changed a lot after that, and we’ve learnt so much along the way. Now we’re here, armed with all the tools and strategies we’ve collected over the years, ready to help you! We’re able to provide you with insight and support from both sides, Mark as the sufferer and Jules as the carer.

If you, or someone you know has been affected by a brain injury, we have lots of free-resources available to help you start living life on your own terms. We understand that everyone processes information differently, so you can access the information through our blog, podcast and monthly webinar series.

We also have a wonderful Facebook community if you’re looking for some extra support. Here you can connect with others going through a similar experience as you. Remember, whether you’re at the start of your journey or somewhere along the way, you’re not alone!

Now that we’ve set the ball rolling, let’s keep this conversation about neurodiversity going! Let’s learn from each other and strive to make our world a more understanding and accepting place for everyone.

For more information on this topic

Listen to our ‘N for Neurodiversity | Embrace Your Mind’ podcast episode.

Z to A of Life Skills Podcast with Mark and Jules Kennedy.

Follow us on social media!

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