Kathy is a neurodivergent parent in a neurodivergent family and her family’s love and Pride is evident in her words here… I am so delighted people can get to ‘meet’ Kathy because she is a source of support and encouragement to many activists and parents in our community. Thank you for sharing your family with us ❤
Hello! Thanks for participating. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, however you’d like to introduce yourselves.
My wonderful family of four consists of two children and two adults. All of us are neurodivergent, some of us are multiply neurodivergent. Autism, ADHD, depression, and anxiety are some of the terms that apply to us. We all have our own specific sensory and social needs and are constantly learning new ways to meet the needs of all family members.
What do you value and love about your family?
I have a fiercely protective love for my children. I love my youngest child’s caring, sensitive, sweet, nature and the joy on his face when he swings, bounces and jumps to meet his sensory needs. He loves books, vehicles, jokes, word play, drawing and painting (often on himself J ).
I love my oldest child’s passion and focus on his current interests (history at the moment). I love his wonderful, firm hugs. I admire his strong, fiery spirit and opposition to anybody who attempts to force him to conform to societal norms he doesn’t agree with. I’ve learnt so much from him and parenting him has made me a better person.
I have a strong, enduring love for my husband and value his kind, loyal nature. He often puts his needs second in his attempts to provide a happy, comfortable life for us. I think like attracts like for us to a certain extent in that we recognised a mutual tendency to not fully fit in with mainstream society right from the start of our relationship.
What does acceptance of neurodivergence look like in your home and extended family?
Home is our safe place where we can relax and fully be ourselves. Sometimes we have competing sensory needs and we work really hard to accommodate everybody and meet everybody’s needs. We all have our own spaces that we can retreat to if we need to be by ourselves. Family members who have sensitive hearing are able to use ear defenders or music via mp3 players to tune out loud, stimmy noises when necessary.
We’re fortunate in that our extended family are mostly very accepting and non-judgemental in relation to our neurodiversity. Several extended family members are neurodivergent themselves.
How can others in the community support and include you and your family?
I think the most important thing others can do is to accept that there are many ways of being and to not negatively judge people who are different in some way.
If I’m out and about with my kids and we really seem to be struggling, for example my kids are having a really hard time and experiencing a melt-down, people could ask me politely if there’s anything they could do to help.
How are families like ours contributing to the neurodiversity movement, disability Pride, culture, and community?
I believe we contribute to disability pride simply by unapologetically being ourselves and showing the world that there are so many beautiful ways of being and living. By sharing our stories and challenging ableist rhetoric we help society and individuals to grow, develop and learn.
* You can find all of the couples and families featured so far here – Neurodiverse Families
* Want to add your story? Here’s how – Invitation to share your story