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Aaron Williams: Neurodivergency & Me

Part 1: Opening Up

I’m Aaron the founding member of the ND Neuro News something which I decided with the help from others in the neurodivergent community was inspired to create. I’ve been for a while sharing my thoughts candidly on twitter of my experiences of being autistic and dyspraxic in ways I never thought it has given me the platform to be open and honest and to reflect and learn from others in the community that have shared experiences.

In the past Ive not always been that open and honest as previously in a neurotypical world haven’t always felt I had the space to find out what my autistic and dyspraxic self meant which has been challenging. Especially when I tried to study at university which didn’t go quite to plan (blog post on that coming soon).

So now have found myself at a period trying to find out what this means to me and found with twitter this has helped me understand more about what autism and dyspraxia means to me.

The first time I told anyone outside of my family that I was both autistic and dyspraxic was mid way through sixth form I privately messaged a few people that I was in comprehensive school and sixth form with I felt anxious and overwhelmed but I found it a freeing experience with years of hiding my diagnoses of fear of what others might say I had a kind and welcoming response. It helped me to begin talking about it on social media include it in my bio. I’ve found it a weight of my shoulders as quite a few agave me a space to talk . Found it was so helpful for myself to open up. Especially at the end of Sixth form got overwhelmed heading to prom feeling anxious and in a loud and atmosphere many were helpful trying to help me relax in an anxious state, then became to calm down. At the end of the night got voted Prom King was over the moon.

Although I’m find I’m always working to understand my true autistic self, learn about myself and trying to find comfort in opening up which the idea of this blog is trying to find a sense of confidence within myself, to own my autism and dyspraxia to enable chances to listen and learn for others and trying to find a world where we don’t feel the need to mask which trying to do with #StimPrideSunday.

@autisticlyaaron Aaron Williams

Neurodivergency & Me Six More Months

Autisticly Aaron’s Diary 26 September 2020.

This week I’ve as expressed in the previous blog post feeling before lack of motivation and drive to return to blogging and podcasting. Yet here I am writing another one. I mean who can blame me. Being without a clear direction of where things are heading I haven’t been busy. Lately since the summer seems to have drawn to a close although recently until the last few days it has mainly been a warm September. Ive been trying to go for a walk down the beach or just around. Yesterday venturing out was a challenge. Some days during the hazy days of this pandemic the crisis this is. some how has been able to inhabit all aspects of of our life.

Going out to the shops or just for a walk it is the conundrum of my forgetful dyspraxic state of mind that new found question in 2019 would’ve sounded bizarre “Wheres My Mask? Where’s My Mask?!’ I think to myself or ask my mother or sister. the stress of going out is real. The anxiety of knowing where to walk through a shop is real. Now is a maze.

Its overwhelming to think six more months of this. As said thats why delay in release in content. Seeing the fact that this virus isn’t going away not for another six anyway. Exhausting times seeing an impending second wave is seems at more time to process whats going on. With reports of stock piling tissues, pasta what ever else, hand sanitiser?

Reason why I dread the idea of a second national lockdown already seeing the stress and anxiety this has caused to many, the impact on everyones mental health. Wanting all of this all over, this dystopian year. My own mental health has been affected like many good days, bad days. Swings and Roundabouts. Like groundhog day at least that what the days of the first lockdown of spring felt like where only way I felt a sense of where the weeks and days are going was on Thurday’s seeing people on their doorsteps clapping for those healthworkers. For an autistic person the feeling of uncertainty and sensory processing through this pandemic has been incredibly challenging.

Without doing much in a day maybe listening to the radio, podcasts, scrolling mindlessly through twitter, Watching TV. As a means of distraction yes was boring but at the same time exhausting with the feeling like you not quite adjusted to the new alien world of keeping your distance, feeling to anxious if people come to close and being taking in some of the information, the raft of information still give sense of sensory overload. not knowing one minute to the next, How i’m doing?

With this blog series ‘Neurodivergency & Me’ acts as my own diary admittedly something I wish I started throughout the early days of lockdown. However I didn’t think then iI would’ve been in the state of mind to do these blogs as still adjusting to the new world order and not long after the period of adjusting to the fact university is for me. Not sure what is. Corona has been a distraction to that. Not thinking too much about what comes next maybe one of the positives that has come next with the pandemic. There’s a pandemic on, a jobs crisis. So something I shouldn’t fret about now.

It has been difficult throughout all this to find reasons to be optimistic. Since there’s sixth more months of this which I’ve been finding has caused to been a factor in how I how I normally refer to being ‘a dip down in my mood’ as well with the changing of the seasons I love the seasons spring and summer because the brighter days, lighter nights. Winter does affect my mood. I’m trying to do with this blog, podcast, social accounts want to work on finding the positives over the next few months.

Whilst hoping for a close to usual Christmas as usual which is difficult to say what the next months hold. Which for me is a challenge as like structure, routine, predictability. I will be exploring different means of self care recently been getting back into art at the moment trying to do some art inspired by the times and events of this year trying to connect and emote a release from the feelings it instills (also might do some landscapes I as previously blogged about like doing paintings of landscapes purely through the sense of calmness and tranquility)

The next few months I continue to write put fingers to keyboards on my feelings of as a Neurodivergent what impact the winter seasons of living through this pandemic as a Dyspraxic, Autistic with high anxiety. I know for me pacing as understand through out the few months to come likely to have the good days and the bad. Think these blogs could be good as a means of tracking my feelings and experiences in ways I might not normally. Bizarrely, I loathed the idea of expressing my thoughts and feelings in some form of a journal or diary but find this helps. I hope at least people are interested in reading this will continue. Know will need to pace myself but might’ve said this before that it is quite the challenge still feeling the burnout and shutdown of still adjusting post lockdown entering shops and public spaces.

Found being away from such places is more draining since. As the other day, when went out shopping wore a mask although due to sensory difficulties and challenges would be able to be exempt from wearing one. with feeling to anxious about breaking the rules or catching the virus. I decide to wear one but found when out on rather warm day the mask was wearing became discomforting feeling the tightness of it. Rather uncomfortable.

Look forward to continue these blogs series over the coming months feel like this entry is ended abruptly

Getting Back to It

Ive noticed have not updated the blog recently. Nor, the podcast. Finding I want to try to get back to it as already have one recording of the podcast in the bank and ready to go out with a few bits of editing to do for it. Thought I should come on and give a bit of reasoning why been delayed in content. It’s not that Ive found myself incredibly busy with anything although do have some planned podcast ideas and blogs to get around to.

but recently found myself with the changing of the seasons which can be a challenge. never quite like the time where the darker nights and colder days loom more rainy and gloomy weather. But, with the year unlike any 2020 the whole pandemic, social distancing. Find trying to process what has gone on this year has become at times overwhelming and fatiguing leaving me at times a sense of unsure of my emotions what i’m feeling think it sometimes is called alexithymia if i’m right. know many other autistic experience such thing sense of emotional comfusion of your own emotions. I’m hope this is understanding it right.

Find, some of the events and uncertainties of the last year have felt like riding a wave where at many occasions its like experiencing emotional fog or sensory fog. as processing too much or too much happening around can become overwhelming. So once asked whether. How I am? Ive answered I don’t know not that because trying to avoid stating the truth. But because I feel I simply don’t have the answer.

Feel like I’ve needed to have few weeks break or short break for recording podcasts and blog posts because don’t have the energy or in the frame of mind to be productive in creating content. I guess with the uncertainty of my mood has made me not to have the drive or spoons as some may say to create content. Which at times has been frustrating not having the energy to feel able to want to go out or about or converse as sometimes I do.

With not making content recently it maybe from a sense of sensory overload and not ready to put fingers to keyboard or mouth to mic.

As stated previously opening up about my emotions, feelings, vulnerabilities isn’t easy for me. Had to find the words to write or what to say or being comfortable to share. Found bit of rest and break is needed from the sense that feels the state of the virus crisis is going backwards than forwards. With second wave looming and more restrictions incoming and sometimes seeing it plastered all over social media, tv radio etc. Has been quite draining when you wish it would all be over and when it doesn’t quite feel real.

Many times I felt this year has felt like some weird hazy fever dream a dystopian world where every headline feels surreal and does not make sense. Probably wont ever make sense of this year. holding out for hope that 2021 is better year for things. Personally find it has been a whirlwind of emotions and still only in September already seen San Fransico look like a scene out of blade runner.

So I’m hoping to gradually start back the blogs and podcasts as need something I at least can work on and progress with but will pace it and gradually should have more episodes of the podcast out soon. Much about trying to practice self care and try to pace rhe podcasting and blogging as something I atleast have passion for just got to egnite much of the drive and motivation. So hopefully shortly have the episode with Sarah Boon out and planning to record with Christa Neuro Rebel after the interview has been delayed and also chatting with Raach with ADHD on ADHD in adulthood.

So thanks for the support can already see on twitter I’m up to 430 plus followers which am thankful for anyones support so far and to those who have streamed the first episodes of the podcast.

NeuroCast Autisticly Aaron’s Neurodivergency & Me Part One Podcast

After yesterday uploading the notes from my first interview episode with Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender. I thought today before recording the third full episode on gender identity and expression in autistic people with Christa Holmans (Neuro Rebel). I thought i’ll share the script for the second episode unable to get a guest on for that episode. I thought theres value in highlighting stuff, some stuff I’ve already discussed on the blog so far and answering some of the listeners questions. I was amazed with what I thought was going to be a short episode how much I seemed to rambled on. So below you can read just what I did say. For todays upload to make things easier for myself I thought i’d upload as it is thats why there is such spacing as with my podcast scripts prefer to space it out to make it easier to read.

Podcast Spoken Script

Hello, thanks for finding us and choosing to listen to the neurocast podcast by me Autisitcly Aaron 

Hope You’ve subscribed and shared the podcaster if so consider yourself a neurosqaudcaster I’m 

hoped you enjoyed my chat with Sophie Shalom Lavender didn’t she make for a great first guest 

I’m hoping you felt it sounded great still finding myself still getting used to this not getting too 

Much of a dry mouth from rambling on. And hoping that as this podcast grows i can atleast get 

used to editing and scripting it and getting used to communicating the ideas from paper into 

audio. Sometimes recording feels bit of a blur with all the multi-tasking needed for it to be able to

do the technical bits and reading of a page and not trying to go of piece. Ive go got a few 

messages, support from my own mother proud that I’m doing this and close friends so thanks for 

that. Ive had a pretty exhausting week not going to lie think at a state of burnout and been 

needing to recharge, probably finding since although been out a fair few times find going out in 

The post lockdown era that it becomes more exhausting on you, as with it been a hot and 

bothersome august if looking at the weather we’ve had a hot august and found that had certain 

challenges for myself the humidity, in the heatwave and thunderstorms have made it difficult for

Myself to function but found, going out over lockdown is been challenging adapting to new 

changes which I’ve found can be challenging for neurodivergents as with being dyspraxic i find

There are quite a few challenges with navigating through the maze that is now shopping never 

Thought shopping would be such a puzzle know it’s sometimes difficult finding what you

Want to buy but never thought I would have to think of where I’m stepping and have been 

alarmed at quite so many not wearing masks. I’m perfectly understanding some neuro-squad 

casters maybe unable to wear a mask for sensory challenges or various health conditions 

But can wear a sunflower hidden disabilities lanyard to show that you are exempt. But have found 

That there needs to be people wearing them for those who cant and what is the most alarming for 

People whom haven’t been wearing face masks the lack of distance keeping between people as 

I feel for those who cant wear mask for medical reasons or sensory challenges, people should 

Respect social distancing to ensure their safety. In coming episodes i will be looking to gloss over

The experiences neurodivergents face because of the pandemic interms of the affects of working 

At home and how with time to reflect and adapt working ethos whether other neurodivergents 

Found means of adjustments in working from home and if theres anything learnt about what us 

Neurodivergents and looking at how the coronavirus has affected care and support of people in 

healthcare and education whether their needs have been met and whether neurodivergents 

Feel comfortable to go back to lecture theatres or the classroom. Looking different aspects of 

The new world post pandemic pandemic world 

I also from Deviant dyspraxia who I’ve shouted out in the last podcast said to was well planned 

And had a good structure I’m glad I’ve felt it seems I’ve cohesively pieced together in a structure 

others appreciate. She also got my accent spot on welsh, I’m atleast hoping others could 

compare my voice to the likes of Micheal Sheen or Anthony Hopkins wishful thinking of course 

but 10 points to deviant dyspraxic i say. 

I also like to thank someone who was in sixth form with me DM’d me to say she gave it a listen 

and cant wait for the next one unsure if she would wish she would want to be named on the pod 

but I see you and thank you for your support. We are in the teens of listeners might not be 

incredibly high but just am happy that people actually tuned in to listen where ever you may found 

this know i was able to find it on apple podcasts so happy about that.

Am glad that people are finding this a educational and inciteful listen so far, know I’m still learning 

My self which i need to do from others others kind enough to have the patience to share.

Personally finding myself in the postion, where I personally can tell you about my own 

experiences personally due to many people being preoccupied with other projects having a tight 

schedules and different people taking breaks and holidays at the end of august getting ready to 

start different projects the people I’ve been enquiring have not quite been able to get on the 

podcast however am hoping that can get Neuro Rebel, a leading figure in neurodivergent 

advocacy on the podcast in the up and coming weeks to discuss further gender identity and 

expression as know that autistic people when compared to the allistic population to be more 

Fluid with our gender identities being more able to divergent from social norms and conventions 

Know there are a large percentage of people who are autistic and identify as so that are likely to 

use identify more with using terms under the umbrella of LGBTQIA+ and not representative of all

Autistics at all but do get intouch with your thoughts experiences and comments on this. However 

Due to the fatigue recently been experiencing possibly down to the mental exhaustion of 

processing what seems like an endless year 2020 tiresome for all have to admit, so been unable 

to plan this episode too much and feel the motivation to record this, as found myself just 

endulging on episodes of the comedy Everybody hates Chris, something i will want to address 

further in the segment of the podcast ‘my interests and me’ i thought in leading up to setting out 

more themed episodes I’d do an episode highlighting a semi regular feature, which I’m hope it i 

can expand to become more interacting answering your questions. Ive thought since I’ve been 

wanting to get the swing of podcasting and be more comfortable, even though seem chatty on 

my own twitter feed maybe too much see myself as self confessed social media addict dont think 

this isnt too far from others a simular age of me. But find it is great to engae with the autistic 

community. But with this podcast comes a new challenge talking about myself, my own 

experiences opening up and finding through speaking about it outloud my autistic self I’m 

introducing a feature that will go hand in hand with the chats I’m going to have with my guests in 

Which is still to me a nerve wracking thing, as i know future interviews planning for this going to 

be different style to last weeks chat with Sophie Lavander as she sent me a recorded mp 3 audio 

file of pre selected questions and did it like that, I always find talking to others yes a`n exciting 

thing but feel many neurodivergents understand the way even opening up can tie your stomach in 

Knots so will definately in embarking on that venture will have a sense of anxiety for sure but will 

gain so much from that and would then would have to invest in recording equipment. So last 

weeks headline segment was neurodivergency and us but today its neurodivergency and me 

like my guests will do, share. it is a pivotal thing i think in terms of growing trust in this platform. 

I want to discuss themes I can relate to and learn from others so in this episode I’m going to be 

glossing over in the first o part of this segment different thoughts and experiences on future 

conversations coming soon.  Last week, We discussed function labels with 

Sophie Shalom Lavender last week and want to give you a taster of what this means for me. I was 

originally ten years ago i think if my memory serves right was orignally diagnosed with Asperger’s 

Syndrome, considered then at time of diagnoses. Then to be mild which I don’t think is the case 

for my self as to be the case Ive never been fully comfortable or able to venture out on my own 

with out some form of company or assistance what does go unrecognised is how much 

People by the terms of medical diagnoses, dont convey in the terms of mild that simply be 

Mild to severe. As the old diagnoses terms don’t recognise how much we mask any one unsure of 

What this term means in this context is when an autistic person attempts to blend in and fit in to 

the background of a non autistic society which since really since Ive began to find out what my 

autism means for my self only really in recent years. Ive realised how much I’ve masked, I never 

felt entirely comfortable with disclosing my diagnoses with my peers in school of being dyspraxic 

and Autistic although in my class in school came across people who had diagnsoes of autism and 

dyspraxia but felt an anxiety from within that made me unsure to open up in front of others was 

very shy in terms of sharing my vulnerability side or not sure what it meant for me to be autistic i 

Mean it wouldve went a long way if they could teach that in school. Its only in recent years that i 

bucked up the confidence to open up about my self text others to share my diagnsoes others i 

was trusting of and with this podcast i guess is the cringy thing and the cheesiest thing of telling 

you my story. Which in fact is incredibly challenging for myself as I until recently dreaded the idea 

Of putting myself out there and quite feared being exposed and out there in public as think

I with sometimes with anxiety and history of masking means for me. That Ive always feared social 

Judgement. But now with the pandemic like many and might be repeating of what i said before

In the first podcasts that it has given me a fresh pespective of being able to find my voice.

It isnt easy but i think I’ve been inspired by the voices within the community to just this.

Ive also find with recent challenges with change the corona-virus pandemic and personally 

struggled and had to remove myself for the sake of my own mental health from university i was 

Unable to function in a new set of change. Functioning with being dyspraxic, also is a major issue 

Thats why i find i cant be boxed into either being labelled as having Asperger’s syndrome or mildly 

Autistic. I am autistic, this will never change. And through the uncertainty over the past few 

months given me time to reflect and think on what i need to make happen for myself, I know I 

personally feel like i need to change somethings so any change i need to make in the future works 

for me want to be able to unmask and let my guard down. Its incredibly difficult for me to do

That when can be in a room with few people conversing with background noise and that sensory 

Input is too difficult for me, I’ve recently invested in ear defenders, finding myself getting used to 

wearing them around the house need to still over come a sense of judgment to feel free from 

anxiety which comes hand in hand with social norms. Social norms for an autistic person an 

autistic person for myself don’t come naturally for myself yes have tried masking but my brain

Just isnt fit to think of what people are really feeling how to be independent and sociable at

Times this is down to sensory and emotional challenges atleast for me.

Ive always struggled with the idea of going out and about with my peers outside of school hours 

as said struggle with the consept of independence due to social challenges of expected to 

encounter new people in new environments feel safe in navigating an environment with many 

distractions. However, I’ve always managed to find a way of seeming personable and popular 

amongst my peers as I still like to thank those who voted me as Prom King just last year 2019. 

The experience of me going to prom was challenging as i was uncertain and never like that feeling 

Of leaving something behind. No this time i didnt leave any thing behind wait did think i remember 

Left a certificate card and photos behind a terrible mistake I know got caught in the blur of the 

night i met a few nice people people who valued me. Then I didnt know what direction I was 

heading in but also got into a state of panic on the bus over bit of a sensory overload think with 

Hindsight it was due to the loud merriment of people happy of going out and celebrating their 

time in sixth form in style the people behind me could tell I was anxious hyperventilating tried their 

best to calm me down. 

I’ve put out a request the day before recording about any questions for me to address in the o 

podcast about me or my conditions to get to know me. One question I’ve had from Callum, 

Callum Brazo thank you for your question Callum asked wondering how i relax and express

Myself? Personally I do find still with creating this platform finding out how express myself as 

As recently have had the ability to look back on how my by Ive masked my whole life and 

Still know at an point  still finding myself thats ok, still very much young only 119 for a few weeks 

Atleast dont feel i look it so finding out how i can express and find a gather sense of o pride and 

Ownership of myslef and have the determination to seek out how to find my autistic identity as

Found when tried university that wasn’t personally for me. Never say never, but dont see it 

Happening soon, as need to find out what resaonable adjustment i need to introduce 

To find more confidence and able to feel more comfortable with creating more of an environment 

To suit me. So saying still challenging to express myslef but am becoming to twitter has sort of 

been a tool for me to do that, I’ve atleast want to see my gender as being a less rigid consept or 

expected to be masculine. Callum also asked what helps me relax planning on doing future 

episodes on self interests and go deeper on my own special interests but sometimes find what 

helps me relax is listening to music or watching comedies or always enjoy comedies because i 

Personally find its good release and escapism, relatable and light hearted personally find any 

Dramas can be too much as I become over empathetic for the characters did enjoy The Crown 

one of a few dramas I’ve decided to watch the  Aberfan episode was a tear jerker. But also love 

painting, love painting especially landscapes of beaches so relaxing, i find different ways i relax 

feed into my own interests which plan to talk about on future episodes of this as discussing 

others interests.

Callum, asked also about autism culture education to what it is now to what i was in education I’m 

19 almost 20 born in the year 2000 so find there isnt as much of seperationalism to then and now 

due to fairly recently left education in the wider scope of things but see personally looking back 

At my own experiences i recognise i was fortunate and privileged to not to have the some of the 

experiences of the levels of bullying and how much school was traumatic for other 

neurodivergents out there personally on reflection see that blow education needs to go a long way 

Still to be seen as being inclusive of neurodivergents in the classroom as yes was able to access

Support it wasn’t easy to feel like able to ask for support and sometimes teaching is taught in a 

way that doesnt quite fit into the style of learnings of different neurotypes which you are made to 

Feel like you need to mask still at the place of education remember that still expect to function as 

being high functioning in the classroom and that still feel asking for support isnt normalised and 

isnt encouraged and sometimes students can be made to feel if a place is going out of their 

Way to respect your needs and remember encountering sensory challenges. I would if I could 

change anything is for teachers to talk to students like their on their level and the effects constant

Sanctioning for forgetful behaviour etc can have on students listen to what we need dont get 

outraged when we might have certain challenges or miscommunication things. Also feel since

Teachers are needed to be trained how to support neurodivergent students same should apply for 

students. I’d least hope, if in school i could have learnt about autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia as i and 

a few others in my classes had such conditions how to learn about these conditions might allow 

us to not hide and try to blend in to the background. Do remember, we had lessons on racism 

although was quite vague and general might’ve not been put in a context that we could have the

Conversations we needed to have with our classmates about racism. But still we heard about the 

term racism but not ableism which was apt for a school which most of it was due to having most 

classes on different floors of the building with no elevator lacking in accessiblity. So find still for 

many disabled students more needs to be done. Especially understanding what our needs are for 

dealing with the changes from sixth forms to universities to on how to navigate environments 

which are a challenging for us to be in.

Hope i didn’t go to far on in that point. But since I want to have such conversations want to be 

able to link to my own experiences want this podcast to be wide outlook with a personal tone:

Question here actually series of questions by Billy from ‘dyspraxic help for you’ one of my 

supporters with this and working on sorting out some stuff together with this soon details 

Still to be sorted. But billy asked me, what from being neurodivergent made me want to push for 

change further as Ive been interestied in change for a while engaged and been outspoken on 

what change we as a collective and with being interest in politics was originally before 

Got to much for my own anxiety was studying politics in university for a very short period as 

stated earlier, but interested recently in recent times with the whole idea of politics of the people

When looking at democracy political movements like what saw around brexit campaigns both 

sides of the argument, crip the vote me too extinction rebellion and Black Lives Matter seeing 

how people emphasis on who felt empassioned about a certain cause or wanting certain change 

To make it happen still not there. But conversations are needed to be had for a while with my own 

Personal experiences recognising my own priveledge of course but also noticing. How being 

Autistic and dyspraxic further change is needed to stamp out inequalities and find I am for ever 

Larnijng still of how to do this and with trying to work with other Neurodivergents find how I’m 

Able to do this as with learning from their experiences and different ways of what change needed 

To see. Accepting nuance in this and time to learn and be persuaded of others. Find this will come 

More apparent soon with this.

The second question I’ve had from Billy is on quite an a matter within Westminster politics 

regarding this what one thing i would do differently about implementing a neurodivergency role 

shadow minister in parliament. Well for this to happen would see that thieve would need to be 

A junior minster role int the government for this role to exist. Think all parties labour Lib Dem’s 

greens and even the conservatives should atleast have party groups of neurodivergent members

To discuss party policy on neurodivergency. But we need to look at how parliament can become

More inclusive to neurodivergents and for all disabled peopl whether its looking at different means 

Of teaching students politics in school. But to look at infrastructural stuff like how we can get 

more disabled people on the ballot box feel the atmosphere and the lighting and many other stuff 

sensory challenges would need to change for neurodivergents or diabled people and the archaic

Structure of parliament isnt designed with disabled people in mind neither is the constitition. We 

need to look at how we get disabled people leading in politics from the frontline inn the cabinet or 

even in the office of number ten and this comes with encouraging disabled people to be politically 

Active which i mean sometimes it feels like we have no choice due to the whole case of who will 

Stand along side us and fight our battles so to speak 

The third question from billy is are you impassioned enough to to get into politics and from what i 

Gather through what he asked links abit into my last point but about how to make more 

representation in politics of diabled people and able to disclose it when this would enable to 

See greater representation. I personally think its a case of never say never, but would find I’m still 

finding out what i want to do but dont think i would be rushing for a seat on the green or red 

benches with the polarised state of politics feels so hostile and find the current political 

atmosphere and as said abot in the previous point about the architectur of politics would need too 

change to see a career in Westminster in our reach. Feel like we also need for people to come 

To a comfortable positions to disclose disabilities if they are out there in public eye or even in the 

work place we need to have conversations to address ableisms and address the social attitudes 

with or peers but also think about how we want to be represented in the media or at all we don’t

Even though with our neurodivergencies or disabilities might find challenges many wouldn’t want 

to use language like ‘suffering’ ‘edebilitiating’ ‘restricted’ or ‘confined’ to describe our selves 

otherwise that makes it seem that we aren’t given a space within the means of establishment 

power. This has to change. Something I’m determined to working on and will want to have certain 

Conversation as about soon on this. Passionate about this and say ‘politics’ the troubling thing 

that it is sometimes feel you dont feel like you choose your interests as a neurodivergent but some 

Do stick 

sorry I wasn’t able to release this on intended saturday. Needed bit of me time this week to feel 

Able to do the recording finding that this year has been exhausting and has definately effected my 

own functioning and or as some say spoons means of stating energy never quite know how to 

Quantify that but always thought batteries was a more fitting term as see some times when need 

To pace or need bit of time out as recharge time 

I initially said on social media aiming to get it out by Sunday the first episode but was finished 

over a few hours of a Saturday afternoon, so intend to make as with the trailer episode was 

released on a saturday. To make it into my routine of uploading it on a Saturday. So aiming in the 

coming weeks to have different episodes on change where as many students go back to school 

to be able to look at this further, look at chronic illnesses, mental health and self care during the 

coronavirus pandemic, gender identity 

Ive also been since creating this platform been bubbling away and sprouting different ideas for 

this podcast which can make it difficult to hone in on one singular segment or feature idea for the 

Podcast at a time but with plans for this podcast in the coming months intend for to do a week of 

podcast for Dyspraxia and Dyslexia awareness week maybe bite size episodes few minutes long 

answering different questions explaining different traits and terms around those conditions where 

you may have questions to answer and occasionally want to be able to do a chat a light chat 

where since mental health and wellness is a key component of the lives of neurodivergents so in 

The winter months, the dark winter months can be a challenge for many peoples mental health 

and with the coronavirus pandemic for some of us this may make things worse for us due to the

Uncertainty that lies ahead want to be able to create on this platform inspired by people using the 

#NotAloneTalk hashtag on Twitter which is run by a few people, inspired by their work to create 

A space where can discuss different neurodivergent issues affecting us to create a conversation 

around mental health and self care talk about different hobbies and interests etc.

Can you make sure that you subscribe and leave a review on apple podcasts subscribe on anchor 

and spotify. Also going to be working on putting these episodes out on Youtube so any one has 

any advice to the transcribing them for youtube as might help make it more interactive and 

accessible. Do email nd.neuronews@gmai.com tweet us or contact us on facebook or Instagram 

for any thoughts and ideas. Big thanks to shalom lavender Sophie for designing our new logo was 

looking for some thing more stylish and her design was amazing. Get intouch for questions or get 

intouch if want to be a guest maybe once get recording equipment could record some question 

And answers on twitch or instagram live streams then package for the podcast get intouch if you 

like that idea want to become more pro active on this. Atleast through, times that lies ahead 

uncertainties and all that really unsure what to do and guess the pandemic has lead me to being 

Distracted with finding their next step so find in a same boat as others. So glad for this platform 

Just about finding the motivation on weeks when become so exhausted.

Thanks for listening 

End.

Do check back soon for more trandcripts and notes from podcast recordings and more from my blogging as for my 20th birthday this week aim to take a retrospective look to tell you more about me in a post ‘Not Nineteen Forever’. You will hopefully see more content shortly about #StimPrideShowcase

NeuroCast Podcast: The First One, Neurodivergency & Us: Autisticly Aaron Chat With Sophie ‘Shalom Lavender

logo of podcast rainbow background with an off-white boarder with a microphone in the background of the rainbow coloured background in the foreground white text with neurocast with an infinity symbol in the middle of text on the boarder at top says presented by autisticly Aaron bottom boarder text for ND Neuro News designed by podcast guest Sophie Lavender

Sarah Boon On Zoom and Chewigem Stim Pride Showcase NeuroCast By Autisticly Aaron For ND Neuro News

The fresh voice in neurodivergency returns with the third episode in the series of neurocast Autisticly Aaron presents new features with Lorraine from Chewigem telling us about her business in Stim Pride Showcase a new weekly feature on the podcast. With Autisticly Aaron’s first time behind the ND Neuro News desk bringing you some of the latest takes from news, current affairs from within the community and the return of the question and answer feature ‘Ask Autisticly Aaron‘ now weekly. New format with new for NeuroCast. Tweet us @ndneruonews use the #neurocast or email nd.neuronews@gmail..com. Also here Autisticly Aaron chatting about what is #stimpridesunday Today’s headline feature guest is Sarah Boon Autistic, Dyslexic with ADHD chats to Autisticly Aaron’s first Zoom chat in their first interview conducted over zoom. Went quite swimmingly chatting Self diagnoses and unmasking and what lead to her diagnoses. It was a pleasure to be joined by Sarah and Lorraine from Chewigem in this episode. Sarah also stated that she has. a new Neuro-pride webstore selling autistic and neurodivegency pride mugs and t-shirts. chatted also about her masters degree which she recently finished in psychology and her experineces with researching her autism and ADHD looking at whether theres gender inequality in the diagnoses process for neurodivegent people and an economic and social inequality leading to the necessity of self diagnoses. Thanks for listening neuro-squad-casters rate and review us on itunes to allow for this podcast to grow and share this with people on your social media platforms  Back after a few weeks can view the wordpress blog to find out out about the delay as well as the transcript come in within the week on the blog with links to Chewigem and Sara Boon’s new on-line merch shop Thanks again, Autisticly Aaron — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/neurocastbyautisticlyaaro/message
  1. Sarah Boon On Zoom and Chewigem Stim Pride Showcase
  2. Autisticly Aaron’s Neurodiversity & Me Part 1
  3. The First One, Neurodivergency & Us: Autisticly Aarons chat with Sophie Lavender
  4. NeuroCast is Neuro Fresh: Coming Soon

Descriptor:

In the first episode with feature guest Sophie Shalom Lavender an autistic, dyspraxic comedian and YouTuber who has on this podcast shared about her experiences with the pandemic and her interests also Autisticly Aaron gives you a more in-depth look at what you can expect from this podcast. remember to subscribe share and follow nd neuro news on social media email us and follow our guest Sophie Lavender twitter, instagram and tin Tok and of course subscribe to her YouTube channel social media accounts for Sophie is Shalom Lavender. more to come soon.

Disclaimer: what you are reading might not be word from word what was said on the podcast but is largely representative of what was said keeping in most of the details most of these notes of the conversation are taken from the podcast scripture notes as much easier to gain accuracy and what was taken from recording was from the segments of recorded guests these blog post transcriptions will feature helpful commentary thoughts to give the reader insight I will work on describing the mood and the tone of the conversations expect that this to be a trial and error as these transcriptions are written manually.

Spoken On Podcast, Introduction by Host Autisticly Aaron (AJW)

Firstly I on the podcast as at the beginning I started with reading out shout outs and messages that I received from listeners messages sent in from listeners the first one was from Chloe (Deviant Dyspraxic)

Side Note

I recommend that our listeners email nd.neuronews@gmail.com or @ndneuronews on twitter I’m very active on twitter and will be able to quickly respond to your tweets and am regularly checking through the emails for this address

I then went on to state that Chloe has been working on her own podcast coming soon. she also has been working with Pete Guest who’s created the platforms Dyspraxia & Life and Dyspraxic Circle creating the Dyspraxic Women Circle Support group and has created a separate Facebook group for LGBTQIA+ Dyspraxics which Im a moderator of you can request to join if that’s of interest to you. she expressed big congratulations on launching the platform that is this podcast which coincides with ND Neuro News still in its infancy

Side Note

Although still in its infancy finding that I’m developing a sense of progress and direction for this platform with ideas for the podcast, blog, social media and video content if you are able to contribute to producing editorial content and writing blog posts for us as well as featuring on the podcast as well as doing videos for social media do get in touch

I’m amazed by the warm and kind responses and comments with creating this podcast and to those who have taken time to follow us on instagram and twitter and to those who’ve read the blog and who have subscribed on Spotify to listen to the first ever episode. Chloe has played an influential role in creating this platform, thanks for her support. I’ve also had support from Billy from Dyspraxic Help 4 U. Billy, like myself has his own podcast which if you follow us on twitter you would’ve seen me promote he’s had on his podcast Jon Hastings winner of America’s Got Talent, Jon Hastings, a Dyspraxic comic and Angus Munro would like to be able to do a future podcast collaboration with Billy in the future once got this fully set up. was pleased to here how much he’s enjoyed it and liked it.

The idea of presenting a podcast is both nerve wracking and exciting, Ive also subscribed to my own podcast and listened back to the trailer I must say I’m very much pleased with the platform that I’ve created that I can open up about my own experiences and discuss my own experiences being both autistic and dyspraxic why isn’t an easy feeling (to open up and broadcast via an oral speaking medium) was pleasantly supreised with the sound of it, matter of trail and errors in getting it how I want to sound.

Segway link – Introduction to what you can expect to hear or if reading this via transcript of the podcast read of what was said

Introducing the tone and the basis of this the meat or tofu of this podcast if you like me are a vegetarian. On this podcast am aiming to discuss a whole host of different issues and sub-sections of the umbrella term ‘neurodivergency’. In the podcast expect to hear (or read) a segment called neurodivergency and us where I’ll be chatting to different like minded and varying neurodivergent guests from the public eye advocates and activists mainly in the community. talk about work that they are doing of differing views and ideas to be able to voice and soundboard different ideas in the ‘rethink’ segment a segment of this podcast looking at how in an era of ‘Build Back Better’ politics in a post pandemic era, focusing on fresh ideas fresh and alternative thinking passing the megaphone for people who have different solutions to problems neurodivergents face. Aiming to do some work around this for next years Send, Holyrood and regional council and mayoral elections in the United Kingdom next year focusing on key issues that affect neurodivergents, looking at policy and the research. I’m aiming to do more work around ‘StimPrideShowcase’ and ‘Stim Pride Sunday’ celebrating and highlighting stimming and different stimming behaviours

Side Note: have a section on this blog and webpage of what is stimming and have done a blog post explaining what stim pride Sunday embedded in a video by Auntie Autie from Youtube

you will also going to hear a segment called ‘What Is’ breaking down and terminology and jargon and ideas that the neuro-squad-casters might want to be explained or to bring awareness and highlight looking of with this feature to start with recording in this series on What is – Dyscalculia, Executive Functioning, Stimming etc.

Feature Segment Link

On to my first guest on Neurcast’s Neurodivergency and Us is autistic, dyspraxic and have adhd. Youtuber Sophie Lavender.

Side Note

the means I conducted this interview is unconventional and different to how these epsidodes will be regularly recorded for future recordings going to be able to record via zoom in a loose and free flowing conversation with prompt questions to direct the conversation. However, this interview was done by me sending questions to my Guest, Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender via email she then via WeTransfer sent an email to me with the questions recorded and responses. So whilst I suggested the topics and ideas. In post editing edited my responses in with editing software

Feature Interview – Autisticly Aaron Chats with Shalom Lavender

Firstly, I began with asking her about her experiences and how the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the crisis to change all of our lives affected her?

Lockdown for Sophie, she said meant that she had to isolate as a shielded person, in a vulnerable group medically speaking. She spoke of how for her it was challenging to resist the temptation, the temptation to go out to bars and restaurants. To her it was a real change, a change that seemed to occur overnight, change which for an autistic person is challenging. Change raised anxiety and for Sophie she was engaged in quite a few interests, special interests, prior to lockdown. That once lockdown was announced was difficult removing from key interests which became routine. She said she was having driving lessons and, in her words, described herself as being driven by driving.

I in editing the podcast decided to weigh in with my delight of how she has with me for my podcast shared her frank and honest experiences with the changes and challenges with learning to live with the changes we faced when the beginning of the coronavirus. When for many of us felt like the rug was lifted from over us. A turbulent time which many of us didn’t quite know to process much like myself. I was pleased how like with what me and Sophie discussed prior to recording about discussing special interests, the interests of our neurodivergent guests in a segment on this podcast called ‘Me and My Interests’ Sophie was willing to discuss her interests of driving and also photography. 

When on recording she resumed talking she talked about the challenges, the overwhelming feeling of having to drop commitments and habitual interests like photography. Mainly Sophie enjoys taking photos of people and places, occasionally products. As a comedian she lost stand-up gigs which in her own words was ‘distressing’. She realised how she had to find the means of overcoming the hurdles that the coronavirus pandemic created. Realising now with her free time away from her comedy gigs and driving lessons she had the time the opportunity to do something she didn’t before quite have the time to do to create YouTube videos. Initially she described how it puzzled her stressful experience of what to make videos about.

I then again paused her interview when editing to chip on how in the first episode it was helpful to have someone who has had a bit more experience than myself at outputting content on their neurodivergent conditions, something which Sophie Lavender later in the interview told me about. I also said without the coronavirus pandemic a chance to pause reflect, this platform this blog you reading this interview and this podcast that this interview was initially recorded for might’ve  not exist without the distraction that enabled such innovation, I might say the initiative to start being more frank and honest in a new sense of openness. 

With recommendations from a friend she initially began her YouTube venture doing a question answer session. Which I personally with this blog, podcast and social media want to engage with to make our content seem interactive for my audience. She with her Question and Answer sessions described how it was very much a learning curve as with stating she isn’t some sort of professional with all the answer no psychology. Although how much she may be interested in psychology, which she did state on the record, she emphasised she was no professional. But like myself with researching and engaging with the neurodivergent community wanted from the perspective of an autistic and dyspraxic person, she with added ADHD wanted to give an education and people to learn with what it’s like being a neurodivergent person through the voice of neurodivergent person but through an informed and educated perspective. When talking about her fascination with psychology she expressed her interest with the workings of the mind which from my own voyage of the autistic community online seems to be a common theme. Something she doubt that it would’ve happen with out the coronavirus. As I stated previously interrupting the recording that creating this platform me is key with my own personal exploration through my own diagnoses of autism and dyspraxia and exploring my own interest of getting to know what this means to me.

After my brief interruption, Lavender stated how with the coronavirus that finding of how to turn such a difficult time for herself to a positive was essential in handling lockdown for her she said that with creating her YouTube channel with now multitude of videos some, exploring her unique humour as a comic as can see on her Tik Tok channel allowed her to create friends online. Also, Lavender ha been able regain confidence which she said she in the past year that she lost with challenges dealing with bouts of anxiety and the importance of looking for the positives and to find something positive to focus other energy on during lockdown with being unable to work. She stated her thoughts of those who’ve have had to return to work, return to shops, the offices. As she stated venturing back out only a few times to the local hops has for her been uneasy for the buzz of the chaotic energy.

 Which for me personally been finding a struggle to re-adapt to after in lockdown being able to be in an environment yes emotionally challenging one due to the anxiety and the bleak and at times depressing process of adapting to what felt like a dystopian world. Something that was at first and still to an extent nerve wracking due to the volatility of not wuite feeling safe from the virus and the need of social distancing. Has for me still a challenging to be able to go out to the shops although technically could be exempt from wearing a mask choose to for the comfort of safety. Personally, found its been increasingly challenging to mask in a neurotypical world after lockdown. It seems somehow it is more challenging in terms of sensory processing to mask and adhere to loud noises, bright lights and crowds which comes with entering public spaces from lockdown. I also in conversation talked about how for myself also whilst finding hurdles and challenges throughout the coronavirus pandemic so far it has given some positives the space to reflect and find motivation and a newfound perspective to find my own voice to open up about my own autism and dyspraxia. In ways unlike before.

Returning to what Sophie said in the interview her discomfort from researching the history of the language used within the autistic community, stated that she always loathed the use of functioning labels finding them non-representative of what truly is autism. I concur. She like me was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which isn’t no longer used in diagnoses only in recent years. Autism Spectrum Disorder is the now used blanket term to refer to any autistic person whilst some see their diagnoses not as a disorder but a condition. Lavender, referred to one key reason she doesn’t like me refer to herself as having Asperger’s Syndrome like myself now enlightened on the association Hans Asperger with the workings of the fascist and antisemitic Nazi Germany state which if you want to find out more can research that yourself. Lavender not wanting to pass on any disinformation and fake news looked to talk about her issues with the ableist uses of functionating labels with those who agree with the uses of the term Asperger Syndrome and High and low functioning labels, a visible existing hierarchy. Someone who does this see stated are non-autistics stating the importance of learning the context and history of the terms and language in terms of autism Expressed her approval of the dropping of the term ‘aspie’ becoming unfashionable. I concur, autistic and being autistic is something I now prefer over Asperger’s or having autism.

Following from this in the interview, Lavender expressed frankly how she finds the conversations and discourse around autism and ADHD or neurodivergency for that matter seems to be discussed in such away like as if we aren’t in the room. Stating we have more in common than we are unlike, but not always seeming on the same path. She then emphasised the point emotively with passion and true heart that well we as ‘autistic people have hearts, feeling and empathy and that we do feel’ dispelling any myths and untruths that as autistic people we don’t feel stating that we express as autistic, dyspraxic, people with adhd, neurodivergents express emotion. Unsurprisingly, with my own thought on the matter expressed yet again how much we have in common on such issues I did concur expressing how empathy something I’ve now discussed in my series of blog posts Neurodivergency and Me, how with knowing that there are more senses than the five we are told about see and have theorised that empathy and emotion are senses of their own and that we due to processing difficulties that we express this different from how social norms and conventions around how it is perceived we should by social conventions in a neurotypical society.     Our brains are naturally a neurodivergent, our neuropathies diverge from social conventional cognitive norms.

Listen to us, listen to our experiences, good can only come from that, Lavender exclaimed. 

Deciding to move the conversation on since I knew Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender herself is a comic I wanted to ask her about her interest of comedy. I myself enjoy the art and comedy as in the words of Marie Kondo ‘it sparks joy’ pure and simple. Lavender, when asked about her comedic influences she listed Bo Burnham the American comic who much like Lavender has used YouTube as a tool to share his comedy using music and song within his comedy seems to be a common theme in her influences. Lavender stated with her comedy Burnham influenced her style so much that she is said to use a Burnham Blueprint; listing also influences who have inspired her from the world of music comedy and parody as Weird Al and Jack Black’s music ventures with Tenacious D. She listed her times of enjoying shows such as the IT Crows and South Park to modern classics such as Brooklyn 99 starring Andy Sandberg in a police comedy and The Good Place which I personally state as one of the best comedies to come out within the past decade with the likes of Ted Danson and the former voice of the official charts soundtrack to my former Sundays in a comedy exploring philosophy and ethics of theories of utilitarianism and deontology in a surreal after like hypothetical situation thought provoking cleverly written education with whit. Comedy is like Lavender an interest of my own as enjoy the work of political satirism as a means of understanding and the state of current affairs in the modern era of populist politics seems to link in and bridge with my other interests.

Reverting to Lavenders thoughts on neurodivergency on what change we need and how people should perceive us she references the quote she found fitting to describe neurodivergent people ‘different not less’ a quote associated with the autism awareness movement and the figure Dr. Temple Grandin stating it something that she heard at time of her own diagnoses and found that it summed upon what she thought. Different Not Less.

When it came to discuss her thoughts on what changes she thought would be needed to see to make the neurotypical world more accessible and inclusive. ‘Unlocking the door’ the words Lavender used that we need to break down the barriers we face as autistic, dyspraxic and people with ADHD the words she used. She stated with ‘unlocking the door’ whether it is designing a building or planning an event neurodivergent people need to be considered and listened to. Listing that with understanding autism it mustn’t be the tropes seen within popular culture and television like the character Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Stated that there may be one autistic person likened to Sheldon. However, ‘autism is a spectrum’ Lavender said, ‘we’re all different but all beautiful’. ‘People must look at the world through our lens’ very important in understanding neurodivergent people our needs and interests, I think. She then re utters her points ‘it’s about making the right accommodations with events and buildings’ she explained, from my own perspective and thinking about understanding the sensory challenges which is difficult since every autistic person is different than the next never the less an essential step if we are to make the world more inclusive of different neurotypes, that is. She with me tired of using the ‘p’ word the past few months (pandemic, that is) stated ‘Autism isn’t the pandemic ableism’ which I’ve felt is much about the ableisms of those who perceive it is something which needs curing which if you ask autistic people they likely to say different.

With the ambitions of starting #StimPrideSunday a weekly celebration of stimming behaviours, something I’ve already blogged about and referenced on @NDNeuroNews on twitter and Instagram with more on the Neurocast Podcast soon. Asked Sophie how she stims stated that she engages in the repetitive behaviours known as stimming whether its rocking on her computer chair, combing through her hair, playing with her phone pop socket until it broke or fiddling with jewellery if accessorised with her clothes. Her stims are dependent on where she is or what she’s wearing example she used is how for her stroking her dog is for her calming and soothing for her own anxieties when she’s downstairs with her dog, majestically calming. If it can spin it can be spun.

When I chatted to her ahead of our interview in the list of her special interests, she listed that travel is another interest of hers. So, I thought I ask her about that. Firstly, asking her favourite places she visited she replied with an answer she thought might sound surprising yet wouldn’t be my own personally I understood. Vegas, she said ‘why would an autistic person like Vegas of all people not leaving what happens in Vegas, in Vegas. Listed the bright illuminating lights the loud music and background noises whether it’s coming  from the slot machines sounding like arcades and the video game candy crush or whether it would be the clubbing and the raucous atmosphere that is woven into the fabric of Las Vegas, there’ everything she could she at every corner of her eye. Sensory hell? Most likely for myself although can’t comment never ventured to the city of Las Vegas. Whenever Lavender travels she’s a sensory seeker. Although saying this Lavender feared of getting her autism card revoked. Stating the bright lights and the dopamine of a city that never sleeps adheres to ‘the ADHD side of her brain’ she exclaimed. She then went on to say Disney land, another place she visited on her travels a confessed fan of Disney Lavender said on the record. Whilst a lover of culture preciously Sophie been to Barcelona and Greece. The globe trotter she is a sensory seeker on her journeys whilst bring more of a sensory avoider whilst at home, not a fan of countryside trips she added. She finds since it’s an interest of her allowed her to explore and venture to seek out sensory experiences on her travels. 

Going on to talk about her hopes and ambitions for the future of her YouTube content. She hopes once she is, after shielding from the coronavirus and able to travel, that she is able to start a series of video diaries on her next travels telling her YouTube subscribers what it is like to travel being neurodivergent and with helpful tips she’s picked up on the way. Referencing from her time she went to Las Vegas she planned for a situation and a scenario that even in the loud and crowded space that is Las Vegas. If she were to have a sensory overload, shutdown or meltdown she’d knew what to do. Describing a time that she was able to find a quiet corner in the Hard Rock café to sit in. Recognising for every neurodivergent person when travelling will face challenges which can be different for every neurodivergent person.

In terms of sensory seeking she said with such joy that she wants it all could hear her voice gleaming of the time she went on a detective experience which she exclaimed in such glee. One tip about traveling she did drop on the podcast that when she went to Disney land Paris, she was entitled to a que skip card.

In terms of masking and unmasking referenced the theatre another of her many interests to add. She highlighted theatre and how learnt facial expressions from that allowed to unmask and enjoy the experience as her autistically self. Her loves of a thrilling lively environment which she did highlight sometimes can be exhausting and overwhelming.

Summing up with an interesting interview with Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender it was a provide to have her as my first guest. I’ve felt going into the conversation with having Lavender as my first guest want to as create this podcast as the lockdown eases and still living with the coronavirus pandemic to be able to discuss the affects the change of the coronavirus pandemic can have on the routine on autistic people. As change with a new world that seemed to occur overnight Is incredibly challenging for an autistic person. Was interesting to be able to talk to someone like myself who has created a platform recently to discuss and find our own narrative with discussing our diagnoses. With creating this podcast, I want to be able to focus on different interests, different perspectives and who have had different experiences from myself and different things to overcome. I was glad that with Sophie Lavender sharing candidly and honestly with me about how she’s created a YouTube channel after being told to shield and her comedy gigs have been cancelled. Soon I’m hoping to carry on highlighting the different issues and conversations around mental health, effects of the pandemic on the community and different interests and stims of different autistic people.

Aaron Williams with Sophie Lavender

video below from Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender Subscribe to her YouTube and find her on twitter instagram and tik tk @shalomlavender

Podcasts Coming Soon

I’ve thought after being inactive on the blog recently been busy with the admin of setting up the podcast amongst the burnout of the year that is 2020, feel like many people would understand by this. So I’ve thought I give you abit of a teaser what I’m aiming to put out soon recently recorded two full episodes this weekend I will as with working on scripts for coming episodes will begin working on blog posts and summery of transcripts of the first two full podcast episodes which Im pretty pleased with the listener figures. warrants the need for new episodes. So thanks for tuning into those episodes so far. Those episodes were on neurodivergency and me the blogging series brought to you now via the podcast where in that episode answered questions from Dyspraxic Help 4 U’s Billy he sent in a few questions on the more political aspects on focusing for change for dyspraxics. Also put out the first full podcast episode recorded with Sophie ‘Shalom’ Lavender who’s designed the fresh new podcast logo

Me and Sophie had a lively chat about how the pandemic has affected her and her special interests which is a key component of our feature me and my interests which you’ll hear time to time occasionally on the podcast.

Coming Soon – Episode on Gender Identity and Expression with Neuro Rebel Christa Holmans

But on to what I’ve got coming up for you on the podcast next week ill be hosting a chat with Christa Holmans better know to many in the community as Neuro Rebel a key figure in the autistic and neurodivergent community for a while they’ve been asking autistics on twitter questions for a while so its now my time. a privilege to be able to have them on the podcast. With them I’ll be chatting about gender identity and expression. if you want to share your thoughts comments and questions for that episode hit me up at nd.neuronews@gmail.com you can also email and duaido recording from the voice notes app on your phone via we transfer to that email address nd.neuronews@gmail.com

Coming Soon – Episode on Self Diagnoses

Also soon will be having chats later this month, September on self diagnoses and why some people choose to get diagnosed. would like to hear from you on this tweet us @ndnueonews you can send me a direct message on there if you wish same applies if you wish to comment and share your thoughts on this on twitter can use the #neurocast and tag @ndneuronews to get involved with the conversation

Coming Soon – #DyspraxiaAwarenessWeek Bonus Series Featuring Billy From Dyspraxic Help 4 U

For Dyspraxia Awareness Week I’m intending on giving dyspraxic folk the opportunity and a chance for me to pass the podcasting megaphone to tell Dyspraxia in their words. looking for people to tell their dyspraxic stories in a series of episodes highlighting how people found out they are dyspraxic, what they wish people knew about dyspraxia, how it affects them aswell as what changes they would like to see to support dyspraxics. I’m hoping to be able to partner with Dyspraxia & Life and Dyspraxic Circle for this and host a live Q&A that week. I’m looking forward to being able to get Billy from Dyspraxic Help 4 U on to discuss the projects he’s been busy working on interns of awareness and advocacy and support. He’s got his own podcast and I’m looking forward to do future collaborations with other podcasters.

Coming Soon – #NotAloneTalk Podcast Series

This autumn/winter with working with the people who coordinate conversations and host support for people with mental health conditions. I want to be able to host some light hearted conversations nothing too heavy around trying to create conversations around mental health and wellness different tips for self care and a check in to how our listeners are feeling this is likely to be over zoom the video conferencing software and aiming for a chat like you would have down the pub intended to be a lively entertaining feature, so our listeners who may find their selfs feeling lonely and isolated over the coming winter months to come away better. This is intended to be a key and important feature of the podcast as know many neurodivergents have challenges with mental health and want our listeners and guests coming from the podcast feeling better for it.

remember you can now subscribe and stream ‘NeuroCast By Autisticly Aaro’ now on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts most good podcasting outlets

If you want to get involved with any features comment or ask questions fill out the form below

Is Emotion and Empathy its Own Sense

When we think of senses we can only seem to list five senses to name: sight, sound. Smell, taste and feel. Such a narrow list and a list so black and white when we know temperature is also a sense and there could be more than what we are lead on from such a narrow list that seems to be innately woven into the fabric of our minds since an early age.

But what if empathy is its own emotion we all know we all experience empathy but what we experience as empathy is very colourful and a grey area to the quantifiable senses listed above, the black and white senses. We are able to explain in clear words or if not find the means to find out the answer to questions or being instantly tell whether its too loud or too quiet, too bright or too dark. But emotions aren’t as easy as that

We could be feeling multiple emotions at once sad, angry, happy, depressed, proud, enegised, tired. The list goes on but no one could tell you how you are feeling, some may try, but only you can know.

For people with mental illnesses or neurodivergent conditions such as autism, dyspraxia, ADHD present challenges with processing emotions. I wouldn’t think of autism as being a mental illness. But don’t think that autism, dyspraxia or adhd are illnesses are developmental conditions, disabilities or neurodivergencies. Different minds to what in a todays society is different state of mind and neurotype to what in society is thought is the typical normative brain. Because of external issues, trauma because of being misunderstood by proffesionals, those who are close to us and what little they know about our way of thinking that can be traumatic. As autistic dyspraxic dyslexic and those with ADHD have encontered many times of ableisms within society, many still exist in society today have caused mental health issues for many neurodivergents.

So I say be mindful and consider that we could have mental health challenges but never define our conditions as. I personally am aware, that I haven’t faced the barriers and the discrimination many of my fellow and dyspraxic people have. I understand from hearing about they experiences they faced many challenges still in society.

Thats not to say I myself, haven’t been diagnosed with or had challenges with my own mental health Ive always felt that I was born anxious never could remembered a time I wasn’t affected by feelings of my high anxiety something I am to this day working on. But felt with little understanding of my own autism till what I think till the age of ten contributed to my own anxieties.

With hindsight the past few years as only recently taken a retrospective look of what I can activate from my childhood. Although now with it becoming aparrent the wait and why having a diagnoses even at the age of ten is still a priveledge diagnosed originally ten years ago which in the scheme of things still pretty recentl. Atleast in my books, was diagnsosed under the old now considered out dated and ableist language of having mild Asperger‘s Syndrome. Now no longer would refer to my self as having Asperger’s Syndrome after being, utterly disgusted behind the abhorrently ableist and callous persons Hans Asperger was the harrowing tales of how He worked for Nazi Germany to think its worth saving people the that era of time with Aspergers to exploit and use their brains as currency as commodity in a dehumanising manner. Can go research further if you wish. This isnt intended to get into the harrowing tales of the history of the term.

I also denounce the use of the word ‘mild’ or ‘having’ it as realised and being enlightened you could never be more than or less than autistic theres the intrinsic problem with a linear scale and I could never seprerate the autism from myself.

The fact that I was ever considered under medical diagnostic language and guild lines as being mildly autistic. In hindsight in my words find that just means I was more able to blend and try to mask in to the background of the neurotypical environment around me. Felt since a young age I must behave or do what is expected of me I always came across determined at school and mild mannered.

But since a young age can remember on there was a time I struggled knowing what to do to fit in or socialise in a loud environment and know how just to operate to play and interact with those in primary.

Remember, having panic attacks or being distressed by the such a big room the school hall is being quite tall rooms halls are and haven’t still quite small felt very very small nd the room I was in was very very big. I am dyspraxic so maybe it was a feeling of special awareness feeling isolated bothered by loud noises. But now I question, yes it is a sign of my anxiety but is also due to having visual processing difficulties the size of the room dwarfed me making me feel anxious but was it due to being overstimulted. Remember, in Year 4 when aged 9 found it much easier to eat lunch in the class room because became anxious in the surrounding of being in a hall with those eating packed lunch.

So what I question is can some of our challenges of sensing our emotions come from not being able from those around us to be able to understand the way our mind works. But how is someone able to tell you how your mind works.

It seems like emotion or empathy is the thing that sometimes can piece all of our other senses from the environment around us, the teller of how we feeling. I find sometimes our own struggles with how we recieve stimuli like light and sound which leaves us over or under stimulated and due to that being understood as being autistics we find from processing our senses. Since, we internally having trouble with having different noises things to look at can be over bearing to process at once and trying to compute how to understand that and how we feel and maybe from societies norms. How since often feel the urge to mask, how we should feel this is part of why we have burnout meltdowns or shutdowns. Having this challenge without being able to turn the volume down makes it difficult to deal with what’s around us in the present.

This is why i don’t function mildly as I too have challenges with this which means its a challenge for me to function independently. As I’ve never been able at the age of 19 to have been able to go out independently without assistance which isn’t the most easiest thing to say. As sometimes i find the challenge of this difficult to talk about as can be difficult to talk about how the fatigue, worry and stress of one time I did remember having to work my way back from a getting some food on lunch break to get back to the sixth form menat crossing some roads and navigating my way back was dropped of had to work the way back on a phone call with my mother didnt quite remember or knew how to by the time, i got back to sixth form I was bit teary proud that I did it and anxious shook up but have was able to find a quiet space then.

Our own environments can be so demanding that can affect our how we function our sensory imput that is that as we have to focus on what’s around us. Sometimes, having a head where the world around you seems so loud where you cant dial it down. This means, we do feel but sometimes with an overloaded brain we just simply dont know how to express it.

The last thing most of us neurodivergents want to do is to express our emotions in ways we cant or aren’t able to. We dont want to be insensitive or seem careless. But sometimes due to being either hypo or hyper sensitive means that emotions and empathy are an incredibly challenging for us, not that we have the emotion of Alexa or Siri but we feel too much and just dont know how to show it.

Since sometimes, due to also emotions or expressions meaning multiple things we can have trouble telling wheter they being honest or clear with how they read due to the challenge of trying to process different things aren’t not intirely able to know what that means thats why we may wrongly interpret a situation.

I have found empathy and find my fellow autistic people have come across empathetic and passionately lead by that in case of social justice you only have to look at the likes of journalist Sara Looterman, Activist Greta Thunberg to see that. I personally find it becomes a challenge for myself when watching dramas fictional I know but can emote strongly with the characters thats why I prefer if watching television to watch sit-coms its not that I dont feel sometimes if you feel to much in protection of your own mental wellness need to remove your self from emotive stimuli.

This can be quite challenging and draining but can be neither a positive or negative. But can be difficult if you become to numb to your surroundings with the barrage of doom and gloom in the news which over the past months have left me speechless. For a certain time recently to the question, How are you? Which my mother and sister kindly ask Ive had to reply I dont know because it has been emotionally exhausting too know not that I dont feel but in this case I didnt know how to. Ive smiled cried and sobbed felt bit lonely and times depressed during this wild ride of a year that is 2020.

Ive also this year when the doctor who had to oversee medication I was on due to the troubles with my embarking on change and becoming overwhelmed by that. I told the doctor once they and I say they as I have which isnt ideal and is such a challenge not been able to talk to the same doctor every time. They ask how the tablets working for me and in my honest answer I say I dont know, felt better than once were. Its the case of what makes the indeciveness within me that makes things like this incredibly difficult. The foggy grey emotion and sense like no other that is emotion as for me when asked questions like that, feel unable to answer as I want to put trust in the doctor I’m no medical proffesional. So when I dont know its the inability to be able to breakdown what in side me can interpret what changes my mood my emotion what causes me too empathise things more or less.

Its a challenge for me the sense of empathy the cloud and fog within that gives me the fog. But think still can atleast give for a different perspective speaking optimistily.

This maybe emotional fog and cloud hopefully will and is the key to feeling more liberal with breaking from social norms one thing from others I admire the ability, to not to be concerned and bogged down with the negative mirroring of the judgement of others.

Well thats enough for this post may pick this up again soon something I’m atleast passionate about talking about and is intrinsic in myself

Scarlett Serriff on Calmness and Neurodivergency

Forward Introduction By Editor, Aaron Williams

In our first chance of sharing this platform we have an essay from dyspraxic writer Scarlett Sherriff in her first written piece for ND Neuro News, Passing the megaphone to Neurodivergents who deserved to be heard

Scarlett’s Essay:

A short essay on calm and neurodiversity The Oxford Dictionary mentions calm in relation to the weather, in this scenario it’s defined as ‘a lack of strong winds or of rough sea’. When we’re talking about a person it means not being ‘excited or agitated’. For a lot of people who are neurodiverse being calm can be hard. It is widely reported that dyspraxia, autism, ADHD and other forms of neurodiversity are associated with higher levels of anxiety and especially with lower self-esteem. For many of us, even the aftermath of a simple family argument can stiffen us and knock us off course for the rest of the day.

As a dyspraxic, I know that the disparity between my practical skills and my intellectual abilities can make me frustrated. An argument around messiness, or breaking or losing something can be particularly irritating and difficult to make sense of. This is especially true when I really did not mean for that action to occur, and thought I was taking special care to avoid it, however couldn’t. When this has an adverse impact on those around me, it causes mayhem. The situation can just get tenser and tenser, and can end up being draining, because as much as neurotypical people might try, they can’t actually see how much effort you really do put in.

Frustration, often tears or shouting and being exhausted are the aftermath of these situations. It’s impossible to describe one of these meltdowns to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I guess I’ve not really cracked how to calm down from them, but we can only try. Watching a comedy show, or a really great TV series (like Ugly Betty, especially Ugly Betty…) can sometimes be a welcome distraction. Sometimes lighting a candle, playing some music and doing some reading or angry diary writing can release tension. If you enjoy yoga, I recommend Yoga with Adrienne. She’s online and her videos are free. She can help stretch out your body, and has brief as well as longer videos. She also has videos that are dedicated to anger and stress.

All of this IS helpful, but there are times when none of it works. There isn’t an ‘enigma code’ for calmness. There is no perfect solution, because people aren’t maths equations. Indeed, we shouldn’t even always be calm. The Persian poet Rumi said, “Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!”. He’s right because to be always calm is to never feel.

The difficulty is calming down after turbulence and being centred so that we can tackle the rest of the day. This is especially a problem for those of us who are neurodiverse, because we tend to overthink and we can lose perspective easily when we feel overwhelmed. It’s a question of taking time out and letting it out of our systems in a considered way. The only real tip is that it is important not to sweat the small stuff.

Especially as a dyspraxic, I try to remind myself that unless I’ve lost or broken something sentimental, or something important like my passport (has happened), I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Unless I’ve missed an important deadline or meeting, I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Calm is a ‘lack of strong winds or rough sea’ and all we can do is remember that really mostly things aren’t strong winds or rough sea, even if they can knock us off kilter.

SIDE NOTE

Thanks to Scarlett for sharing I hope she can write for us again and you like i did appreciate her thoughts on being dyspraxic on emotional challenges and calmness. If you would like to follow her on social media Scarlett is on Twitter @Scar_Sherriff for more

Thanks for reading remember to subscribe to our emails and contact us if you want to contribute and do follow us on social media

Aaron Williams Neurodivergency & Me Part 6: Opening Up About being Non binary

After writting yesterdays article i initially added the following side not to it

Find the concept of maleness can be suppressive of autistic behaviour and creates an ideal got to behave in such way and function in such a way and want to the style beyond this that fits my self not an idea of is this manliness. Gender as said is much a social construct and the patriarchy is upholding that still giving sneering looks from judges of you cant buy or wear that thats from the women’s section. Is there need for gender binary fashion, Is there need to assume peoples gender to be look at some one and here some one say watch that man or gentleman etc. 

I also find its something rather liberating and joyous to be able to say nah conventional gender isnt for me and I want to be that of what isnt a man or woman that isnt bound and restricted with gender norm. To unlearn and make myself free.

I began having conversations with other autistics on twitter who identify as non binary but found identifying as non-binary isnt the enabler of taking of the mask and unmasking. I see that point but find after lock down, i dont want to feel the internal social pressure and social jusdments from others eyes and looks of what I can or cant do interms of what’s socially acceptable beyond the gender norms. One tweeter said that they felt that there is a clear distinction between the gender norms and roles of a gender than the language you identify it as but see that point.

However interpreting gender language and the consept is different and subjective to the individual. As no one has the same world view or identity. But I find like with language around autism in the community is seen as powerful in interpreting allistics view of autism. As it seems like that majoritarian view from autistic prefer the autistic person rather than the person with autism as it doesn’t just exist in one area of our lives but can influence the neuropathy throughout and you can remove autism from the autistic person.

Language Is powerful. So I find living in a gender normative binary society as there is still such a link and it is hard in the minds of the pubic to deprecate the gender roles and social views of what makes gender. Which is the case as gender is a social construct not a biological construct. Although we are born a certain way we do not have to stay and be that same way.

I’m guessing still getting used to and learning what this means for my self. I dont want to as stated befor act in traditional gender norms and give a chance to explore what this means. By unmasking I’m just wanting even though probably will still find some situations for a while with a mask on but to get used to giving my self autonomy and allow myself the fear of social judgement which I’ve had issues with as want to be able to have control over my identity. I think masculinity or the idea of man can be difficult for this.

Sometimes, the challenges with man and gentleman is assume as sense of adulthood ability to function in an adult world and to be able mask. And find the idea of man and maleness maybe forcing myself more uncomfortable and unhappy with and I find at a time of uncertainty i find a sense of a joy in finding how I can create an environment to sense out who I am and to be able to seek out reasonable adjustments.

Felt like even to be seen as a boy would be challenging as I’m not child. But a person a person who doesnt want to comfort to gender want to be able to explore my own expression and feel ok with that

I think its going to take sometime getting used to and sperating from gendered terms but might be right for me

Autisticly Aaron

Me and My Interests: The Joy of Art

Photo: Aaron Williams (me) in a an art studio taking a photo of their self

Part 1: Autisticly Aaron William’s thoughts on their special interest art and the joy of painting

I’ve wanted to create a space and feature where neurodivergents can showcase their interests and and talents as a means of empowerment and a chance for us to infodump. This is my passion, a means I have found joy in in sixth form, when studying I always enjoyed art and design something that I padssionate about. Find it is something being dyspraxic, I’ve proud to have found a means of expression. Art to me is therapy, although due to being dyspraxic remember coming home from sixth form with paint on my beard fore head behind my ears. I left my mark on the class room i did art in with many reminants of acrylic paints on my desk from my art projects.

Personally, I enjoyed paintings of landscape, as it something you can lose yourself in focusing on the sceanary the setting and the narrative of the painting. With landscapes I enjoy immersing my self in the sceanary focussing on the detail focusing on the nature the coast, calming and tranquil sceanary. Painting landscapes for me gives a sense of serenity, painting with blues and greens are calming, living in a coastal town in the South Wales vallleys the inspiration comes from my surroundings.

With Art I my art work inspired me to create a twitter and instagram @artisticlyaaron a space to showcase my creations. Find it shows the strengths of being Neurodivergent the ability to try to be expressive, creative and find different means of self care. As being in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic it did inspire me to create some peices inspired by the health workers as an ode to the pandemic and get my paintbrushes out it has given me something to focus on at a time of grave uncertainty and anxiety.

I also inspired by the likes of Harring, Warhol and Lichtenstein for their means of sparking joy as they did in the post war era in the dawn of commercialisation and bright bold and vibrant packaging which reflected in the creation of Pop art a response of the new era of capitalism and the creation of popular culture music and films. Ive always regardless of the pieces since studying art in comprehensive attracted to the style of bold lines, I like it because its art that doesnt go unnoticed that gives me a mood boosting sense of positivity. Whilst what i like with most pieces of art a sense of concept

Collection & Gallery

I have enjoyed also reflecting on elements of my other interests as done pieces inspired by music with the likes of the albums of Ed Sheeran & Blur, political movements and the time in history we found our selves in the coronavirus, LGBTQIA+ pride, Feminism resistance movements and the current climate crisis

Aaron Williams Neurodivergency & Me: Am I Non Binary?

Part 4: Am I Non Binary?

Recently, like many others autistics Autisticly Aaron is pretty much in the same boat willingness to examine and give space explore ones identity. This like many others out there want to explore what pronouns and terms best suit me.

I’m as stated on the endeavour of a voyage of exploring how to unmask to unlearn the social norms and stigma within living in ableist society. This is something which can link to feminism as the fundemental arguements of smashing social norms does come from the patriarchy and if we are going to achieve gender equality we mustn’t assume peoples gender and to unlearn. The divides of looking at someone and assuming they are a man or a woman.

This has part of the reasons why I’m including non binary language on social media to describe myself. I think if I’m truly going to get to a state where I’m comfortable to unmask in social environments i dont want to be expected to ‘man up’ although what does that even mean I dont need to subscribe to the ideals that i need to behave and do certain things expected of man innate with the patriarchy as a neurodivergent a disabled person the whole idea of this seems ableist to expect to assume to want to fit into masculine norms.

So I might not be the man i might’ve thought or told I was, I want to be able to see my gender as a flexible and fluid construct altought there are different biology but the consept of the labels man or woman are archaic social constructs, I respect peoples use of those terms but expected people to show respect that we deserve to see that there is more than the binary.

Ive found the choice and liberty of choosing my own pronouns and begining to try if non binary suits me still feels quite new to me. But felt liberating wait of my shoulder, I don’t think I’ve ever had a strong affinity with certain gender terms. However didnt really question such terms. But dont think boy or man seemed entirely right want to see myself as a person but not thought of living up to a gender expectations and find the road to unmask this may help me and enable me to not subject myself to societies socially conservative views as want to be able to find the means of be able to socialise and navigate the world from an autistic perspective building up the courage to stim in public, to chat more honestly in conversations about my identity and self without fearing judgement as have done in the past.

To find the ability of being able to ask for help and support not from a way that is looked differently to as a man but as a person.

I’m still learning and unlearning what this means to try not to look at a person and assume their gender it hard as society has only taught us two but now its time for change.

This article is from them, their unperfect exploration to unlearn gender norms as only recently understand the importance of pronouns and why non binary makes sense. Just unlearning normalised sexism in society.

They are,

Autisticly Aaron (meaning they as means of referring to myself)

Side note

Find the concept of maleness can be suppressive of autistic behaviour and creates an ideal got to behave in such way and function in such a way and want to the style beyond this that fits my self not an idea of is this manliness. Gender as said is much a social construct and the patriarchy is upholding that still giving sneering looks from judges of you cant buy or wear that thats from the women’s section. Is there need for gender binary fashion, Is there need to assume peoples gender to be look at some one and here some one say watch that man or gentleman etc.

I also find its something rather liberating and joyous to be able to say nah conventional gender isnt for me and I want to be that of what isnt a man or woman that isnt bound and restricted with gender norm. To unlearn and make myself free

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