Mental health and wellbeing
We all have an inherent need to belong
– to a family, a team, a tribe and a purpose. When we’re welcomed into the group, accepted for our strengths and challenges, and appreciated for our different ways of thinking – when people ‘get us’ and we are shown empathy and understanding – we experience a real sense of belonging.
And when we feel we belong, we can relax, focus and speak without fear of being judged. We can be our authentic selves. Out best selves.
For the around 40% of New Zealanders who display neurodiverse traits (Dr Amanda Kirby, CEO of The Dyscovery Centre for children and adults with developmental disorders) 20% of those diagnosed (and it’s estimated at twice that) can find it hard to attain this sense of belonging unless those in their surrounding environment understand and recognise their differences.
When we have a sense of belonging, our strengths and true talents can really shine.
DivergenThinking’s Getting GOT neurodiversity education programme helps individuals and organisations gain understanding and create the psychologically safe environments we can all thrive in.
The three foundation programmes are:
- \Getting SELF
- \Getting OTHERS and
- \Getting TEAMS
Neurodiversity in the Young
From a very young age, many neurodiverse individuals don’t feel they fit in at school and the community – they’re sitting outside looking in on an education system that doesn’t understand them.
Neurodiverse individuals tend to struggle with social norms and few schools teach social skills as part of their curriculum. This leads them to struggle with connecting and making friends from an early age.
From that point, those around them tend to view them as different or loners, and then we see bullying behaviours begin which only go further to alienate these children and deter them from wanting to go to school.
Up to 75% of school children with strong neurodiverse traits are likely to have been bullied – isn’t that awful?!
Growing Up with Neurodiversity
Undiagnosed ADHD can leave individuals struggling to focus in class and misinformed parents feeling guilty at the concept of considering medication to help their child focus. However, this with other support can help our children get good grades, go onto higher education, get a good job and be able to afford to live the life they choose.
Dyslexic individuals struggle to read and write. Currently success in our school system is based on our ability to read and write, so they are told because they can not do this, they are dumb or stupid – this is SO not true.
Sadly, the outcome of this ignorance is approximately 75% of our prison population has strong neurodiverse traits. Our children are being let down by those around them.
To reverse this trend, DivergenThinking is looking to transform New Zealand’s approach to neurodiversity through awareness, diagnosis information and support, education, research and providing meaningful ways for others to contribute to the neurodiversity movement. We’ll be working hard in the the arenas of government, business, recruitment, education and communities to bring about the transformational change that will give us all the opportunity to live to our full potential. This will directly impact on the mental health and wellbeing of all of New Zealand because, remember, we are all neurodiverse.
Like to help?
We are always on the look out for other ways we can spread our message. If you think you can help, please get in touch.