How do you feel about change?

One assumption many parents and professionals make is that people with Neurodiversity aren’t motivated to improve their lives.

It isn’t that they don’t want to change, they may not believe they’re able to change.

They often have difficulty finishing what they start or getting started at all. Struggle with creating an action plan let alone executing on one.

This can cause such brutal self-talk they believe themselves to be stupid, incompetent, worthless etc.

The first thing to establish with any person living with Neurodiversity is their mindset around change:

1. Is change something they want?

2. Do they believe they are capable of making the change(s) they want?

3. If things were more like they wanted them to be, what would be different?

4. What one thing could they do to begin making that change?

5. What do they need to believe about themselves in order to take that first action?

6. Do they agree to act as if what they believed what was stated in #5 is true?

7. Do they agree to take the new action and report back?

How they respond to this exercise will tell you a lot about how flexible their thinking is, their level of self-doubt, openness to risk and change, etc.

Again, the objective is to introduce the possibility that change remains accessible and achievable but isn’t attainable until the individual believes it is and takes action.

Thoughts on setting boundaries and sticking to them

When learning to set boundaries it can feel uncomfortable to do. Like breaking in a pair of new shoes. You have to walk around in them for a while before they feel natural.

You may even feel like you’re being mean to others you’re setting boundaries with. Especially because many of them will say so.

It’s important to recognize the positive qualities you’re embodying when you set boundaries to offset any negative feedback you receive.

Qualities like:

👉 Self-respect regarding treatment you will not accept
👉 Honesty about you’re abilities and availability
👉 Balance is a clear priority when you say, “No” more often to preserve your energy for the important things

Should you receive pushback when setting boundaries, focus on feeling the self-respect, honesty and balance flowing through you.

Let that be what drives you to keep showing up in this new empowered way. It’ll be much harder for the naysayers to shut you down.

Getting things done when you don’t know how long it’ll take

One of the challenges with time blindness is when you have a long to do list. It can be anxiety inducing because estimating how long it’ll take you is a shot in the dark.
I don’t feel time passing unless I have a clock or clouds to watch, something that tells me time is passing.
I had a long list this morning my mind told me would take all day. It took a few hours.
Sure, I could use past experience as a point of reference. It’s just that my executive functions on one day may not be as well oiled on another.
So something I’m ordinarily proficient in may take me longer or may get done with more mistakes on days my brain is more glitchy.
I may know when I wake up my brain is off. I may not know until I begin the task.
Either way. Time is an elusive entity for many of us and a disorienting one at that.
To make this fact less stressful on myself, I complete tasks in short bursts.
It’s easier for me to appreciate 10 minutes than an hour. So I plan 10 minute chunks of work and see how much I get done in that time.
After 10 minutes I see how much I’ve gotten done, then plan to get at least as much done in the next 10 minutes.
It’s not a perfect system, but it keeps you moving forward.

Nipping IMPULSIVITY in the bud!

Not thinking before blurting out an embarrassing comment. Doing things that upset others as a matter of habit, only to regret them later.
The seeming inability to learn from any of this is a hallmark of ADHD. I used to get in so much trouble because of this.
The reason for impulsivity (as I understand it) in ADHD is two fold. The brain processes information more slowly. So the information you’re likely responding to is a bit behind.
I remember being corrected in class for commenting on something when the class had already moved on. Or continuing to talk about something when the person I was with was becoming upset because I was slow to catch on.
The second issue is that the brakes needed for stopping are faulty. So the STOP part of stop and think needs strengthening, like building a muscle.
One way to strengthen this muscle is by requiring yourself to consciously pause. Breathing techniques like box breathing are great for this.
The directions are straight forward…
👉You inhale for 4 seconds
👉Hold your breath for 4 seconds
👉Exhale for 4 seconds
👉Hold your breath for 4 seconds
👉Inhale for four seconds and repeat cycle for 5 minutes.
Box breathing is great on its own for relaxation or preventing anxiety attacks. Where it helps with impulsivity is when you hold your breath.
It gives your brain a chance to practice stopping and experiencing it as desirable. You’re consciously choosing to stop, repeatedly and you’re motivated to do it.
Practicing this increases wiring in the areas of the brain that need it. It also increases your awareness and ability to deliberately pause with a breath.
If all you learn is to count to 4 before responding, that’s a win. Just make sure you think.
I teach the women in my Inner Circle strategies like this to help themselves and their children living with neurodiversity.