Rethinking Differences: A Story About Neurodiversity
Presented by Becky Aten (she/they) on March 23rd, 2022 for MC3Milwaukee.org
Neurodiversity = all nervous systems are different. We all have different brains, different bodies, and different experiences of the world. This is both a fact, and the foundation of the neurodiversity movement, a social justice movement connected with the broader disability rights movement. The neurodiversity movement urges us to shift our thinking away from pathologizing differences in our internal wiring, such as autism, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, and many other DSM-5 disorders, and instead recognize differences as natural, neutral, and normal variations amongst human beings. When we start to look at disability as being social in nature rather than inherent to an individual, the question becomes "How can I support you?" rather than "What's wrong with you?"
Neurodiversity and the movement it inspired has a rich history. As we begin to hear the term "neurodiversity" used more often, it's critical to understand what it really means.
Objectives for this meeting include:
Neurodiversity terminology & concepts
The history of the neurodiversity movement
Ways we are different from one another
The impact of pathologizing differences
And how to be neurodiversity-affirming in your work!
Meditation: Mindful Walking
Mindful walking is a great way to practice moving meditation! Join me as we prep our feet for a grounding and balancing sensory experience that you can bring with you everywhere you go as part of your yoga tool kit.
No yoga attire or equipment needed. Captions are available.
Pranayama: Breathing for Transitions
Learn and practice along with me as we explore a breathing exercise for transition periods throughout the day. I am learning to use breath to help facilitate "executive functioning" (deciding on a behavior and carrying it out). If you find yourself getting stuck between steps in your routine, struggling to make a decision, or feeling unable to move forward with your day because of anxious thoughts, this is one tool you can try.
No yoga attire or equipment needed. Just bring your brain and your body! Captions are available.
Pranayama: Bhramari Humming Bee Breath
Bhramari is a fuzzy, buzzy breathing practice for folks who enjoy vocal stimming, buzzing bees, or just want to try a new way to soothe the nervous system. No yoga attire or equipment needed.
This yoga practice is designed for all skill levels. Captions are available.
Learn: What is Neurodiversity?
This video is for folks who are curious about what neurodiversity means and would like to hear it from a neurodivergent person's perspective. There is a special surprise at the end!
Captions are available.
There are lots of other great YouTube videos discussing neurodiversity from folks more knowledgeable than me. I encourage you to check them out-- visit the resource page on my website for links.
Yoga Rest: Balasana (Child's Pose)
Rest is a productive activity! Join me to learn about practicing Balasana or Child's Pose as a resting pose for times when you may be feeling scattered, overwhelmed, or overstimulated.
No yoga attire or equipment needed. This yoga practice is designed for all skill levels. Captions are available.
Chair option: If getting on the floor is not an option for you, you can also achieve a similar benefit by sitting at a chair behind a table or desk; you may need to scoot your chair back a bit. Instead of stacking fists as I demonstrate in the video, you can stack your hands with palms and forearms on the table, elbows wide, and then lean forward and rest your forehead on the back of your stacked hands.
Yoga Break: Energy Release
Check out this quick 5 minutes-ish yoga break for energy release. I bust this one out during workdays when I feel like I can't sit still for another minute (I get the ants in my pants). Once you learn it, you can repeat it as often as you feel like just as it is, or adapt it and make it your own. You can also add it onto a longer yoga practice.
No yoga attire or equipment needed. This yoga practice is designed for all skill levels.
Seated option: If you are doing this practice in a chair and/or don't have enough room to swing your arms in the torso twists, you can instead wrap your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a hug while following along.
Pranayama: Deep Belly Breathing
Get comfy! For the next 10 minutes, we'll cover the benefits and basics of sitting and breathing, and then get settled in for the pranayama practice of deep belly breathing. Once you learn it, you can take deep belly breathing anywhere with you as part of your yoga tool kit. This yoga practice is designed for all skill levels. Captions are available.
Welcome and Introduction Video
Let's get started! If you're curious about what I'm up to, enjoy this welcome message. Captions are available.