I was in third grade and it seemed, all of a sudden, I could no longer speak the language of my peers. Up until that point, I was outgoing and downright precocious. I thought people were easy because they liked to have a strong leader, and I was good at that. Then my peers sneered and gossiped about me—it was extremely disorienting and painful.
“People were no longer easy.”
This shift is something many (if not all) neurodiverse people experience at some point in their childhoods. We reach a point where the social rules change and we don’t intuitively understand them like our peers do. Usually, one of two things happen: we withdraw more into our rich inner worlds or we develop a special interest involving how people interact.
Like many female neurodiverse people, people and Psychology became one of my strongest special interests. I soaked up every opportunity to learn and was bringing college level textbooks on the subject for leisure reading as early as middle school. Later, choosing my university major was a breeze.
“People, though I experience them differently than the typical person, are utterly fascinating to me.”
Decades of this passion has earned me wealth of knowledge and tools to communicate effectively and enjoy the company of people of all types. My level of dedication to these topics would have been impossible without my neurodiversity.
Even more than that, it’s given my life a purpose. Helping people understand each other and communicate more effectively has been the cornerstone of everything I have done in my life, both personally and professionally. Most recently, I started Neurodiverse Relationships to help coach other neurodiverse folks how to connect more authentically in social interactions and relationships.