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  • Jen Brown, LICSW

ADHD and Dyslexia Awareness Month

October marks both ADHD Awareness and Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time for greater awareness and recognition of ADHDers, dyslexics, and other neurodivergent people.


While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has historically been viewed through a pathologizing lens and is often inaccurately used in everyday conversation - “I’m so ADHD” - ADHDers have significant strengths, including creativity, capacity for deep emotional connection, and the ability to “hyperfocus” and dig deep into specific areas of interest. What folks with ADHD often struggle with are things like executive functioning skills (e.g. working memory), perception of time, emotional regulation, and deeply rooted feelings of shame and unworthiness when comparing themselves to neurotypical peers or standards. Dyslexia, which is often perceived as a reading-based issue that only occurs during one’s school aged years and goes away over time, is widely misunderstood. According to Made By Dyslexia, an organization by and for dyslexics that reconceptualizes the condition, “dyslexia impacts up to 1 in 5 people and is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. As a result, dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorizing facts.” Common misconceptions of both ADHD and dyslexia (e.g., that ADHDers are lazy and that having dyslexia is a sign of lower intelligence) are harmful and inaccurate. Rather, ADHD, dyslexia and other forms of neurodivergence can instead be understood as ways in which the brain processes information differently from neurotypical people. Here are some ways to continue learning about ADHD, dyslexia, and other forms of neurodivergence this month and beyond:


 

Jen Brown, LICSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has been in clinical practice since 2014. She received her MSW and Certificate in Urban Leadership in clinical social work from Simmons University School of Social Work. She has worked in outpatient mental health and integrative settings in community health centers, college mental health, and in affordable housing. Jen has experience working with depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, substance use and addiction, ADHD, identity shifts/adjustment issues, chronic illness, body image concerns, and relationship issues.


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