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My Amazing, Au-DHD kids are Gen Z (age 12) and Gen Alpha (age 10), and they live in a world that sometimes, I don’t recognize.

For one thing, this world is faster. Information is everywhere, all the time. There is no pause for dial up or fax lines to connect. So having a short attention span is less problematic.
Those calculators our math teachers always said we wouldn’t have access to? Well, THEY carry them, in their phones!
And nobody even says that using them, is cheating. Instead, it’s simply, using an “accommodation.” (I am green with envy)
And people have short cuts for everything, and these are praised as “life hacks,” instead of being written off as lazy alternatives. They work smarter, not harder, and its EXPECTED for them to do so.
Its amazing!
Almost like we are on the precipice of a cultural shift toward true Neurodivergent inclusivity—
 cultivating an environment where people can work
       at a self-selected pace,
       using whatever tools they deem necessary,
       and prioritizing what they actually care about.
It’s a great start. One that leaves me awestruck.
But while these generations have a lot to teach us, they also have a lot to learn. And one place this is most evident, is in how they apply rigid thinking (a trademark of MANY ND types), to language.
What do I mean by that?
Well, when I was a kid, we used a lot of words that you just don’t hear much anymore. (some for good reason!)
In 1989, my mom employed a young woman with Down Syndrome, who referred to herself as “retarded.” Back then, it was considered more polite than some of the alternatives. (hard to believe, I know). My mom learned a lot by working with Suzi, including how to accommodate auditory processing disorder in the workplace.
In 1996, my paraplegic father, decided to reclaim the word “cripple,” because he was tired of people assuming his atrophied body, meant his mind and heart were somehow warped or incomplete. He wrote poems about what might have happened, if Quasimodo the Hunchback, had won Esmerelda’s affections. For the record, the poems were amazing, but I doubt he would feel safe publishing them, today.
And in 2003, I met, for the first time, someone who self-identified themselves to me as, having “Asperger’s Syndrome.” It was an amazing moment, because I had so much in common with them, and it sent me on a journey, that ended in my getting diagnosed ADHD, Autistic, and Anxious, a decade later. (Yay!)
The thing is, trying to discuss these experiences with Gen Z and Gen Alpha, is incredibly hard. They recognize the significance of image, and how we are impacted by the “style” of people around us.
Too many down votes, and we lose our monetized social media. Too many critiques of our entourage, and we might get culture cancelled.
They are under intense pressure not just to be respectful, but to be SEEN being respectful. And that means avoiding narratives from their elders, which contain things like
outdated language (Aspergers, high functioning),
person-first descriptions (person with Autism, person with disabilities),
indirect or camouflaged references to disability (on the spectrum, complex needs, visibly disabled, Level 3),
cancelled language (mute, spazzing)
And while it is true, that Gen Z’s language choices
(like “autistic” and “Au_DHD,” and “Neurospicy with a side of Happy Flappy” and “C-PTSD Survivor,” and “Neurodivergent person”)
  are helping make the world a place where Neurodivergence is discussed more openly and with greater empathy, subtlety, and specificity…
It is also true that if they don’t listen to the life experiences of their Neurodivergent elders, then they will be losing the benefits of many hard-won communication hacks,
       life hacks,
     educational hacks,
    and employment hacks.
Because even if the world is MORE accommodating than it used to be, it still has a long way to go.
We OLD ND folks, have some wisdom to share, with a generation willing to look past our “style” for the substance beneath.
And we are eager to collaborate with you, if we can avoid the Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria of being told that HOW we have identified ourSELVES for the last 25 years is “wrong,” before we even make our point.
So, I will leave you with this thought:
     Should we cancel the NAACP because its name is no longer considered modern?
    Or should we look past the name to the more pressing problems, faced by minorities or groups treated like minorities?
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For more Autistic-generated, Neuro-affirming and ND Family content– Visit me on Facebook at, Neurodivergent Parenting: Think Outside The Box