I am Raymond Andrews.
I am a neurodivergent. I have Dyslexia,Dyspraxia,ADHD myself. I was in special education for 3 years. As a little kid, I resembled somebody with autism because of my problems with verbal communications and hypersensitivity.
I was misplaced with the intellectually handicapped in 1st grade too. Auditory therapy, speech therapy, phonics, and motor skills therapy helped remediate my Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. There have been misdiagnoses of bipolar disorder with schizoaffective disorder by psychiatrists without any psychological testing being done in 1999 and 2002. I learned about neurodivergence in 2003, and I owe a lot to Dr. Harold N. Levinson's books.
I was diagnosed as having Inattentive type ADHD, Dysthymic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Avoidant Personality Disorder in 2004 after a neuropsychological testing by a psychologist. I went to see Dr. Levinson in New York and got tested by him, and he diagnosed me as having cerebellar vestibular dysfunction which he believed was the root of neurodivergent conditions. His testing made it possible for me to be examined by Veteran Affairs neurologists. They and a neuropsychologist tested me which led to the confirmation of my Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
I succeeded in getting my own neurodivergence recognized and documented for the first time since my special education years. For many years, I thought I was stupid, incompetent, and worthless. Many other people thought I was that way too. I have above average intelligence like many neurodivergents have. I know what it's like to be viewed as being stupid but also be viewed as being smart too. I am a paradox because I can seem stupid and smart at the same time. I have both considerable weaknesses and considerable strengths.
My strengths are in imagination, intuition, outside the box thinking, and long term memory. My weaknesses are in sequences, routine, time, coordination, organization, short term memory, auditory processing, and visual tracking. I use my strengths to compensate for my weaknesses. I am the uneven type. I can confuse a lot of people. I am an extremely sensitive, emotional person like many neurodivergents are, and I have taken cod liver oil or fish oil with its Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA to help decrease my hypersensitivity and hyperemotionality. Because of my experiences as a neurodivergent, I believe in treating others like I want to be treated - a human being with a soul. It's part of my idealism in regards to my belief that there should be unity and universal love as well as tolerance and accepting of diversity. Therefore, I feel that my life mission is to be a neurodiversity advocate.
I recently founded Developmental Neurodiversity Association (DNA) which is nonprofit organization to help people with neurological,learning differences.
It is based on Developmental Adult Neuro-Diversity Association (DANDA)
I also just recently created Developmental Neurodiversity Association facebook group as an extension of DNA.
Developmental Neurodiversity Association's Mission Statement is to see that a different type of mind is not being viewed as a deficient mind but has strengths and not just weaknesses
Developmental Neurodiversity Association's Objectives are the following:
1. To help people with Developmental Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, AD/HD, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, Dyscalculia, and related conditions reach their full potential by providing and improving emotional and practical support, particularly for those conditions for which there has been less provision such as dyspraxia.
2. To raise awareness and understanding of these conditions,particularly their assessment, their effects, their treatment and the inter-relationship between the different conditions.
3. To establish networks of groups to help people with these conditions get involved in activities for interaction, mutual support, and education, provided that the activities shall be charitable.
4. To help bring about psychiatric reform that includes psychiatrists to have their patients do neurological and psychological testing and not just go by what they observe to differentiate neurodivergence from psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar. It would help prevent psychiatric misdiagnoses and unnecessary medicating.
5. To help bring about education reform that includes multisensory teaching methods as primary teaching in schools to cut down on learning problems in school. It would help decrease unnecessary learning disability diagnoses, the drop-out rate, and misplacement of neurodivergent children in special education classes for the intellectually handicapped.
6. To educate about natural and chemical-free ways to feed and raise neurodivergent children. It would include raising awareness of alternative treatments,remedies that can be used in place of psychiatric medications.
I want to put a lot of emphasis on non-drug alternative remedies like herbs, massage/bodywork, aromatherapy, biofeedback, vitamins/minerals, meditation, audio-visual stimulation, Davis methods, color therapy, and other things. I want to help with preventing misdiagnosing too. The symptoms of neurodivergence overlap quite a bit with psychiatric disorders.
For instance, poor coordination, left/right confusion, problems with memory/concentration, disorganization, and speech problems are not just symptoms of disorganized type of schizophrenia but also dyspraxia. I also want to raise better awareness and understanding of Dyslexia. Too many people think it's a visual processing problem, but most Dyslexics have auditory/phonological processing problems and that's recognized by International Dyslexia Association.
The main thing is that I want to stress that having a different type of mind doesn't mean having a deficient mind. We are not retarded, stupid, nor crazy for having an "outside the box" type of mind. I want to stress the importance of early intervention therapies like I had. Of course, I won't stop stressing the need for education reform. It is strongly needed. We neurodivergents need to be taught in a multisensory way. We can't be taught by just auditory sequential teaching methods that are taught in most schools.