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Let's talk about language

Specific language isn’t accessible to Neurodivergents under times of stress and dysregulation.



Instead our brains will use its neuroplasticity to put more focus on ‘surviving’ the stressful / perceived threatening situation, and deviate our specific language ability to more purposeful language (ie we may not mean the words literally, but the words used emphasise what WE are experiencing).


Eg if we are really mad, and totally dysregulated - our brains protect us by shutting down specific language ability (ie to articulate that we are really mad) but it still knows that we need you to know how mad we are, so our brains go searching for what are some words that are next level mad that are accessible to us in this state… these may come in the form of scripting - the repetition or reciting of lines from movies, television, books, or words other people have said - especially for some little people who don’t have a lot of choices for ‘next level mad’ to choose from. This then may come out as ‘I want kill you’, or ‘slit your throat’ - remembering it’s reflecting their level of experience, not what they literally want to do.


In a school system this might look like, ‘I’m the boss and you are not’, or ‘I’m the authority and I’m going to fire you all’, or ‘you are all paedophiles’ or whatever the words may be - the words contain the emphasis that the person is trying to make while they are completely overwhelmed and not able to articulate their needs.


It’s why we don’t take personally the words being said when clients are dysregulated and overwhelmed. We get curious about what those words mean in that moment to that person. We know the deep shame they feel afterwards when they return to homeostasis.


It’s also why we put all of our focus into encouraging a neurodivergent-affirming life. So little, and big, people are not feeling like they are sensory and demand overloaded, and are feeling respected and loved for who they are.


If we understood this we could stop punishing things out of neurodivergents’ control and started putting into place neurodivergent-affirming supports that would actually decrease the need to feel overwhelmed and dysregulated.

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