I am Raymond Andrews.
I am a neurodivergent. I have Dyslexia,Dyspraxia,and ADHD. 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 and 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 the Developmental
Neurodiversity Association (DNA) which is nonprofit organization to
help people with neurological,learning differences.
It is based on the Developmental Adult Neuro-Diversity Association (DANDA)
I also just recently created the Developmental Neurodiversity Association facebook group.
The 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
The Developmental Neurodiversity Association's Objectives are the following:1. To help people with Developmental Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, AD(H)D, 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 traditional 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
6. To educate about natural and chemical-free ways to feed and raise neurodivergent children. It would include raising awareness of alternative interventions 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 (i.e. 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 the 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.