Mary's Musings

Was The Pandemic Really Good For Us?

person standing on brown and white floor tiles

Two historical events have organically impacted parents’ and other natural supporters’ efforts significantly in recent years to assertively advocate for the Neurodivergent Community. The first was the advent of the information age and social media where individuals and caregivers globally gained access to others like themselves with very low barriers to participation. The online communities created countless connections that allowed those with and without labels to recognize themselves and learn to help themselves. Yay for online friendships and community!!

Unfortunately, unregulated access to literally the entire world 24×7 through the internet and social media also contributed massively to an unprecedented mental health crisis that has been particularly devastating to our youth, but ultimately has been a major challenge for all communities to comprehend.

Thankfully, some school systems are seeking remedy through the courts to hold the social media companies accountable for their immoral consumerism driven attacks on vulnerable minds by intentionally creating addictive behaviors in its users through artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. Referred to as “a social experiment on our children for profit” by the President of the United States, the impact on schools has been a complete overhaul of their classroom management practices against virtual gaming and social media during classes, and a greater physical policing of their campuses. Additionally, the mental health crisis brought on by cyberbullying, vandalism, and other virtual antagonists has caused our youth, and our emotionally delayed within the Neurodiverse Community, to suffer extreme trauma as a result of social media companies unfettered profiteering tactics.

Secondly, the global pandemic painfully accentuated the detriment of the institutionalization of our youth through the traditional education systems. Having our children forced into our homes with us and seeing how many thrived in the ancient learning environment of the family unit exposed the dirty secret that schools are NOT operating using developmentally appropriate child rearing practices. Instead, schools operate for the convenience of adults. Those adults are the systemic professionals and the working parents/care givers who need childcare to allow them to work outside the home during a traditional forty-hour work week, plus commuting.

Only two years past the official end of the pandemic we are seeing important lessons learned from having our children in our homes and families participating in understanding their children’s individual needs while exposing the pitfalls of modern day western education. While technology holds fantastic opportunities to help people connect and learn, it is vitally important that we understand the psychological impacts and resulting trauma from opening the pandora’s box universally without providing protections to our most vulnerable people.

Combining the virtual access that the internet gives us with the physical barriers brought on by the Pandemic, it is hard to deny the positive learning effects of the two on our Neurodiverse population. Especially from an employment perspective, so many natural accommodations are realized with the ability to work remotely. The private spaces, the comforts of our own homes, eliminating transportation, commuting and sensory challenges, are several of the biggest trials faced by the ND community in obtaining competitive, integrated employment that remote work supports effectively. However, isolation can result if not managed in a healthy and wholistic approach to independent living.

Mary's Musings

Thoughts I have to share about neurodiversity

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