Originally Posted in Our Community of Humanity at Inner Child Magazine
Your brain is not the same as my brain. The way I see the color red may be completely different from the way you see that same shiny deep red light reflecting from a ripe apple. We have agreed to call a certain wave length of light: RED but we can't know if we see it the same. It is unlikely that I recognize faces in the same way you do. My favorite tree, a tall blue spruce or a weeping wisteria in full bloom may not be your favorite kind of plant. You might be an extrovert. I am an introvert. We each see the world in different ways. Different things make us happy. We each learn and contribute differently.
There is neurodiversity in our community of humanity. With the idea of neurodiversity we propose that a variety of ways or diverse approaches to learning, functioning and accomplishments within a community is a good thing and are the result of normal variations in brain function. Businesses are being encourage to hire a neurodiverse staff, including not only people who see, hear and communicate in more common or typical ways but also those with a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, deafness, anxiety or schizophrenia. Neurodiversity is the idea that we should focus on what is positive, on skills and abilities rather than what is in some peoples' view broken. There are T-shirts now that say, "Can't Fix What Is Not Broken."
There is a TV series called Alphas that follows a team of people who have uncommon abilities, almost like super powers. One man is able to perceive radio waves, interpret and follow them through the air. He is also autistic. Is he disabled? One of the women has synesthesia, a rare but real ability to taste, hear or smell colors. In the show she has the ability to hear conversations that are happening far far away or sense very faint smells on a gun, for example that was used in a crime. Historically we think of these conditions as abnormal or aberrant but who decides what is normal.
I once worked with a little boy who could do multiplication equations like 2592 times 3094 in his head. He would rattle off the answer and look at me as I used complementary medicine approaches like Craniosacral therapy or Matrix Energetics to help him function better in the world. If I didn't respond, he would say, "It is correct you know!" I would look at the mother of this six year old with a diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome, who couldn't feed himself because of a lack of hand-eye or hand-mouth coordination and say, "I know. No one here is going to dispute that." He was always right. His brain worked differently from mine. I can feel things, like rhythms and vibrations with my hands that most people can't but my spelling ability is horrible. Am I disabled?
What should we focus on in our global community? Should we teach people or give them the opportunity to learn in ways that work for them and then offer them ways to contribute to society that fit the way their brain works? Should we only employ or reward people with common abilities?
Some people in the autism community and the deaf community have stopped looking for a cure because they don't see the way they perceive the world as problematic. Who gets to say whether it is or it isn't? Working in the complementary medicine system as I do, I never presume to tell people what they should want to be able to do. I just use my hands, coaching and skills to help them achieve their goals whether it is to decrease their tremors, have more brain clarity, or something completely different.
When I worked at a large multidisciplinary clinic someone once wrote on their goal sheet: 1. Eliminate my back pain; 2. Have a bigger house; 3. Improve my relationship with my son; 4. Sleep deeper ... At the time I was most comfortable with helping people eliminate back pain and get better sleep but this list of goals made me stop and think about how our physical health influences how our body feels which in turn influences our ability to make money and communicate in relationships. This person didn't need me to change the way they look at the world. They needed me to help them feel and function better so they could find the way that they were going to have less pain, more money and communicate better. It was not for me to define what is "better", only to help coach them or guide them in finding their way.
What is your unique way of seeing and engaging in the world? How can I help you? How can you help me?
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Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
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imberly Burnham, The Nerve Whisperer, Brain Health Expert, Professional Health Coach for people with Alzheimer's disease, Memory Issues, Parkinson's disease, Chronic Pain, Huntington's Ataxia, Multiple Sclerosis, Keratoconus, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Neuropathy, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, Brain Health Coaching ... Contact Kimberly Burnham in Spokane Washington (860) 221-8510 NerveWhisperer@gmail.com.
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I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
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