Are Neurodivergent People More Liberal?


It’s a long-standing stereotype that neurodivergent people tend towards the political left, but is it true?

Some claim that this is not the case at all and cite examples of famous right wingers who have been diagnosed with Autism or ADHD. In response, others counter that these particular individuals may be outliers in terms of public figures, but are actually reflective of a larger trend. When you examine the numbers closely, it turns out that people on the autism spectrum, for instance, are more likely to be liberal than conservative or moderate.

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Personal experience also confirms this claim. Neurodivergent people may have differing opinions about other aspects of society and human nature, but a few commonalities seem to stand out. Many neurodivergent individuals believe that a person should be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, for instance.

In addition, they tend to have less of an appetite for conformity and authority in general, instead preferring quiet contemplation or constructive debate. In other words, they tend to be more liberal and progressive.

Example:

Many who fit this description find themselves frustrated with the current political climate in America. Donald Trump won an election he had no business winning because voters were tired of the status quo and wanted something different even if it was uncertain or downright scary. Yet that doesn’t mean neurodivergent people are anti-Trump per se, it just means that they are less likely to buy into the demagoguery of people who thrive on pitting groups against each other.

This is not an exhaustive list of traits associated with neurodivergent people – it is merely a sampling. The point is that, when you put all these factors together, a trend begins to emerge. The numbers may be small but they are representative of a larger movement based on the idea that the government should not unnecessarily inhibit citizens from achieving their goals or limit access to health care.

In other words, neurodivergent people tend to be more liberal because they have a different view of what it means to be a human. They don’t just want to have a voice, they want to use that voice to have a say in how their government operates and what it is supposed to do on behalf of its citizens.

What does this mean for the future?

That all depends on whether neurodivergent liberals can influence enough of the rest of the population to enact change.

Autism And Being Touched

A new study conducted by University College Dublin has shown that the top two things, aside from the language skills of autistic children, are their ability to think critically and how much they like certain sensations. The study was based on recent research that suggested it wasn’t autism itself that impaired social interactions in kids on the spectrum but rather a sensory overload. Sensory overload is basically when a person has too many stimuli in their environment. Now keep in mind that some people with autism have sensory seeking behaviours such as self-harm, eating non-food items and other things, but there are also those who don’t.

I’m not sure what the difference between [docile] and [intense] means if they mean the same thing. I’ll scale it up a bit.

According to a recent survey, 46% of parents with children on the spectrum didn’t think their kids were as docile as people thought they were but rather intense and very sensitive. This is why about 90% of those surveyed said that their top two priorities for kids with autism were teaching them to curb self-harm and eating non-food items (toucheristic) behaviours, as well as encouraging positive touch behaviours.

Although there are still parents out there who don’t understand the need for these types of behaviour modifications, about 80% of those surveyed said that even though their kids have “special needs”, they’re still their kids, and they love them.

About 46% of parents said that they knew about the survey through an article posted on Facebook, while another 20% heard it on social media. The rest found about it through their kids’ school, physicians and other forms of communication.

Now for the touchy part:

The study also found that almost all parents of children on the spectrum said they didn’t want others to think they were “overprotective” of their child’s ability to experience touch either positively or negatively, even though 80% thought their little one’s skin was as thick as an elephant’s. About 70% of those who took the survey said they didn’t want their kids to experiment with how much pain and/or discomfort they could withstand, though about half were okay with them doing it in a controlled environment such as at home.

The top two touch-related responses parents wanted for their kids were stimming (self-soothing) and positive touch behaviour (like hugging).

About 75% of those who took the survey said that they wanted other kids to approach their son or daughter, but 68.6% thought that was an unrealistic expectation. So I guess it’s like one step forward, two steps back?

So basically, what this means is that there are things like autism-friendly places out there where autistic children can go and do certain activities, but because people with autism aren’t all the same, they need to try new activities before learning how much their bodies can handle. This doesn’t mean bullying autistic kids because many of them can also be shy or selective about who they like to be near, but make sure to ask their parents if they want you to initiate contact with them.

Another thing is that even though autistic children may seem like it, they’re not all the same – and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Like I said earlier: Their brain’s don’t work as ours do, and that’s why you should never assume that they want the same things that you do.

Another thing is to make sure to give them chances since many of them like routine, and it’s only natural for them to avoid new things (not doing so can cause sensory overload) but make sure not to force anything on them because, again, it’ll lead to sensory overload. And if they don’t want to hug you, don’t feel hurt because it’s not something they’ll ever change their mind about.

There are still a lot of kids out there who have no idea what autism is, and even though it seems like this survey shows that people, in general, do know a little bit more about it compared to last year, there’s still a lot to learn about autism and how it doesn’t discriminate.

So make sure you help them understand what autism is, and if you’re not too sure, that’s okay! Check out articles like this one or ask their parents what they can do to spread the word and become more understanding of these children’s needs.

And finally: Don’t touch a child on the autism spectrum without their parents’ permission unless they’re hurting themselves or someone else.

How Do You Date Neurodivergent People?

Have you ever thought about dating a neurodivergent person? Or are you someone who wants to date someone neurodivergent but doesn’t know how? Here are some tips!

               1. Recognize that neurodivergence can be fluid.

While many people think of autism as a binary – either they have it, or they don’t – there are actually many different forms of autism. This means that if you’re looking for an autistic partner, the odds aren’t necessarily stacked against you because your desired form of neurodiversity is rare. You might be surprised at how many people actually fit what you’re looking for. However, this also means that if you go into dating expecting every single person to be the same, you’ll be sorely mistaken and might give up quickly.

               2. Be willing to check your preconceptions at the door.

Neurodivergence isn’t just about autism – it encompasses a wide range of issues that can manifest themselves in different ways depending on the person and their environment. For example, someone may actually be neurodivergent but not aware of it because their symptoms are mild or because they’ve been so heavily medicated, or misdiagnosed with another disorder, that their symptoms have been artificially suppressed. Or maybe they’re emotionally unstable without knowing why. The point is: don’t expect anyone to “look” neurodivergent if they aren’t aware of their own issues and/or haven’t been diagnosed.

               3. Don’t expect everything to be smooth sailing.

Neurodivergence isn’t something that can be easily medicated away, nor is medication always an option. This means there are certain things you’re going to have to deal with throughout your relationship that other neurotypical people wouldn’t have to deal with – or might not even believe exists in the first place! So call them out if they make misinformed statements about mental illness without knowing any better, and try not to take it personally if they lash out at you. Remember, this is their way of expressing themselves, not a personal attack on you or anything you’ve said/done!

               4. If nothing else works, remember: it’s not your fault.

Neurodivergence is a very touchy subject because it’s still so misunderstood and taboo in society – even amongst neurotypical people! I know, from personal experience, that dating someone with autism can be difficult, but remember: if they’ve opened themselves up to you like this, then they must see something positive in you. It’s okay for relationships to end – especially if one person doesn’t feel like their needs/interests are being met. You may simply not be the right match, and that has nothing to do with anything wrong with either of you. As long as everyone treats each other respectfully and works towards a better understanding of neurodiversity (for both yourself and others), there will come a time when you’ll be able to date safely and respectfully.

Neurodivergence is a fundamental part of who we are – whether we’re aware of it or not, and whether we like it or not. We all deserve love and respect for exactly who we are, neurodivergent or otherwise. If that’s really what you want, then go ahead! Date us! As long as both people in the relationship are willing to work through their issues together, anything is possible. I believe in you.

Can Two Neurodivergent People Love Each Other?

Perhaps the most difficult thing we must overcome is our own neurodivergence.

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           It’s as if some people are trying to shield themselves from relationships by erecting walls around them, and everyone else has some sort of radar that locks onto those with neurodivergent conditions like autism or bipolar disorder.

           People with disabilities often don’t want to feel like a burden to their loved ones, and they find it hard to trust anyone enough to share their deepest secrets, but how can someone who isn’t on the same page as you connect deeply enough for a real relationship?

           They need love too… but can we give it? As we begin to understand what makes a difference, it becomes clear that this is an issue that must be addressed.

           “I don’t trust anyone,” said 19-year-old Katelyn Coppola, who is bipolar and autistic. “It’s hard to let people in when you never know what mood the person with Bipolar Disorder will be in.”

       Eventually, relationships can become very hard if not nearly impossible to manage without the right care and understanding.

           When dealing with autism or any other neurodivergence, it requires lots of patience and a willingness to go outside of your comfort zone to help someone connect with society better.

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           It’s one thing we all share: we’re not wired like everyone else… but does this mean we cannot learn how?  

           It’s a good thing to try, and the best way to figure out how is to put ourselves in a situation where we can actually show our neurodivergence.

           We must take off the mask of normalcy… it’s just not as easy as you’d think.

           “It’s exhausting being me,” said Stephen Phelps from San Diego, who was diagnosed with Aspergers at age nine. “I have no idea why this happens or where I’m sometimes going.”

       The first step towards getting better is learning how to be accountable for your own actions instead of letting someone else decide for us what we need… maybe they do know better than us, but should a doctor really know a person better than the person themselves?

           The answer is “it depends,” but when it comes to love, it’s important to be able to make our own decisions.

           When it comes down to it, you can’t expect someone else to understand your neurodivergence if you don’t even understand yourself.

       It takes time… and lots of hard work. If someone has accepted their own neurodivergence, then that is a great start in itself!

           Being open about who we are will not only help relationships along, but acceptance of ourselves so others can accept us too.

What Are Panic Attacks?

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A panic attack is one of the most distressing conditions that people suffer from today – according to an official report. It causes physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, chest pains, difficulty breathing and numbness. The mental effects include feeling afraid for no reason though they might be caused by thinking about past events or worries about what’s happening now. They may also be triggered by certain situations – like crowds or driving – or they might occur without any obvious cause at all.

A panic attack is overwhelming anxiety that leaves you feeling out of control.

Symptoms include your heart racing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness or tingling in the face and hands, dizziness, hot flashes, chills, cold sweats.

What Triggers A Panic Attack?

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Panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations or events once they happen though it’s often hard to tell if something triggered the attack or if it came from nowhere. That’s because during a panic attack, your brain releases norepinephrine – sometimes called the fight-or-flight hormone – which surges through your body and floods your nervous system causing physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath while mentally you are feeling afraid.

Can a Panic Attack Lead to Other Problems?

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In rare cases, panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia, which is an intense fear of being out in public places where you might have a panic attack. Agoraphobia can make it hard for people to go outside their homes alone. In some cases, panic disorder leads to depression. In fact, 20% of people who have had one panic attack will end up developing another anxiety disorder within six months.

How Is A Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with panic disorder, you must experience unexpected panic attacks, and at least one of the episodes must cause concern or worry for at least a month. Some people are afraid of leaving their houses because they are afraid of having another panic attack.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

How can I get help for Panic Attacks?

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Panic disorder is generally first treated with medications that may include anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants. Other treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which involves counselling by a therapist on how to change your thinking patterns and behaviour, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, meditation, exercise and acupuncture.

Is A Panic Attack The Same As A Burnout?

A panic attack can feel like a total mental and physical breakdown. It leaves you feeling weak, shaky, lightheaded, fatigued and often short of breath. The symptoms are so severe that they force you to make drastic changes in your life to avoid the symptoms occurring again. For example, it may mean avoiding certain activities or places where you might have had an attack in the past.

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The symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, confusion, lethargy, apathy (a lack of interest), memory problems and difficulties concentrating. But a panic attack is not a burnout – though many people who feel overwhelmed by stress do suffer from them both at some point.

Burnouts are often brought on by long periods of high stress. And they happen when you have pushed your mind and body to the limit, usually because of work-related reasons. Burnout can result in anxiety, depression or even suicide, but not panic attacks.

In Closing

The good news is panic attacks are treatable without medication, but it’s important to talk to your doctor or therapist so they can help you get the right treatment.

The Basic Steps Of Problem-Solving, even with high-functioning Autism, ADHD and OCPD

Problem-solving 101

So you’ve had a problem and want to know how to solve it, right? Wrong! According to modern “thinking” on problem-solving, we first need to ask the question: what is a problem?

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A common answer goes something like this: a problem is anything that can be seen as undesirable or dissatisfactory. This is wrong for two reasons – firstly, such an ambiguous definition would mean that just breathing could be construed as a problem; secondly, there are many more problems than those which stem from direct human dissatisfaction.

I prefer the following definition: a problem is anything that prevents us from reaching our current goal (if we believe we have one). By this criteria, not having enough money isn’t a problem, but not being able to pay the bills certainly would be.

So now that we have a working definition for problems, let’s begin by saying that problem-solving requires three steps:

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Problem Recognition.

The first step in solving any problem actually recognizes it as such – this means that you must be aware of the present circumstance which prevents you from attaining your goal. Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid falling into the trap of “ignorance is bliss”, especially when our feelings are involved; however, if you are unaware of your current situation, how do you know there’s even a problem to solve? This step is thus crucial because it prevents wasting time aimlessly searching for solutions to non-existent problems.

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Problem Analysis.

The second step is breaking down this problem into smaller pieces that are easier to identify and solve – in other words, you must ask yourself, “what exactly prevents me from reaching my goal?” Be specific! Just because the birdie didn’t come when you called it doesn’t mean you have a serious problem; however, if your boss demotes you for not showing up at work all the time, then I’d say there’s a good chance that might be enough of a reason to start looking around for ways to fix your situation.

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

There’s even a name often given to the process of identifying smaller parts of a larger problem: dividing by 2s. In other words, if you have a big problem you need to solve, instead of tackling it head-on, try splitting it up into two separate problems which are smaller in nature and easier to solve. For example, if your landlord is about to evict you for not paying rent on time, recognize that the real issue here is simply money management; as such, instead of whining about how much you hate paperwork and filing, why not focus on finding ways to become better with money?

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Problem Solution.

Once we’ve identified what prevents us from reaching our goal, we must now figure out how to fix those issues – this step requires creative thinking: think outside the box! Once again, I look back at my own personal experiences: when I wanted a new car, the real problem was money management; in order to solve that, I had to come up with a list of creative ways to save (or spend less!) money every day.

Here are some examples of creative thinking:

– If you find yourself constantly checking your phone when you’re supposed to be studying/working, try buying a cheap alarm clock.

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– If you often find yourself skipping work or school due to mental health challenges, why not make an agreement with your boss/professor about how many days you’ll miss before getting fired/getting expelled? Then stick to it! [EDIT: after receiving numerous requests for more details on this approach, I looked back at my own life and remembered that I actually did something similar when working at my last job… even though not everyone knew about my high-functioning Autism, ADHD and OCPD, of course!].

– If you struggle to make friends in school or work, try finding ways to get involved in clubs/projects/teams/sports – problem solved!

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– If you can’t seem to focus on your work because of all the distractions around you, try moving somewhere else with less noise.

– If that doesn’t solve the problem, then taking up meditation might help! I never thought that’d be effective, but hey, whatever works for you.

By using these quick tips, not only are you preventing future problems from popping up again by setting yourself up with healthy habits now, but also improving your mood by discovering new interests and exploring possibilities? Plus, creativity is just plain fun.

Remember: if at first, you don’t succeed, try something else! (Just kidding, or am I…?!)

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Problem Resolution.

Finally, the last step is putting these ideas into action and solving this problem once and for all – it’s time to make a decision! For example, when I wanted a new car, my plan was set in stone: I had to save up over $2k worth of money for a deposit in order to afford to buy one — simple as that. Obviously, this step may be very short or take a long time depending on the complexity of your situation; however, either way, I can guarantee you there won’t be any headaches since this last point doesn’t require much thinking at all – if anything, it requires more will power.

There You Have It!

I hope that this article has been helpful to those of you who have been struggling with problems for quite some time. I know from personal experience that it really helps to read other people’s perspectives, as well as find new ways to look at your own life. In fact, there are many other types of problem-solving models – if you’d like me to write an article about one in particular, please let me know using the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and sharing.