A thing can be two things


by Adina Levy

We’re complex humans. Living in a complex world with many other complex humans and countless other variables. Life simply isn’t so cut-and-dry and many of the handy, catchy single lines that many neurodiversity advocates (me included!) share can be seen as aspirational, perhaps. But not always true.

All play is OK

All communication is valid

Masking is no good

Difference is beautiful

But no one-liner can truly capture the complexity of multiple brains, brain types, interconnected relationships and the random variability factor of life.

This complexity and nuance can be captured when one moment is viewed from multiple perspectives. a.k.a a thing can be two things…

​Stick with me while I give you some examples.

More Neurodiversity Affirming thoughts are in green, less affirming/more ‘traditional’ thoughts are in red

A thing can be two things

  • A neurodivergent kid telling long, detailed, rambly stories in great detail (and ending the story early is not an option)
    • This is both incredibly fascinating & wonderful
    • and draining when this goes for hours
  • A neurodivergent person wanting to make friends, camouflaging to ‘fit in’ more with the group
    • This is both a darn shame that they feel the need to mask
    • and great that they have the ability to shift modes to fit into ‘different worlds’ and build relationships
  • A non-speaking autistic teenager communicates with a mix of typing, behaviours and sign language
    • This is both fantastic to celebrate that he is living the ‘all communication is valid’ principles and is supported by those around him to use multimodal communication (different methods to communicate)
    • And it’s sad to recognise that in the world, things may be harder for him in many spaces due to prejudice, misinformation, and ableist speech-first assumptions of many people currently (and yes, we’re working to dismantle this but it may take generations)
  • An ADHDer being so full of incredibly exciting ideas that they work through the night to create something important to them and the world
    • This is both a fabulous display of neurodivergent brilliance and using difference as a strength
    • and hecking hard as this impacts sleep, mood, health, and relationships the next day

The most honest thing we can do is embrace the contrasts, the nuances, and get our critical-thinking hats on whenever we have the capacity to do so.

Don’t just act the way you’ve always acted, just cause it’s what you know.

Don’t just respond to children the way you’ve always responded, just cause it’s what you know.

Don’t just support communication skills the way you’ve always done, just cause it’s what you know.

Question everything, bring it back to the basic principles, and move forward from there.

I’d love to help you pull apart support for Neurodivergent Children, and put it all back together again with an informed, Neurodiversity Affirming lens.

If you’re an Allied Health Professional and you’re keen to learn more with me, I hope you’ll join me for a free webinar – Neurodiversity Affirming Practice Kickstart: 3 Actionable Tips to do Today.

💬 Get in touch

If you are enquiring about a workshop, webinar, training or a speaking opportunity, I will respond soon. Please note that it can take me a few days to get back to you as I juggle many roles!

If you've registered for a webinar or workshop and can't find confirmation or access information, please check your junk/spam email and add hi@playlearnchat.com to your safe senders/contacts list.

I am not able to provide personalised advice, resource or service requests/recommendations. You can view my resources & links page here, and view therapy services that I've worked with here. Please note that I no longer take on new speech therapy clients.

I am not able to reply to all feedback comments, but I do read them and appreciate you taking the time to share!

Thank you for your understanding!


For anything else - please feel free to contact me using the form below