Raised on the rocky ground of turbulence and childhood abuse, I grew up feeling as if it wasn’t safe to be me. I had to ‘mask up’, hide, and shield others, as I became someone else in order to be accepted.
As a child, I had this felt sense that I did not belong. I was the ‘quiet girl’ the ‘shy girl’ the ‘do as you’re told girl’.
I learned all of the rules of how I was supposed to act so that I did not upset the adults in my life and I could be safe. But this isn’t real safety!
I believed that my words were not valid and that my opinions did not count. I withdrew and starved myself to fit in. I worked so hard at pretending that I actually felt like I had disappeared.
This is so often the experience for those of us who are or who are considering if they may be neurodivergent. Witnessing my own children, I began to recognize this same sense of them being ‘othered’ in them too.
I knew early on that my children were ‘different’ as they had identified as LGBTQ+ from a young age. Eventually, at the end of 2020, after many years of mental health struggles, we received the diagnosis that our eldest child, Madi was Autistic. And because Neurodiversity runs in families, subsequent tests revealed that their younger sister, Morgan was also Autistic. (We are currently on the waiting list to have our youngest formally assessed however we suspect that Theo may be Neurodivergent too.)
The desire to provide my children with a sense of deep safety has been the height of my devotion as I have also taken roles in early childhood management to create nurturing environments as well as creating training programs to educate early childhood Teachers who discover a range of tools for creating respectful environments where the sovereignty of each child and teen is upheld.
My personal and professional life has revolved around advocating for all children and teenagers to be treated with the utmost respect.
It’s vital that we dismantle the thinking and responses to their identity, choices and behaviour so that we can celebrate the beautiful
beings we have been chosen to parent.
I started my advocacy work in Early Childhood Education, 25 years ago, because I felt drawn to working with children. My work, which is greatly influenced by the teachings of Dr Emmi Pikler and reverence for the sovereignty of even our youngest babies, I felt a calling to equip and support children to feel safe and receive the respect they deserve.
I further invested in my professional skillset by becoming a certified Tuning in to Kids and Tuning in to Teens parenting program facilitator.
I developed training programs to educate adults on the need for safe and respectful care towards children (especially non-verbal
babies and toddlers). I went on to write 2 books and mentor Early Childhood Managers and their teams to create respect and recognition for a child’s right to be, choose and become.
As parents it is our job to step up, and reconnect with what was denied in us so can be the pioneers in change for our future generations. Our generational pain has been ‘hot potatoed‘ to our children for too long.
As we reconnect with our sovereignty, unlearn, heal and reparent ourselves as Neurodivergent Parents, Guardians and Allies we can equip our Neurodivergent Children and Teens to validate their own identities and advocate for themselves in a world wired for
As a Proud Mama of 3 Neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ Teens, I know firsthand the precarious sensitivity involved in raising a teen with complex needs! I recognize the lack of support here is for parents who are wanting to know how to navigate Neurodiversity, Sexuality and Gender when it comes to their teens (and themselves).
There is so much misinformation, confusion and cultural stigma attached to our and our children’s innate ways of knowing and being. This is why I offer parents partnership and individualized support with my 1-1 Parent Coaching Partnership.
I have also worked alongside my husband, Wayne, and our children to create Seen, Heard, Accepted – an Allyship Program for parents to equip families with the tools, skills and framework so our children and ourselves can thrive being seen, heard and accepted for who we are.