About

About Alphabet Soup

WHY?

I’m writing this because I this is the information I needed 10 years ago when one after another my three children were given an alphabet soup of diagnosis that began with autism (ASD), but grew to include Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS), ADHD, learning disabilities (LD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

I’m writing this because I remember how exhausted and overwhelmed I felt. I remember how I wanted to do every single thing to help my kids but didn’t know where to even begin. I felt isolated and different from other parents. Traditional (neurotypical) parenting advice didn’t work and felt counter-intuitive to what my children needed. I was desperate to help my kids but didn’t have any clue about what they needed and they were too little to share. We embarked on a journey of empathy, observation, research and trial and error.

I attended lots of parent groups, followed blogs and online groups. I’ll be honest, I often felt defeated after those exchanges. There was a lot of venting, grieving and frustration in those gatherings. Communities like these can provide an outlet but they weren’t what I needed. I needed information and wanted to understand how my kids were experiencing their world.

Thankfully, there are some wonderful autistic adults who blog. Again, not all communities were supportive. In some cases as a neurotypical parent I felt very unwelcome in forums. It was a taste of what it feels like to be excluded based on having a different perspective, and for that, I’m grateful because it solidified my desire to build bridges so the we all understand each other better.

My intention is to offer information and resources to help neurological typically (NT) to better understand neurologically divergent (ND) and vice versa. I’m writing this for you because there are many many ways to experience the world when your neurological system diverges from what the world considers normal.

I’m writing this with the hope that I can help you as a parent with a newly diagnosed child to find your way forward.

I’m writing this for those recently given an alphabet soup of diagnosis later in life or for those who just feel out of sync with their peers but aren’t sure why.

I’m writing this for your children and my children, because, at the end of the day I’ve come to understand that neurological difference is just another aspect of being human.

I’m not setting out to tell you a tale of woe. I’m also not going to give you a fairy tale filled with false expectations, because let’s face it, life is a messy business no matter how you’re wired.

I don’t believe in a cure for autism, any more than I believe in a cure for having blue eyes. Autism, along with a wide variety of neurological differences, is simply part of the variety of human expression. I believe the way forward lies in understanding how our brains work and building bridges between neurotypical and neurodivergent worlds.

WHO AM I?

Professionally, I bring 25 plus years as a Physiotherapist and a decade of Lifestyle Coaching to this conversation.

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people tick. My curiosity has taken me down some interesting career paths, including body based trauma processing, acupuncture, cranial sacral therapy and other ways of exploring the relationship between the body and the mind.

Anita Allen - Physiotherapist and Writer

My scientific, skeptical brain always brings me back to the nervous system. It is central to how our senses function, how we learn and how we experience the world and whether we feel safe in it or threatened. In a very granular way, our nervous systems control our bodily functions like sleep and digestion.

Personally, I have three sons, each of whom has a uniquely divergent nervous system. We’ve navigated daycare, school and a host of other experiences together. Although they are my greatest teachers, my entry to neurologically different territory began in childhood and has been a constant theme ever since. I feel blessed to have friends and family that neurologically diverse and challenge my neurotypical ways.

QUOTES:

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
~ Dr.Seuss

When it comes to our children, we do not have the luxury of despair. If we rise, they will rise with us every time, no matter how many times we’ve fallen. Remembering that is the most important work we can possibly do as parents.
~Cheryl Strayed