I am a neurodivergent family physician with a passion for educating kids about their brains.
Note: nothing on this site or my Youtube channel constitutes medical advice. I encourage all readers/viewers to seek their own healthcare provider and direct all personal medical questions to that professional. I do, however, recommend finding healthcare providers who understand and and appreciate the reject the deficits model of neurodevelopmental differences. There is nothing to “cure,” only to understand, support, reduce disability from & promote self-actualization.
“All Brains Are Awesome” began by accident. After being forced to cobble together a DIY homeschooling curriculum in early COVIDLand (Spring 2020), I quickly recognized the power of video and video modeling to teach all things. Over time, I adapted my curriculum to be exclusively video-based (a carefully chosen collection of kids media/Youtube clips to demonstrate my target objectives related to regulation, executive function, and social communication — my pandemic priorities!). Unfortunately, however, I spent more time weeding through imperfect content to consume than actually teaching — while there were indeed many awesome resources (see Resource Library), much of what is out there was at best too long/complicated/not directed to a young child audience, or at worst outright ableist, deficits-based, and inconsistent with my parenting/educational goals. So I decided to start creating my own content. Turns out, my low tech (one-handed iPhone selfie-filming), untrained concoctions cobbled together in the wee hours of the night were a) super-fun as a creative outlet, and b) actually helpful to my child (and his friends!) So then I started making custom videos for my patients (both neurotypical and neurodivergent) to help empower them with strategies for navigating their worlds. Turns out, this quickly became my new favorite professional activity. I made so many videos that I ran out of storage space, and needed to “default” to private storage on YouTube. At the encouragement of some amazing people in my life, I decided to make some of these videos publicly available to others. “All Brains Are Awesome” was born in March 2021.
My philosophy is that the road to inclusive society begins with inclusive education — and that inclusive education needs to begin in preschool. ALL kids need to learn about neurodiversity. There is no “right” way to sense, learn, communicate, or do anything. There is no one “normal” type of brain. Everything exists on a continuum. It has not been hard at ALL to talk with children (as young as 3-4) about this. It has not been hard at ALL to coach neurotypical and neurodivergent preschoolers to learn from and accommodate one another’s brains. If kids develop an early lens for understanding their own brains and the brains of those around them, we can cultivate respect for and celebration of both connections and differences. Moreover, even very young kids can learn about what they need at a particular point in time, and how to ask for what they need — which puts them well on their way toward becoming self-actualized self-advocates. If kids grow up where this perspective is taught and modeled for them, I believe we have the opportunity to proactively prevent much disability — since disability comes from a mismatch between someone’s needs and their environment/people around them. Every day professionally, I witness the kinds of mental health, social, and societal problems that my patients run into (at home, at school, with peers) including significant trauma that occurs when the people around them do not understand their brains — and force them to conform to ableist “standards” and inadvertently (though entirely inevitably) instill in them an internalized sense of deficiency.
I hope to proactively, preventatively offer an alternative message: indeed, all brains are awesome.