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Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You

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But that's fine, because it is MUCH more useful than that to a reader who wants an easy-to-digest summary of a lot of recent work in understanding neurodivergence particularly as it manifests in women

Joel Salinas of Harvard Neurology, author Maya Dusenbery, Angel Kyodo Williams, Lissa Rankin, NYTimes bestselling author Bill Hayes, designer Scott Belsky of 99U and numerous others. I really found this enlightening; this is, in some ways, the successor to Susan Cain's "Quiet", the book about introversion. The author's passing endorsement of training cops about ways autistic traits can look like disobedience feels especially ignorant, given the amount of young autistic Black men and women who have been arrested or assaulted by police who knew they were autistic. To start, the author looked at neurodivergences with the most limited view: from the lens of a white cishet woman from a financially privileged background with pretty much no effort to look outside that narrow view.This book is powerful, much-needed for our times, and Jenara Nerenberg offers a unique blend of personal, scientific, and societal analysis. I agree with a lot of people who are slightly put off with this book because it doesn’t really dive deep enough into different types of neurodivergent women who fall into these spectrums. It ends up feeling really "White Feminist" to spend so much time speaking about gender and gender alone.

Overall, as an autistic person, I would not want someone I know to read this book and think that this is representative of my experience. It isn't a "new study", as one of the back blurbs describes it - not in the sense of a scientific study. This isn't to say that there aren't people who experence mirroring so intense that it is distressing, however the author doesn't make this distinction clear. Sharing real stories from women with high sensitivity, ADHD, autism, misophonia, dyslexia, SPD, and more, Nerenberg explores how these brain variances present differently in women and describes practical changes in how we communicate, how we design our surroundings, and how we can better support divergent minds. I was also extremely confused about the focus on 'sensitivity' as if that was the only qualifier for being neurodivergent.Mirror Neurons are a staple of bonding and evolution, if you don't have mirror neurons firing off you gonna have big problems. Reads as an extremely out of touch hr manual which is especially jarring considering how much passion the author clearly has for the topic. Her inclusion of Samantha Craft's list of ways that autism can present in women was instrumental for me to recognize it in myself, and am now working to get psychological testing. Nerenberg also offers us a path forward, describing practical changes in how we communicate, how we design our surroundings, and how we can better support divergent minds.

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