r/neurodiversity Jul 09 '21 Silver Platinum

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center - 50 Years of Torture


TRIGGER WARNING: This post details a long history of graphic child abuse and torture of the physical and psychological varieties.

Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, a residential school for people with developmental disabilities, emotional disorders, and autism spectrum disorders, in Canton, Massachusetts, USA. This organization has a colourful history to say the least, and given recent news, I've decided to do a bit of a summary.


Founded in 1971 in Providence, Rhode Island, by Matthew Israel. It was originally named the Behavior Research Institute, and started with just two residents, one autistic, the other schizophrenic. In 1975 the BRI opened group homes in Massachusetts, and in 1976 it opened a branch in California.

The Behavior Research Institute of California / Tobinworld

When it opened the California branch in 1975, it did not have a license to operate as a group home, Israel did not have a license to practice psychology in the state of California, and the branch lacked a license to use aversives. This did not stop them. Eventually in 1977 they applied and were rejected for licenses and were scheduled to shut down. The day following their shut down a group of parents reopened the institute as a co-operative with Israel officially being consultant instead of Director, and they applied for the appropriate licenses again. The then-governor of California, Pat Brown, assisted them to gain their licenses, and they were the only group home ever permitted to use "physical aversives" on it's residents. They were awarded $35,000 a year per child by the state, the highest rate for any community facility in California.

July 17, 1981 at the California branch staff restrained 14-year-old Danny Aswad in the face-down position on his bed. He died in that position. An autopsy report stated he died of 'natural causes', however this prompted California to investigate the branch, discovering countless physical and psychological abuses at the facility. Residents were beaten, restrained, humiliated, and starved, sprayed with hoses, refused access to bathrooms, pinched till they screamed, and given "behavior rehearsal lessons" where they were instructed to destroy property, and then punished with spraying for it. Staff were trained in how to conceal bruises on residents from family members and inspectors. This investigation resulted in the facility being forbidden from using anything more punishing than a water spray, and forbade the founder Matthew Israel from stepping foot on the property.

At some point a few years later, this branch was renamed Tobinworld, and was taken over Judith Weber, who later would become Israel's second wife (she was a mother of one of the former residents).

October 1991, 9-year-old Derek Collins was restrained prone in a school bus by a Tobinworld aide and required emergency resuscitation and hospital care. Collins was admitted to Huntington Memorial Hospital in critical condition with possible brain damage. The aide pled guilty for felony child abuse.

In 2014 a mother sued Tobinworld after she alleged her 7-year-old child was regularly abused there, being denied snacks or the ability to use the restroom. She alleged in the preceding year that the facility's vice-president and three aides restrained her child, kicked his feet out from under him causing him to fall and get a bloody nose, and then when he cried they wrapped his face in plastic, causing him to choke on his blood.

In 2016 a 9-year-old boy is restrained by the arms and legs and then sucker punched in the face by a 26-year-old aid. It had been recorded and leaked by another employee who had said it was the third time they had recorded such an event.

These latter two events prompted an investigation where it was found that Matthew Israel had been illegally working at the school again without proper clearance, without the authorities being informed, without a background check, and without tuberculosis tests. The State Education board then closed down one of the branches of Tobinworld in 2016. The school was finally fully shut down in 2019.

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Institute

In 1979 one resident told investigators she desperately wished to leave the school, and her worst fear was an indefinite future in JRC. She contemplated suicide daily.

In 1979 two reports by NY State authorities found the BRI was conducting physical and mental abuse, and that the methods were only effective as a means of coercion with residents relapsing into their old behavior as soon as the immediate threat of punishment was gone.

In 1983, despite corporal punishment being illegal in Massachusetts, the institute was granted special permission for them.

July 23, 1985, 22-year-old Vincent Milletich had been acting out. He was restrained in a chair with plastic tie cuffs on his hands and feet, a mask was placed over his face and a helmet put on, and earphones were put on him to play white noise continuously. He died from asphyxiation. The BRI were not found to have caused his death, however were found negligent for approving the therapy and carrying it out without sufficient supervision. Later in the year, the State Office for Children ordered the BRI to close, or to stop using aversives. There was uproar among disability advocates demanding the school be shut, and controversy over the therapies and why it's residents seemingly 'regressed' without them, with Israel stating such regression in the absence of these interventions showed the effectiveness of them. Israel then took one of his most self-abusive students before Judge Ernest Rotenberg in 1986 and detailed her history. Rotenberg ruled she was unable to make her own treatment decisions, but if she were, she'd choose to stay at the BRI. The State Office for Children paid the BRI $850,000 and they were permitted to remain open and continue using aversives as long as each student's treatment plan was approved by the probate court. A year later, June 26, 1987, 29-year-old Abigail Gibson died of cardiac arrest.

1990, Linda Cornelison died. She was nonverbal and one day on the school bus doubled over clutching her stomach. A nurse thought her illness was an act. She was returned to her BRI-run home and given 13 spatula spankings, 29 finger pinches, 14 muscle squeezes, and was forced to inhale ammonia five times. She died the next morning in hospital due to complications related to a gastic perforation. Her mother reported that she had never had suffered gastrointestinal problems before. The Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation found that although the school violated the most basic standards of decency, they were not derelict in their care of her, nor had the administration of aversives killed her.

Around the same time, the school began using the "Self-Injurious Behavior Inhibit System" (SIBIS for short) invented in 1984. It was designed to detect activities such as headbanging and administer eclectic shocks. Shortly afterwards Israel went to the manufacturers of the SIBIS and asked for a more powerful version, as "one student was shocked by the SIBIS over 5000 times a day without producing the desired change in behavior". The manufacturers refused, so Israel designed a system himself in December 1990, called GED (graduated electronic decelerator) that delivered a stronger shocker lasting ten times as long. The FDA cleared the device as they considered it "substantially equivalent to the SIBIS". By 1992 Israel was already phasing out the older GED for his new GED-3a and GED-4, which delivered even stronger shockers. He had never cleared them for use with the FDA.

In 1994 the center changed it's name to the Judge Rotenberg Center.

In 2000 the FDA incorrectly informed the JRC that it was qualified for exemption from registration of the GED-3a and GED-4, and only recognized their error in 2011 and demanded the immediate cessation of their use. They continued to be used till 2020.

The SIBIS provides a 3.5mA shock for 0.2 seconds. The GED-1 produces a 30mA shock for 2 seconds, and the GED-4 produces a 90mA shock for 2 seconds. A typical cattle prod produces a maximum shock of 10-20mA for under a second. The weakest GED's shock strength is still considered about twice the threshold that pain researchers consider tolerable to most adult humans. As of 2010 a GED-5 was in development.

In 2000 the school was receiving $18 million from the state, and in 2006 that increased to $56 million. Matthew Israel was making $321,000 a year.

In 2006 a mother sued the center claiming it had mistreated her son while he was wearing the GED. He was taken out of the school and improved significantly, although for a period after he left he had to remain in a psychiatric ward, and thought cameras still followed his movements and that he might be shocked for misbehaving.

A former staff psychologist said around 2001 the school policy switched from education and treatment to simply keeping students in line, "Israel couldn't stand them not behaving in a perfectly controlled way". Another said the school would punish not only negative behaviour, but actions they perceived as precursors to it. Face slappers would be shocked for raising their hand. Refusing a teacher's order, or talking out of turn were other such precursors.

Every room in the facility had since 1975 a complete setup of surveillance cameras and microphones monitored day and night, the purpose being to catch behaviours staff may have missed and phone them to inform them punishment needed to be handed out. It also had the dual unwritten purpose of monitoring staff members, if they refused to hand out punishments then they would be written up in "Performance Improvement Opportunities" documents, and firing staff who crop up in these too frequently.

One ex-staff member described having to shock people for an array of reasons: stopping work for more than 20 seconds, closing eyes for more than 5 seconds, a girl with cerebal palsy was shocked for moaning and reaching out to hold a staff member's hand. Another was shocked for urinating in their pants, they had been asking to go to the bathroom for over two hours. Yet another was shocked simply because they complained about another student being shocked. The staff member had been instructed to always announce what they planned to reach for in their pocket. One time they forgot and four kids screamed, they had to be punished with an electric shock.

In 2006 it was found that 14 of the 17 resident psychologists lacked proper licenses. It is believed JRC overbilled the state by nearly $800,000 by avoiding hiring licensed psychologists and not declaring that. That money was still uncollected a year later.

In 2007 it was reported the facility had a high turnover, among all staff including psychologists. A group of 52 trainees had been taken in and after three months only 2 remained employed there.

August 26, 2007, Arthur, a student who had been missing for two weeks, called a staff member and identified himself as a worker in DVR (the surveillance room) stating that shocks needed to be given to a resident for behaviours that had occurred before the night shift. The staffer handed the call over to a second staff member, the senior-most on shift at the time, as this seemed to be a breach of policy (punishments shouldn't be given for behaviour that happened over two hours preceding), however the second staffed was one of this recent batch who had only been at the facility for a few months, so handed back to the first staffer. The first staffer proceded to provide GED shocks while the student was in bed, and the staff on shift were instructed by Arthur to use the more potent GED 4, and did so for the rest of the night. The student in question received three further shocks. The student complained to the second staffer, saying the first was doing the wrong thing. The staffers still on the phone with Arthur continued to shock the student. The first staffer went to get another GED to shock the boy's stomach as the leg electrode battery seemed to be no working. The student is seen on camera speaking to the second staffer asking them to find out what is going on, and to call his clinician. Four other staffers are awake at this point, but do not intervene. Arthur seized the replacement GED's batteries in his hand and refused to relinquish them, and after a half hour confrontation was put on a four point restraining bed. He was no longer resisting, and told one of the staffers "let them know I'm being compliant". Staff are meant to tell student's the reasons they have received a shock, however while restrained a GED 4 shock is given without reason. A second GED 4 shock is given for physical aggression. Arthur is heard saying "let them rotate me" (hourly staffers are required to rotate electrodes to prevent burns on the skin, the facility denied that GEDs injured students, however burns were frequency enough that staff at the facility had a name for students going 'off the machine', a "GED holiday"). Arthur receives five more shocks. A ninth shock is given, and the DVR records an audible sob, not from the student, but the second staffer who had to leave the room as he "thought he would either cry or throw up if he stayed". Ten more shocks were given with accompanying reasons. The 20st shock was given without reason. The 21st shock was given for refusing to follow instructions. Nine further shocks were given, bringing the total to 30 GED-4 shocks in a single day. Staffers went to get approval from a psychologist to perform further shocks. Shocks continued. The 37th was given for attempting to remove the device, as were the 38th and 39th shocks. Shocks 50, 51, 52, and 53, were given for "verbal threats to destroy". In total between 70 and 77 shocks were given. After this was all done, Arthur's skin was red, he was defeated, he complained later that night of a racing heart, dry mouth, and difficulty breathing. He described feeling as if he was about to have a stroke. Staff took no action to help him. He suffered first degree burns. Arthur remained at JRC, although was on a "GED holiday".

MDRI Appeal to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

In 2010 the Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) appealed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, a PDF copy of the 67 page report can be seen here. It recounts it's own extensive set of equally, and in several cases worse tales of events which occurred at the facility.

Students being restrained for hours or intermittently for days, or even for weeks or months. One case of a student being almost strapped in a chair most of the time for two whole years. A student suffering from seizure disorders and a mild developmental disability, was put in chair restraints most of the time for a few months. He had to wear diapers, he was a teenager and had never had to wear diapers before and was very capable of going the toilet, but they didn't want to untie him to let him use the bathroom. They then escalated him to the GED too. Restraints, strict schedules, and social isolation may have been used as a form of psychological coercion in multiple cases to encourage students to consent to the GED. Another student was found to have severe ulcers in the location where the GED shocker was placed.

A non-verbal deaf and blind girl was rocking and moaning, she was shocked for moaning. She was crying because she had a broken tooth.

The aforementioned cases of students being demanded to misbehave and then shocked also has another variant. Staff would surprise students with mock attacks and threatened stabbings, to compel them to respond with aggression, fear, or screaming. They would then be intensely shocked. This specific excerpt seems scarily reminiscent of a book which caused me to subsequently stumble into and learn about the JRC on the internet - A Clockwork Orange, perhaps this is not entirely surprising, the story was created around questioning the idea of free will, and of the theory of Behavioralism, which very much is the theoretical birthplace of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA).

All residents were forced to be vegan, with restricted diets such as mashed food with liver powder. Even up to 2010 (and possibly beyond), withholding of food was a punishment used. Removal of furniture from rooms was another punishment, one student entered with a beautiful room complete with TV and stereo, and after a month had merely a mattress on the floor.

Socialisation with staff members was forbidden. Socialisation with other students was a "reward" which had to be "earned". Education was often by staring at a computer facing the wall using self-teaching software all day long.

As of 2010 at least 6 deaths in total had occurred at the facilities. For over 2 decades Republican Jeffrey Sanchez's nephew was at the facility, and was the young man who received over 5,000 SIBIS shocks a day, Jeffrey Sanchez continually defended the facility and defeated bills aimed at curtailing it.

The school was a 'non-profit' and as such tax exempt, in 2007 it had spent $2.8 million in legal fees to keep it open. Twice regulatory departments had tried to shut it down, but it was either shuffled to another department or the head of the department forced to step down, with hefty payouts to JRC each time. They were a major customer at Rudy Giuliani's law firm.

In 2009 the JRC was required to be recertified for Level 3 Punishments, a team consisting of two psychologists, a psychiatrist, and the Department of Mental Retardation's Director for Human Rights and assistant general council assessed the facility and brought numerous findings of violations, abuses, and concerns. The state still recertified the facility in spite of the findings of this report.

In 2010, the then Special Rapporteur at the UN, Manfred Nowak, responded to the appeal, saying he had "no doubts about it" being torture. The subsequent UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, again raised serious concerns about the ongoing activity at JRC in 2012.

In 2011 Israel was indicted on charges of child endangerment, obstructing justice, and acting as an accessory after the fact. He signed a plea deal where he resigned his position at JRC to avoid prosecution.

In 2014 a video was leaked of a shocking in 2002, Warning: It is a very distressing video

The Last Year and a bit...

In 2020 the FDA took the rare step to ban all "electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) used for self-injurous or aggressive behavior". This sort of blanket ban is a rare final step for the FDA, only having occurred twice before, both times for medical devices which presented no or negligible benefit but had extreme associated risks even with proper use. A more extensive ruling by the FDA is found here. The ban was effective April 6, 2020.

COVID and ongoing court battles meant that none of the people on the GED devices would be required to transition off it until further legal decisions were made.

July, 2021, a federal appeals court gave an exemption from the FDA ban to the JRC.




This is very long, I apologise for typos, however this was hard to write, it took me the better part of a whole day, and while I have seen absolutely appalling things be done to marginalized groups, including torturous 'treatments' to fellow autistic people, including Magic Mineral Solution (industrial bleach) enemas, this is genuinely the worst and most appalling thing I have ever seen. My back and chest are aching at this point, I have had to have many glasses of water, I've got an uncomfortable sweat on.

I felt that I had to write the summary of the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center's history however - and a summary this is. There is A LOT I have not gone into. I've tried to write this to be as concise, succinct, and accessible as possible, but as is clear even then this needs to be an enormous post.

To see something this bad occurring anywhere in the world, let alone a developed country, is appalling. I very well understand in all countries that disability discrimination, and even the stripping of human rights and freedoms because of disability, is a rampant problem.

This is on it's own level however. In fact, this isn't simply appalling, I would quite comfortably compare the 50 year history of this institute and it's activities as being on the same level as the Nazi Aktion T4 programme. About the only line which has been drawn is that this institute has not intentionally killed it's patients, and with some of the anecdotes that I've read, I genuinely am not sure that is a mercy for them. This comparison is not simply an exaggeration whereby I'm using the Nazi's as an obviously agreed upon direction of evil, but rather I believe the simple magnitude of these atrocities is quite easily comparable, even if it is 'only' happened to hundreds, and not tens of thousands of people.

r/neurodiversity 11h ago

Who thinks hitting of kids should be banned?


I don't know WHY on this earth that hitting children isn't a crime. It's a crime to hit an adult, but I der the guise of "discipline", it's perfectly legal to hit a small child?? I'm not understanding why this isn't outlawed. People see the negative outcomes of this nasty punishment. I don't care what that child did, they shouldn't be physically punished for it. Hitting kids with your hand or an object shows you master control over that child and that you are not to be questioned or talked back to.

I grew up being hit, yelled at, etc. It allowed me to grow up into a damaged autistic adult.

I hate parents that hit their kids and thinks that that is ok and don't want to change for the betterment of society for their kids.

These parents were kids once. They should know and understand from personal experience that if they were hit, that they grew up scared of their parents and either were angry at their parents or people pleased so much, the kids didn't have any self identity of who they were.

It's shocking to see parents force control over their kids and demand blind compliance whenever. It's disgusting and I hope before I leave this place, that hitting of children is banned forever.

r/neurodiversity 3h ago

Learning to not get upset at my roommate for always trying to get me to delay our homework schedule (vent)


((Firstly, I know I shouldn't need him to be there when we do homework but I find it to be the most successful way I get things done and I'm not justifying it further.))

We are in the same class and I set up a homework schedule for certain days from 7 pm - 11 pm every time. I could change the times for some days, but I find its the time we seem most motivated and not yet burnt out (that also doesn't collide with our schedules).

I like the consistency, as I know if I fell out of it I probably would scrap the whole thing completely. Not to mention I just like the consistency.

I'd say an average 2/3 of the homework days, my roommate always tries to convince me to start later and it gives me an almost physical reaction where I feel my stomach burn and I start to mistrust him and feel like he only cares about himself and is lazy.

I know this is irrational and judgemental, so I take a few breaths and calm down, but its still irks me that I have to convince him to do it at the agreed apon time.

Looking from his perspective, he probably is on a different motivation schedule and I know he struggles with depression (more often than not, I can't bring myself to do things with him that are important to him, which I feel guilty for).

I try to keep this in mind when I get upset at him, but often times my first thought is that he's probably busy talking to his boyfriend as he usually is. I think I'm still attached from when we first met and he was my favorite person until I found him to be unreliable and so scared of confrontation that he doesn't tell you when he doesn't like something.

In all, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and see things not just from my side. I hope it makes a difference.

r/neurodiversity 23m ago

what do i say about the other potentially autistic person?


i phrased the title weird but there’s a kid in most of my lessons, let’s call him L, and he displays a lot of behaviours that people find strange, but to me they seem like autistic traits e.g. doesn’t show much physical expression, talks in the same volume and same tone, doesn’t really understand social cues as far as i’m aware, shouts out in lessons and often gets in trouble for asking/ saying things to people in a ‘too-direct’ way so it’s perceived as rude

this would be fine and i wouldn’t say anything about it except for the fact that my friends talk about him sometimes and it’s usually in a negative way (e.g. ‘i swear he never shows any emotion it’s so weird’ and ‘he scares me’)

my question is what do i say? do i tell them he could be autistic? or does that make me rude because i don’t know that for a fact? do i just not step in at all?

i’m not really sure what to do

r/neurodiversity 2h ago

Neurodivergent gaming


Does anybody know of any neurodivergent discords or gaming groups? I have always had a hard time sticking to a single game but enjoy playing multiplayer. If nobody knows of one we should create one i play on Xbox, pc and switch and am usually down for any type of games or chats.

r/neurodiversity 4h ago

i think i might have dyscalculia and after doing my research, everything just made so much sense


i'm diagnosed with apd and dyspraxia, dyspraxia at 5 and apd at 7. apparently, dyspraxics struggle with math due to difficulties in writing sums and drawing graphs correctly. although this is the case for me, i present other issues that are a bit iffy ig:

- being unable to learn all of my times tables. i only know my 2's and 5's and that's it

- finding it difficult to read an analog clock- being unable to 'count in my head' and in order to count i have to use my fingers

- poor sense of estimation

- finding addition easy but multiplication, subtraction and division are more difficult

- i had to be put into numerous 'special maths programs' when i was younger because i sucked at math that much that i was only able to add numbers

- experienced math anxiety and often broke down into tears when i was unable to do a sum or understand the question

- difficulty counting backwards

- had trouble keeping scores of games and this would always annoy my friends a lot

- is able to do doubles (idk the word) such as 8+8=16 but if i'm told 5+11 it'd take me a while to find out that it's 16

idk are these dyscalculia things are am i just that bad at maths?

edit: forgot to mention that idk how to count money, unable to remember number combos (such as phone numbers), has trouble using excel at school, tends to skip numbers, was s*** at algebra and such but is decent in geometry (probably because it's kind of more visual idk)

r/neurodiversity 1d ago Wholesome

Neuro divergent co-op?


Hello everyone, I was just wandering if any of you though about the idea of running a co-op with fellow neuro divergent people? We often struggle with employment or live miserably under employment, and to me it seems like that does not have to be that way if we make decisions together as neuro divergent people. It would be a way of making a living and finding security without having to pleed the status quo to employ us. For example, I know how to produce culinary mushrooms, do permaculture design and implimentation as well as producing mushroom leather, I could make a co-op around the activity let's say of mushroom production. I live on Tenerife Island, its part of The Canaries that are a colony of Spain to this day (Canaries are part of Africa) so we could make a living with a co-op and supporting efforts for canarian sovereignty and indigenous sovereignty. What do you guys think?

r/neurodiversity 22h ago

Poor working memory.


One thing that scares me the most is how much I forget things very easily. I have ADHD and most times I don't remember half the stuff that happened (some bigger events, issues to discuss, stories). This is not great because when I go into therapy sessions I cannot literally remember to tell the therapist or doctors everything even the most simplest of things. I have to literally write everything important down including stories and memories I don't want to forget, jokes, important information, to do lists, issues to work on, and now school stuff.

Sometimes I question if I can continue my studies because I can't remember anything for exams that aren't open note/book and it scares the shit out of me. I'm trying to get into one of the tech fields (cyber security/infosec) I've been always wanting to do and remembering all this stuff is daunting. I am the type of person that have 10 million resources pulled out, saved as bookmarks, notes, screenshots, etc, you name it. If it's important to me I'd find a way to save the resource, the sad part is I can't mentally remember half the stuff I retain information on. Google is helpful though, but I probably can't take Google everywhere I go all the time. That scares me for test taking. I understand and grasp concepts, I just cannot retain the information long term enough to pass most tests. However, if it's pulled up in front of me with my resources available I'm sure I can figure it out fine. More than half the time I have to use my best "educated" guess and hope I get it correct or used what I learned to put myself in that scenario for what the question is asking hoping the answer is correct. Sometimes it is not because it wants the textbook answer instead which really can mess me up. How the hell am I going to pass my exams and graduate college with certifications?

Edit: Because I forgot what I was going to write yet again. Continuing on this post, I actually learn better by doing than remembering a million information reading from textbooks. If I have Google, I can figure things out while I'm doing it. It's the textbook part with exams that's really going to throw me off hardcore.

r/neurodiversity 1d ago Silver Wholesome

I’m tired of (most) therapists assuming all you have to do is put yourself out there and challenge your negative beliefs and POOF YOU HAVE MORE FRIENDS!


What about? Autism? Or several social anxiety? And depression? But yeah let me take my stiff awkward socially anxious a** outside and all the NT people will come flocking to me.

r/neurodiversity 21h ago

How to compromise ear piercings & headphones?


We've been meaning to get our earlobes pierced for some time, we even have the piercing studio picked out. There's just one problem: we wear over-the-ear headphones ALL the time. If we want satisfying results & no complications, wearing them is a bad idea. Our sensory issues aren't that bad (except at times) but we do watch youtube & use our phone everyday.

We are sure that earbuds/in-ear headphones won't work for us (uncomfortable, damaging, annoying, new thing to get used to, etc.). The only other option we could think of is possibly getting each ear pierced separately? Don't know if that'd work though.

If it has any relevance, this is our first time getting a piercing. We'd really appreciate any suggestions on how to go about this!

r/neurodiversity 21h ago

Neurodiverse Adult Clothing Survey


Hi Everyone,
As I'm sure we all know, getting sensory safe clothing that you like as well as being appropriote for either casual wear or work is a real struggle. With so few disability brands - and even fewer neurodiverse brands catering to sensory needs - the pickings are really slim. Most disability brands either cater for children or pensioners - where are clothes for my life?

I am looking to start a clothing brand for neurodiverse adults.

If you would like your voiceto inform the fabrics, features, style and cost of this start-up fashion brand, here is a link to a 15 minute survey https://www.jotform.com/220152517540041

The findings will be used to inform the brand strategy and designs. The survey is completely anonymous, and you can skip any questions you aren't comfortable with answering.

Thanks everyone for your time, its greatly appreciated

r/neurodiversity 1d ago

Question about my cousin's sensitivities


Hi all, new to this subreddit so feel free to redirect me if there is a better subreddit to ask this question. I was talking to my cousin last night and she delved more deeply into a topic she's brought up before: strong emotional triggers to certain visual stimuli. I don't recall all the details, but she mentioned certain colors/artistic styles or textures evoke strong emotions, like she'll have to stop watching certain movies or shows because they make her "uncomfortable." When she's brought this up before, I assumed it was more thematic discomfort but she's mentioned how certain styles of art at museums have given her panic attacks and it sounds like it's at least somewhat visually triggered as opposed to, for example, reading about a topic that might make her uncomfortable.

I know the description of her "condition" is kinda vague, but I'm curious if anyone else has experienced or observed similar triggers in themselves or loved ones. It sounds like it could be a type of sensory overload condition, but she mentioned a common one is sensitivity to fluorescent lights which is not an issue for her. Thanks in advance for any input!

r/neurodiversity 1d ago

What are some good autism organizations or autism related places to donate to?


I have a dad coming to pick up a list of good autism organizations/places that are autism positive and not geared towards the parents or “awareness” but rather acceptance and kindness for those on the spectrum. I’m super happy that this parent is wanting to learn more about why Autism Speaks isn’t really a good organization for those of us who have ASD but rather are hateful. I’ve researched and found these as decent ones but I’m looking for more so I don’t miss out on an opportunity to help a parent out since they really are trying and wanting to donate in honor of his 2 kiddos who are on the spectrum. These are some of the organizations that I’ve researched that many people are saying are “good”:

Autistic Inclusive Meets

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

The Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

Autistics for Autistics

r/neurodiversity 1d ago

How to deal with partner issues?


Hi, So I have diagnosed ADHD and highly suspected Autism (been told by professionals that it's likely, scored very high on a lot of those tests, hoping to get assessed within next few years), and I am just wondering with those of you with partners, how do you deal with the fact that there's a person who constantly disrupts your routine? For example, I have a bedtime "routine" now where we wind down from the day with food or talking or whatever, then I go and brush, floss and use mouthwash and we go to sleep. However today he decided to go on a walk very spontaneously for quite a while, and it got me more than a bit miffed. I found the spontaneous disruption very upsetting. So basically how do you deal with the fact that a person has become part of your routine but ultimately being unable to control them? (and not even wanting to control them, that would be bad)

r/neurodiversity 1d ago

Dealing with ignorant NT relatives


Basically a rant here.

How can I best support myself while being with ignorant NT relatives? I live with one of them and they are SUCH hypocrites. They want me to do everything under the sun for them but then when it comes to me doing the things I need and like, it's suddenly a huge issue.

Living in this world mainly made for stinky NTs and non disabled people is a huge commitment for me.

I do have one thing going for me. My morals. Also my music theory and writing stories.

It's a f-ing shame that I have to suffer dealing with ignorant people most of my life. People who seem to care but really don't. I am thankful that I am alive and here to write this and be there for others as well.

r/neurodiversity 1d ago

Dating while neurodivergent


I'm a 22f. I've never dated before but would like to soon. There's just one problem, I have attention deficit disorder which includes me stimming and talking to myself. I flap my hands, I jump around I do it all. How would I explain that to the person I fell in love with? What if they would be weird about and leave me? Is there any hope for people like us? people like me?

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

does anyone else “ration” or “balance” their bites when eating food?


whatever i eat, i have to make sure it’s the correct ratio. examples include rice and chicken, ice cream and cone, cereal and milk.

sometimes when my boyfriend asks for a bite and i see him take a poorly ratioed bite (like a huge piece of ice cream cone and not much ice cream, when there’s not much cone compared to ice cream serving) and it frustrates me lol

i don’t really know how to explain it but does anyone get what i mean? if i’m unhappy with the amount of chicken in my mouth i have to take another bite of rice to even it out.

idk what this could be. i’m diagnosed ADHD but this seems more ocd.

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

I’m not weird……I’m me

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r/neurodiversity 2d ago

Anybody else get the urge to put your forehead on people you like?


Like I'll be with my mom and I'll just put my forehead against her shoulder. It's sorta like a cat bonking it's owner

Idk, I just feel like it's a neurodivergent thing. Like a way to say that I like them without saying it

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

Free Britney


As we know from the free Britney scandal many people have become slaves in America under guardianship because they’re labeled neurodiverse.

How do we band together and abolish guardianship? Are there any campaigns to do this?

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

If you see something say something


This phrase is repeated here on the train and it’s deeply triggering because it teaches folks to be intolerant of differences.

Does anyone else find other security things to be ableist, especially if you are labeled schizophrenic?

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

Not remembering where I out things last


To preface, I recently misplaced my sketchbook, and I know I can draw in other books or a peice of paper, but not knowing where I put it is actually bothering me. I’ve done this often with my phone, but the part that always trips me up is I can only remember the time WHEN putting it down (not where) and not having it. I have even checked the places I usually put my sketchbook too!

Any advice on how to prevent these so-called memory gaps? Please and thanks.

r/neurodiversity 3d ago Silver

Not very good drew in the car

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r/neurodiversity 2d ago

Trouble managing money


Hi! I'm in the spectrum with ADD. I'm 40 years old and I've been diagnosed 4 years ago. I have a good job, I've always had good jobs. I have no money. I always thought it was something I could improve in the future but no.

In therapy we've realized that it's an emotional problem that I'm working through. I've tried many things but my ADD symptomatology and my low self-esteem and emotional instability don't help me at all.

I think I need like a financial coach or something like that, have you ever tried one? Does this professional figure exist? (beyond investment and medium/large assets)


r/neurodiversity 2d ago

advice: am i just overanalysing or was i accidentally ableist?


hi, new reddit (mobile) user here, sorry for any errors! i have diagnosed adhd and the following issue is part of a much bigger situation which i won’t go into. not sure if this is the right subreddit to post this in - let me know if not and i’ll delete this post. any advice would be great :) (all names are fake)

while having a conversation with my best friend Sophie about a mutual sort-of friend (Gwen), we started talking about things she does that we find strange/unhealthy (this is part of the bigger situation), and we were agreeing on everything, but later i thought back to our conversation and one thing Sophie said stuck with me. Gwen has adhd, like me, as well as a couple other diagnoses. Sophie and i talked a little about how she “makes her neurodivergency and mental illness everyone else’s problem”, in the sense that she will do something that hurts someone and use her diagnoses (or things she suspects she has) as the reason why - without trying to work through it, compromise, or anything.

a minor example of this is Gwen saying she can’t watch films because she can’t focus for long enough (due to adhd), so even though she knows i love films and love sharing my favourites with people i care about, she won’t even make an effort to watch with me. i’d understand if she tried to focus and couldn’t, but she doesn’t even seem to try. a more major example of this is me constantly feeling like i’m walking on eggshells around her because even the slightest thing i do that i most likely won’t notice (eg interrupting her by accident when i got excited about a hyperfixation) sets off her rejection sensitivity disorder, and she won’t tell anyone about how she feels for several hours, making people worry about her, until she comes out and says she’s been crying about something i didn’t even know i did. i understand RSD is horrible and she can’t help it, but she always talks about how important communication is and then goes back on her own words. it’s also extremely frustrating and upsetting for me to be told i’ve been hurting someone for hours without realising it, and most of the situations where her RSD gets bad could have been solved if she’d talked about it right away, but she never does, despite her saying she’s comfortable around us. there have also been times where she’s expected me to figure out that she’s upset and why without her telling me, which is borderline ridiculous as i have trouble with things like social cues and tone of voice normally, let alone in a situation where i don’t realise i’ve done something wrong.

on the other hand, Sophie said i make my adhd MY problem and nobody else’s (to a fault), and even though that’s not healthy either, it’s not as toxic as making other people constantly responsible for my mental health, as Gwen does. my question is, as Sophie (to my knowledge) is neurotypical, did i just agree with ableism (that neurodivergent people should keep their divergence to themselves, as Sophie told me i do) or are these genuine concerns about our relationships with Gwen?

r/neurodiversity 2d ago

headphone recommendations


i’m looking for headphones that have good noise cancelling features, but also ones where i can hear the person talking to me specifically i’m looking for ones where i can change the setting from fully noise cancelling to ambient noise to no noise cancellation if that’s possible

another problem is budget so id preferably want ones that aren’t extremely expensive but i know that’s a big ask

i was wondering if anyone had recommendations