One thing I want to put forward this week is the importance and value of being open to and supportive of neurodiversity. We’re all different, and that’s fine. There’s no need for us all to function in the same way. That would actually be super boring!
As a kid, neurodiversity wasn’t something I was particularly aware of. I thought of differences as flaws.
The first time I stopped being utterly stupid about it was when I discovered “Le Huitième Jour” (The Eighth Day)
, a fantastic French movie about the friendship between a busy/unhappy salesman played by Daniel Auteuil
and an institutionalized man with Down syndrome
, played by Pascal Duquenne
. I was deeply moved by it, and can’t recommend it enough (Go watch it now!). It really opened my eyes.
Later, when I was a teenager, my parents decided to become a host family. Three children joined us, and my parents adopted them later on. The first was my sister Anaïs who has mental retardation. She joined us when she was still a baby. Even though she has her differences, she’s also the most joyful person I know. When I get her on the phone, I know that I can make her laugh in about two seconds. And that is truly priceless. She’s innocent. She works differently, and it causes her issues in life. But she’s also a wonderful and kind human being. Many people on this earth could learn a thing or two from her.
More recently, my daughter Amandine was diagnosed with ADHD. It was actually a relief for us to discover that and learn more about the way she functions. Since then we’ve been able to help her. It’s not always easy though. We have to be creative to find ways to channel her energy 😂.
As I get older, I realize how much society still stigmatizes differences, and it’s really sad. That’s why I was glad to read Jan De Wilde’s article this week: