Neurodiversity 

"Neurodiversity is the term used to describe natural variations in the human brain. It relates to differences in the way we think, process, learn and behave. Most people are neurotypical meaning that the brain functions and processes in the way that society expects. Yet 1 in 7 people are neurodiverse meaning they have unique traits. These are characterized as neurodiverse conditions.
Neurodiverse conditions are developmental. That means they are present at birth, but traits develop in childhood and adolescence. Examples of neurodiverse conditions include ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette's syndrome. 
Source: What is Neurodiversity?

**Neurodiversity means many things to many people. To us, it is my daughter's particular set of complex diagnosis, to others it may completely different.  

Art Gives a Voice : By Jess Glover


I’m speechless! Society is bombarded with posters; pamphlets and people that dictate a need to speak up, a need to voice opinions, and a need to tell all our deepest thoughts and feelings. The point when a person is often called to speak is when something is wrong. But the truth is that for someone who is vulnerable and has experienced immense trauma this can be one of the most obstructive things to be asked to do. Trauma is real and raw and can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a severe and debilitating condition. So what role can art play for the sufferer, for those who witness and journey with the sufferer and for those who know nothing at all? Art can be intrinsic in enabling a sufferer to find a voice without words, providing them a freedom without boundaries or rules. Art in a gallery space can bring a human face to an experience, allowing the viewer to engage more deeply. Art is the medium that makes the internal external.
If PTSD were a work of art, how would it look? Glass artist Jacqueline King who is a PTSD sufferer has had it described to her like this.
“Imagine you are a beautiful hand blown glass vase with exquisite colour and form sitting on a sideboard and much admired. When major trauma happens the beautiful glass vase that you are gets knocked off the table and smashes on the floor splintering into thousands of pieces. Most rush quickly to gather the pieces and try valiantly to hold it all together, to appear like they used to be by holding all the pieces together with anything they can. But there is no way to do this of course.”
When trauma is experienced it cannot be taken away. Sometimes the response is to treat it as though it can. The road with PTSD is long and sadly never ending. Those who have experienced trauma often become unaware of their feelings and are unable to understand their importance, meaning they don’t talk about their feelings or emotional preferences. There have been extensive debates over various treatment options for those that walk this road. Research and personal testimony has shown that art therapy has helped sufferers to better manage their emotions and bring a reduction in PTSD symptoms.
The basis for art therapy is visual expression that connects feelings with thought, through a process that draws on the different parts of the brain that store memory. Brain function is deeply affected by trauma and some basic information about the brain is needed to make sense of this. Procedural memory is found in a part of the brain called the amygdala. Procedural memory is linked to responses resembling, pleasure, feelings of punishment, and awareness of behaviour and the amygdala attaches emotional meaning to these feelings. Procedural memories are found in the same part of the brain that responds to trauma such responses of flight, fright, fight or freeze are found here, PTSD causes the amygdale to become overloaded and unable to function properly
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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

What are typical symptoms of CRPS?
Most individuals do not have all of these symptoms, and the number of symptoms typically reduces during recovery.
  • Unprovoked or spontaneous pain that can be constant or fluctuate with activity. Some say it feels like a “burning” or “pins and needles” sensation, or as if the affected limb was being squeezed. Over time, if nerves remain chronically inflamed, pain can spread to involve most or all of the arm or leg, even if the originally affected area was smaller. In rare cases, pain and other symptoms occur in a matching location on the opposite limb. This “mirror pain” is thought to reflect secondary involvement of spinal cord neurons (nerve cells). Mirror pain is less severe and resolves as the injured nerves recover.
  • Excess or prolonged pain after use or contact. There is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, known as allodynia, in which light touch, normal physical contact, and use is felt by the person to be very painful. Some notice severe or prolonged pain after a mildly painful stimulus such as a pin prick, known as hyperalgesia.
  • Changes in skin temperature, skin color, or swelling of the affected limb. The injured arm or leg may feel warmer or cooler than the opposite limb. Skin on the affected limb may change color, becoming blotchy, blue, purple, gray, pale, or red. These skin symptoms typically fluctuate as they indicate abnormal blood flow in the area. Opening and closing the small blood vessels under the skin is controlled by the C-nerve fibers that are injured in CRPS.
  • Changes in skin texture. Over time, insufficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients can cause skin in the affected limb to change texture. In some cases, it becomes shiny and thin, in others thick and scaly. Avoiding contact or washing painful skin contributes to this build-up.
  • Abnormal sweating and nail and hair growth. On the affected limb, hair and nails may grow abnormally rapidly, or not at all, and people may notice patches of profuse sweating or no sweating. All are under neural control and influenced by local blood circulation.
  • Stiffness in affected joints. This common problem is that reduced movement leads to reduced flexibility of tendons and ligaments. Tight ligaments or tendons sometimes rub or pinch nerves to provide an internal cause of CRPS in people who do not have external injuries.
  • Wasting away or excess bone growth. In CRPS-affected limbs, bones that receive signals from the damaged nerves rarely become affected. These abnormalities are often visible on X-rays or other imaging where they help specialists pinpoint the location of nerve damage and identify best treatments. Rough or enlarged areas of bone, such as after a poorly healed fracture or from a bone cyst, can irritate passing nerves and initiate or prolong CRPS.
  • Impaired muscle strength and movement. Most people with CRPS do not have direct injury to the nerve fibers that control the muscles coordinating muscle movement. However, most report reduced ability to move the affected body part. This is usually due to pain and abnormalities in the sensory input that helps coordinate movements. Also, the excess inflammation and poor circulation are not healthy for muscles. Rare patients report abnormal movement in the affected limbs, fixed abnormal posture called dystonia, and tremors in or jerking. These can reflect secondary spread of disturbed neural activity to the brain and spinal cord. Most resolve by themselves during CRPS healing, but some people require orthopedic surgery to lengthen contracted tendons and restore normal flexibility and position.
          Source: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet