Love, Neurodiverse Style; Happiness Is a Warm Roomba

Mr. William Bipple might be my new best friend. This was the name my husband and I, between fits of giggles, gave our Roomba when prompted to name the device on his phone screen. Mr. Bipple, or Billy as we playfully call him, is our latest partner in the process of neuro-hacking our lifestyle.

My husband and I are both neurodivergent, which makes for an interesting home life. For the most part, we compensate for each other well. He has a gift for spatial skills, such as building and repairs, and is an excellent cook. I am a broad thinker and planner, and manage our budget and schedules. We both fall short though, in the realm of executive function. Mundane household chores are the bane of our shared existence.

Executive Function is a broad term for the ability to prioritize and initiate tasks. In neurodivergent children with executive function disorders, this often manifests as homework forgotten, teeth unbrushed, laundry on the floor, and a child scolded for something they didn’t even realize they were lacking. There are many curricula, books, courses, and seminars on how to teach neurodivergent students to overcome these executive function challenges. I’ve tried every one. The constant effort to swim against the tide of one’s own brain can be demoralizing and exhausting. A little success comes at great effort.

We have made other choices to make our home life happier, more comfortable, and more functional, and work with our neurotypes, rather than against them.

Mr. Bipple, the Roomba, is our white flag of surrender. No longer will we feel guilt and shame over floors unswept. It is a joyous defeat because our emotional space has value. We have outsourced the executive function of daily sweeping to a delig...

 

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About Amy Faigin

Amy Faigin is a neurodivergent educator, activist, and individual. Diagnosed as autistic at age thirteen, she attended Bridges Academy, a school for twice-exceptional students. After graduating from high school, she pursued a degree in digital media at Otis College of Art and Design, and began work as an independent designer. Amy now teaches at Bridges Academy, instructing in entertainment design, technological history, and mentoring students through their self-directed Young Expert program. She also works with the Ed Asner Family Center as a spokesperson, educator, and co-leader of their LGBTQ+ group. Amy is presently pursuing further education through the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education in order to continue growing as an educator and advocate.