Navigating Life as an Older, Late-Diagnosed Autistic + ADHD Female

Living in the Great Lakes region of the United States, I have always had a deep connection with nature. As a visual artist and photographer, I find inspiration in the smallest details of the world around me. One of my greatest passions is insects, and I can spend hours observing their behavior and capturing their beauty through my lens.

But being an older, late-diagnosed Autistic + ADHD female has presented its own unique challenges. Growing up, I always felt different, like I didn’t quite fit in with my peers. It wasn’t until later in life that I finally received my diagnoses and began to understand why.

Now, as an adult, I am navigating the complexities of life with neurodivergent conditions. One of the ways I find solace is through gardening. Tending to my plants and creating a nurturing environment for them brings me a sense of peace and purpose. It allows me to connect with the earth and find a sense of grounding.

Another aspect of my journey as an older, late-diagnosed Autistic + ADHD female is my interest in Autism research conducted by Autistic researchers themselves. I believe that it is crucial for those with lived experience to be at the forefront of research and advocacy. Their perspectives and insights are invaluable in shaping a more inclusive and understanding society.

Through my art and photography, I aim to raise awareness about Autism and ADHD, particularly in women and girls who may be overlooked or misdiagnosed. I want to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding neurodivergent individuals and showcase the beauty and strength that comes with embracing our differences.

Living in the Great Lakes region provides me with ample opportunities to explore the natural world and capture its essence through my camera lens. Whether it’s the vibrant colors of a sunset reflecting on the water or the intricate patterns on a butterfly’s wings, there is no shortage of inspiration in this picturesque landscape.

As I continue on my journey as an older, late-diagnosed Autistic + ADHD female, I am learning to embrace my neurodivergence as an integral part of who I am. It is not something to be ashamed of or hidden away, but rather celebrated and embraced. Through my art, my gardening, and my advocacy, I hope to create a more accepting and inclusive world for all neurodivergent individuals.

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