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inclusion SCA

New FB group: “SCA Neurodiversity”

Hi everyone. This continues to be a challenging time, and finding the energy and will to blog regularly is much heavier. And I’m pushing through that today, because there are some recent developments I think are worth taking the time to share.

Recently, I have made a significant change around my moderation duties on Facebook. After eight glorious years, I have handed over the reins of the SCA Bardic Arts group to my long-time co-moderator Aneleda Falconbridge, and recruited a new team of moderators to help keep the group thriving into the future (more on that below). I’ve done this to provide me time and space to focus on a new FB I’ve just launched, SCA Neurodiversity. The group has been operating for nearly 3 weeks, and I’m very pleased with the growth and the responses from new members.

People who’ve been following this blog or my bardic career will no doubt be aware of my passion for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity issues, especially within the SCA. As an adult with ADHD, and the father of a teenager on the Autism spectrum, I endeavor to be a particular advocate around invisible differences, particularly learning and neurological differences. Neurodiversity refers to the community and discussion of these differences from an IDE and advocacy lens.

I received my diagnosis (then called simply Attention Deficit Disorder) back in the summer of 1993 at age 24. The diagnosis transformed my life and my relationship to my struggles in the space of one year, though the work of growing and adapting has been ongoing and continuous since then, and will continue long the rest of my life. Within a year or two, I was starting online discussions (yes, back when AOL was almost the only game in town) about ADD, self-help, and self-advocacy. For a few years after that, a number of self-help and education books about ADD listed my AOL email address as an online resource, which is part of the reason I maintained the address long after AOL ceased to be a major player in the online space.

I first joined—and left—the SCA in 1991 and 1992 (right before the diagnosis). When I got active as an SCA bard eight years ago, I found myself re-evaluating my challenges connecting and finding my place when I had first joined. And, as I jumped in with a passion (maybe an obsession?) around proving myself and getting known, my self-awareness about what is now known as ADHD didn’t necessarily protect me from making all sorts of mistakes. While my ability to pick up on other people’s emotions and social cues has definitely improved with time and practice, it continues to require an active effort on my part, and it’s easy for me to tell myself that I’m “safe” in a community of history geeks, and that I don’t have to do the extra work of constantly monitoring for pitfalls. As so many of my neurodivergent friends have shared with me, the effort of “masking” and following the unwritten rules of any community can be absolutely exhausting.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and it’s become clear how very not alone I am on this journey. And yet, so much of SCA culture seems to me to continue to emphasize neurotypical behavioral norms around courtesy, tact, and diplomacy. These are of course crucial skills and virtues that help keep a society cohesive and healthy (and many of us have seen what happens when a society starts to devalue these behaviors), and they are highly challenging for many neurodivergent people. And when I or others fall short (regularly) in performing these behaviors and addressing the emotions and comfort of those around me, it is very easy for people to interpret our motives less charitably than might perhaps be helpful.

As I’ve learned, the great power of the online community is the ability to share our experiences so that those of us on parallel journeys can teach and learn from and support one another. That is the intention behind the new group.

I want to thank my new co-moderators in SCA Neurodiversity:

  • Hilla Stormbringer, ND (neurodivergent), she/her pronouns, of the Midrealm.
  • Fox Fierlin, NQ (neuroqueer), whatever pronouns, of Æthelmearc.

I also want to thank the new SCA Bardic Arts moderator team for their past and future service:

  • Aneleda Falconbridge of the East Kingdom, will continue her moderating duties.
  • Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya of the East, previously Caid.
  • Rhys ap Gwion Baird of the West Kingdom.
  • Iselda de Narbonne of Atlantia, previously Ansteorra, Northshield, and Ealdormere.

Additionally, I want to thank the literally thousands of people who have shared their love of performance in this space, to the point where I am confident that I can continue to participate as simply one performing geek among equals. The respect and sense of fun that has always flowed through the group is joyous and infectious.

Thank you, everyone who has participated in these journeys with me. You teach and uplift me every day.

In grateful service,
Drake Oranwood, ND (neurodivergent), he/him, East Kingdom

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