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Unapologetically Sensitive

We explore how sensitivity weaves itself into our lives; the richness that it adds, and the strengths we have BECAUSE of our sensitivity--and some of the challenges it poses as well. You may learn to live a bolder, brighter life.

Jun 20, 2023

Embracing Neurodiversity: My Journey Continues to Unfold

I may have dropped a bombshell in episode 191. I apologize and I provide more information in this episode. My understanding about neurodivergence has really expanded, and I’m recognizing myself in some new and unexpected ways. I share some insight, education, and how this expands my work with neurodivergent people with new understanding. I also talk about how I see this impacting the podcast and my work with clients.



  • Learn to have more conversations about neurodiversity and inclusivity, rejecting finite labels and embracing different ways of showing up in the world.
  • Understand the relief and acceptance upon receiving a diagnosis or deeper understand of how you’re wired
  • Acknowledging the diversity within autism and reject stereotypes. Instead learn about the importance of understanding the lived experiences of autistic individuals.
  • Explore the intersection between highly sensitive people and autism, suggesting similarities and possible overlaps.
  • Learn more about masking and support needs, highlighting their own experience as a high masker with low support needs.
  • Acknowlege the controversy and differing opinions within the autistic community and HSP community about the origins and the intersection (if there is one).
  • Understand a personal anecdote about social awkwardness and sensory issues during a breakfast gathering, emphasizing the need for self-advocacy and self-care strategies.
  • Identify the personal challenges, feelings of not being understood, and the importance of compassion and support from others.
  • Appreciate the connections made with other autistic individuals and therapists, highlighting the support and shared experiences within the neurodivergent community.


Patricia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Coach.  She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller.  Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion.  She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other HSPs know that they aren’t alone, and that being an HSP has amazing gifts, and some challenges.  Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors us





Could you be Autistic (and not know) Video Yo Samdy Sam

10 Autism Signs you need to know Paige Layle (content starts at 1:45)

Autistic MASKING: how do we do it and should we stop? Yo Samdy Sam

Online Tests and Quizzes

Pre-diagnostic/Self-assessment quiz for autism 

Pre-diagnostic/Self-assessment quiz for autism

Adult autism assessment for people socialized as women

Females & Asperger’s: A Checklist -

Steve Asbell’s Autistic Masking Quiz

Collection of Tests Related to Autism & Asperger’s:

A Neurodiversity Paradigm Breakdown of the DSM-5 Criteria for Autism

Should you seek an autism diagnosis or not?

Trauma Geek Facebook Post from Nov. 4, 2020 (with a couple added links):

Let’s talk about adult diagnosis of Autism and ADHD.

What’s the point?

1. Educational accommodations

2. Disability benefits

3. Specialized support

4. Finding your NeuroTribe

5. All of the above

If you’re looking for 1 or 2, medical diagnosis is necessary.

If you’re looking for 3 or 4, self-diagnosis is completely valid.

Many neurodivergent people do both - There is a self-discovery process first, and then they seek medical diagnosis.

Medical diagnosis is a privilege. It is not accessible to all neurodivergent people. It is expensive and emotionally taxing under the best of circumstances.

If you pursue medical diagnosis, there is a high chance that your doctor will not be informed about the neurodiversity paradigm or masking. They may not see you as autistic or ADHD because their training involved a very narrow stereotype of these neurotypes. You may need to ask if your doctor is willing to look at the newest research and learn along with you, or you may want to refer them to a neurodiversity advocate who can explain the research to them.

(I’m writing from the United States, so this info may not apply to all countries, but I have read that Australia and the UK are very similar with professionals tending to have a biased concept of autism based on outdated research studies of men and boys. This trend is gradually changing for the better, but we have a long way to go to reach full autism and ADHD acceptance in the medical field.)

If you don’t need government benefits or educational support, self-identification is enough. Like gender identity, neurotype is a social construct. Self-diagnosis matters because it allows us to reframe our story about ourselves, seek supports that actually work for us, understand our own health and neurology, and find belonging in a group that thinks and feels and expresses themselves like we do.

The importance of finding belonging after a lifetime of feeling othered cannot be overstated.

How to talk about Autism respectfully -

@audhdfeelings: This is the best assessment ever!AqQsNLv44oHwc-z-kYxYTbJ9BxQ?e=yENNbJ

Sally Cat checklist

Casey Ehrlich PDA at Peace Parents

Autism is a spectrum doesn’t mean what you think

ND communication styles 

«Unmasking Autism» (Devon Price)
«Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate» (Cynthia Kim)
«Drama Queen: One Autistic Woman and a Life of Unhelpful Labels» (Sara Gibbs)
«Odd girl out: An Autistic Woman in a Neurotypical World» (Laura James)
«I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder — A Memoir» (Sarah Kurchak)
«Invisible Differences: A Story of Aspergers, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color» (Julie Dachez)

- the Neurodivergent Woman
- SquarePeg
- the Autistic Culture
- Neuroqueering
- the neurodiverging podcast
- Neurodivergent moments


HSP Online Course--

Online HSP Course Materials (no group included)

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Music-- Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson