Skip to main content

How to increase personal safety when you're neurodiverse

How to increase personal safety when you're neurodiverse

How to increase personal safety when you’re neurodiverse

How we help you feel safe

Having trust in the people who care for us is vital. Young children who trust their parents or caregivers are more likely to feel confident in exploring their world. As we get older, it’s important to learn how to trust people and become aware of some signs that certain people aren’t as trustworthy as they seem.

However, for people who are neurodiverse, these signs aren’t as obvious and trust can be an issue. Some neurodiverse people say they are too trusting of people and end up getting hurt. Others say they find it hard to trust people and end up feeling a sense of loneliness.

Another important factor is when the people who you’re supposed to trust, like your support workers or caregivers, don’t have your best interests at heart. Some neurodiverse people say they don’t know someone is doing the wrong thing by them until it’s too late.

Here we look at personal safety for people with neurodiversity and some things you can look out for.

Why neurodiversity can affect your personal safety?

We are all wired differently, and our experiences and genetics impact the way we see the world. Over the years, a few words have been created to describe and celebrate these differences. You may have heard the term ‘neurotypical’. This is a word used to describe common neurological development which represents about 80 – 85% of people.

The word ‘neurodiverse’ is a term used to describe the diversity in the way people’s brains work. It’s estimated up to 15 to 20% of people are considered ‘neurodiverse’ and it encompasses many neuro differences including autism and ADHD. There are many benefits to being neurodiverse. The way you think might mean that you come up with unique solutions to problems. Or you might have a love for something that helps you become an expert in that field because you’re able to focus on it more than neurotypical people might.

However, there can be challenges. As we know, every neurodiverse person is different and so is their understanding of the world. Some people might have challenges with social interactions including reading those situations. They might struggle to read body language or other more subtle cues.

Others might latch onto people and may appear to be over friendly. They may not realise if they’re making a person feel uncomfortable. And then people with neurodiversity often mask how they really feel to try to fit in with neurotypical people. This can lead to situations where they can be taken advantage of.

Unfortunately, there can be dire consequences. Research shows up to 90% of women and girls who have autism have experienced abuse or gender-based violence in their lifetime. Some people can be highly manipulative and take advantage of more vulnerable people.

What should you do?

If only everyone was trustworthy and wanted the best for each other! We can only dream of such a world. The reality is, there are untrustworthy people out there. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been taken advantage of, it’s important to know that it’s never the victim’s fault. But there are some things you can think about to help protect yourself.

Firstly, it’s important for you to think about whether a certain situation is making you uncomfortable. Think to yourself, “am I doing this for myself or for someone else?” If it’s for someone else, you have the right to decide that you don’t want to take part in that activity.

Secondly, think about boundaries. Boundaries are like the line that you don’t want people to cross. As it’s written about in this article, boundaries can be tricky to set. You may have been told that your needs are wrong or you’re too sensitive. But it’s important to note that you have the right to set boundaries that make you feel comfortable in your life.

Some boundaries might include being ok with handshakes, but not hugging. Or if you’re finding a certain group of people zap your energy, you can decline your next meet up.

You have the right to explain this boundary when you meet new people. No one should beg or force you to do something you’re not comfortable with. Your friends should also be supportive enough to understand this boundary. However, it’s also your right to change your boundary for certain people if you feel comfortable. You may not want to hug your friend but you’re ok with hugging your boyfriend. That is your right.

It’s also ok to speak out if something doesn’t feel right. Perhaps your support worker has done something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Or a friend has said something that made you feel bad. Talk to the people who love you like family, your provider or trusted friend. Explain the situation and ask for help to understand it.

How Five Good Friends can help

At Five Good Friends, we have lots of ways that we help you stay safe. We go above and beyond to make sure the people who are caring for you can be trusted. We are also just a phone call away if something doesn't feel right.

We also use technology to highlight if something seems to be wrong. Every Helper who visits you writes a note about the visit. Our technology will flag if something seems wrong and we can do extra checks to find out if everything is going ok.

Our number one priority is making sure you feel safe and supported.

**If you’d like to learn more about our services, get in touch with us at Five Good Friends. Our friendly team can talk to you about our processes and how we care for all our Members.

Learn more:** Mental health and the NDIS

Ready to start?

Begin your Five Good Friends journey today.

Begin today Become a Helper