Kim’s a champion for diversity

Kim Walker

Kim Walker

Not only through her work as an Advanced Indigenous Mental Health Worker for the Metro North Mental Health Resource team, but also as a mum of four children, two of whom are neurodivergent.

During Neurodiversity Action Week (18-24 March), Kim is encouraging people to embrace difference and understand the strengths that come with being neurodiverse.

Kim, who has a 14-year old and seven-year old with neurodiversity diagnosed from around school age, said that managing the behaviours associated with these differences can be challenging.

“My sons are wired to think and interact differently which can be difficult and often uncomfortable for some people, especially other kids at school who can’t understand or relate to their unique ways,” Kim said.

Kim admits that as a single mum, it can be a struggle managing her children’s quirks and behaviours, as well as the stigma associated with neurodiversity.

“Mornings in particular can be overwhelming, trying to get the kids off to school with their specific behavioural routines and patterns,” she said.

“Food preparation has become very creative with managing the associated sensory aversions to particular textures, colours and what foods can and can’t touch for two children, while still looking after the needs and choices of my other kids.

“I’m fortunate to have a great team of people at work who support clients with diverse mental health conditions every day, so they have great understanding and empathy for my situation. There is certainly no judgment.”

Kim said that while caring for children with neurodiversity is challenging, it is important to focus on their unique strengths.

“My teenage son is academically brilliant at school – he excels in maths, English and science and has a photographic memory. He’s a whizz!” she said.

“My younger son is compassionate and resilient and always works hard academically and socially to help make sense of the world around him.

“For me it’s about breaking down the barriers and exposing my children to as much as possible so they can feel good about themselves and are not hindered by their differences.

“As a mum, I’m constantly role modelling to help them understand how to be individuals while still being part of everyday society. It’s definitely a work in progress.

“It’s about celebrating the strength of neurodiversity, not treating it as a disability.”

2024-03-15T11:10:47+10:0015 March 2024|
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