Eps 485: Parenting neurodiverse kids of color with Jaya Ramesh and Priya Saaral

Episode 485

My guests today are Jaya Ramesh and Priya Saaral.  Jaya and Priya have a lot in common, including being the co-authors of their new book, “Parenting at the Intersections.”  This is a deeply emotional topic for them, both personally and professionally.  

Many people are discussing the experience of neurodivergence, and many people are discussing being a person of color, but where are the resources for neurodivergent people of color?  Jaya and Priya have so much wisdom to share, from asking for what your child needs until they get it, what people who aren’t raising neurodivergent children of color need to know, and why & how to be there for all kids, not just your kid. 

We dig deep into how we can expand our definition of what’s “normal,” so that we can be less judgmental, especially when there are systems in place working against that, and how hard it can be for adolescents to find their strengths when we are so focused on deficits.  

Guest Description 

Jaya Ramesh, MA LMHC (she/her) is a psychotherapist in private practice on the unceded and stolen lands of the Duwamish, Coastal Salish and Stillaguamish, colonially known as Seattle. Jaya finds joy and meaning in her relationships as a mother, spouse, sister, daughter, friend, auntie and paw-rent. She is a caste privileged, neurodivergent Indian immigrant working to disentangle from and dismantle the grips of colonialism, supremacy and capitalism. In her private practice she supports people in having more generous and generative relationships. As a seasoned facilitator Jaya supports organizations in building anti racist culture. 

Priya Saaral is a first-generation immigrant from India and Singapore and identifies as a neurodivergent person. Her work has been centered on helping young people and parents find their voice and their playful spirit amidst personal and structural adversity, seeking to be seen and to belong. Priya was in this space herself too and her own experiences of strength and hardship motivated her to help all children feel seen and heard as valuable human beings in society, and as agents of change.  When she’s not working, she plays it out with her passionate boy, desperately attempting to win him at the next ‘friendly’ gaga ball family match, or trying unfailingly to bark-train my excitable, tiny but mighty pup Coco. Speaking of vocal cords, she also indulges on her own in the improvisational intersections between the South Indian Classical and Jazz music forms.

Together they have written Parenting at the Intersections, Raising neurodivergent children of Color which came out in January 2024.

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Takeaways from the show

  • How do you hold the feedback about your child from their school? 
  • How do you make it work when public school is the only option? 
  • Asking for what you or your child(ren) needs until you get it 
  • Checking your biases
  • What do people who aren’t raising neurodivergent children of color need to know? 
  • Being curious, empathetic, & compassionate 
  • Being in it for all kids, not just your kid 
  • Expanding our definition of “normal” so we can be less judgmental 
  • Moving away from neurotypical expectations, narratives, & timelines 
  • Holding that space for our child(ren) when they show up differently

What does joyful courage mean to you


I’d say two things: one is that in the practice of courage – doing the thing when it’s hard and scary – over time, can bring its own sort of joy.  The other thing I’m thinking of now, given the global context we live in, is that finding joy and experiencing joy is an act of resistance and courage.  – Jaya


I really believe those two words are resistance to the system of oppression we live in.  If we can find the courage to disrupt this supremacy culture and to see, feel, and experience joy through those cracks that exist, I think we can slowly expand those cracks and that’s a pathway to liberation for all.  – Priya



“Parenting at the Intersections” website & book 

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Parenting at the Intersections on Facebook 

Priya’s website

Jaya’s website

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​​Casey O'Roarty 0:02
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together. While parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people and when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 1:24
Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. I'm so excited to introduce you to my guests today. They are Jaya Ramesh and Priya subtle. Jaya is a psychotherapist in private practice. On the unseeded and stolen land of the Duwamish coastal Salish and Stillaguamish colonially known as Seattle. Jaya finds joy and meaning and her relationship as a mother, spouse, sister, daughter, friend, auntie, and parent I love that plan the words. She is a cast privileged neurodivergent Indian immigrant working to disentangle from and dismantle the grips of colonialism, supremacy and capitalism. In her private practice, she supports people in having more generous and generative relationships. As a season facilitator Jaya supports organisations and building anti racist culture. I'm so glad to have you here. Priya is a first generation immigrant from India and Singapore and identifies as a neurodivergent person. Her work has been centred on helping young people and parents find their voice and their playful spirit admist personal and structural adversity seeking to be seen and to belong. She was in this space herself to and her own experiences of strength and hardship motivated her to help all children feel seen and heard as valuable human beings in society and as agents of change. When she's not working. She plays it out with her passionate boy desperately attempting to win him at the next friendly Gaga ball. Family match I'm gonna have to ask you what Gaga ball is are trying and failing Lee to bark train her excitable tiny but mighty pup Coco. Speaking of vocal cords, she also indulges in her own on her own in the improvisational intersections between the South Indian, classical and jazz music forums. Together, these two amazing women have written parenting at the intersections, raising neurodivergent children of colour, which came out in January of 2024. Congratulations, ladies. Welcome to the podcast.

Jaya and Priya 3:39
Thank you so much for having us, Casey.

Casey O'Roarty 3:41
It's weird, right? Don't you think it's weird to listen to somebody read your bio I do. I find it very uncomfortable. I don't know where to look I might have smiling along. I want to get to know you both better. So let's start with how do your paths cross? And what inspired you to then write this new book? Okay,

Priya Saaral 4:04
I'll go. Thanks for Yeah, yeah. And I met as therapists in the therapy world, that quickly became friends, we have so much in common in terms of identities and upbringings of first generation people from India and raising kids, and quickly, all of these things that, you know, feature in the book came in, you know, to our forefront as friends, you know, we really connected with the immigrant experience, and as neurodivergent people ourselves, raising your divergent kids, you know, we found, you know, solace and in each other for challenges and strengths and the ways in which we think about development and parenting and all of that. And we have a friend in common who had a previous career in a publishing industry that hadn't heard of a call that was put out for this gap to be met. And it was a very serendipitous thing that happened that brought us all together. either and both Jay and I have lots of conversations about, you know, what we have to say about this? And do are we the right people and quickly kind of thinking more like a lot of our, that's sort of aligned, and we realise there is a need for this intersection. And, you know, I'm happy Jay, you want to say more about that, and.

Jaya Ramesh 5:21
I was just gonna add me off the connect a lot of our food. Every meeting is we've got each other a lot. So

Priya Saaral 5:28
that's true. And we listen to each other a lot, I know that it is something that we really things centred a lot in the writing process. Because this is a very difficult, you know, it's a personal, that author professional, but also, it's a very deeply emotional subject in the fact that we interviewed over 30 parents across the country, listening to their stories and listening to just, you know, the injustice is combined that collective injustice, it was always present for us. And there was always, you know, so many emotions were transpired as a result of that. And we really, I think it really valued the listening and the food, and those pieces that nurture us and our friendship and helped us be present for each other in our own stuff. That was really critical, and how we kind of thought about writing that about the people we wanted to highlight and through the stories that I went on a ramble there, No,

Casey O'Roarty 6:30
you're good, you're good. I'm thinking about the writing process and how you know, and listening to you connecting with that this was a personal project, as well as a professional project and how it would be impossible for a book like this to not feel deeply emotional. Right. So how long did it take you to complete? Was this something that you guys just put your head down and charged through it? Or was this kind of like a dream project for a while? And how did that what did that look like?

Jaya Ramesh 7:04
Yeah, I mean, I think start to finish it took us two years. The point of connecting with an agent to putting proposal out in writing two years or longer? I don't know, time feels pretty warm up. So I don't Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 7:20
Ever since COVID. Time got really weird after COVID. Right? Yeah. Yeah. What was something that was surprising to you as you created this

Jaya Ramesh 7:29
book? Well, for me, I would say a couple of things. I think one was maybe a question around, could I write a book? And the rigour and the discipline of the talk and my own narrative of like, oh, I don't, I don't know if I can do that. So that felt very surprising. And then to do it in relationship as well. Yeah, I also, maybe this wasn't, I don't know if this is necessarily a surprise. But it's what I really appreciated about this process also was that every time we talk to a family, the process is iterative, like we are learning along as we were writing. That was kind of a actually a very cool thing about this process. And sometimes we would shift gears or Oh, there's one more layer of complexity to this, right. So yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 8:15
yeah. Yeah. What about you, Priya, anything surprised you in this process or the content,

Priya Saaral 8:22
I think it really did teach me a lot about my brain, and how it can persevere and break down and rise up again, and fall again. And I think I thought to myself, you know, prior to this project with Jaya, the last time, I had teamwork, and like, such a long period of time, consistently, it was like, we have been inseparable. For these two years, every day, there was communication around something and like, it was such an intimate endeavour. And I've had many other opportunities in my life where I've not had somebody to do it with. And because of that, I have lacked that accountability. To get to that finish line. I had a manuscript that didn't get published in my earlier career. And I've had projects that I've dreamed of doing that I've never, you know, come to the forefront. And I think it was really confirming and reaffirming to me that yes, of course, like as people there are places where we work best individually. But for me, I know, I could not have written this book without Jim. And it was because of the unique strengths we bring as neurodivergent people, and we have many differences in that as well. I think the sort of combination of us being able to spur each other on and also find ways where we work best in different ways, complemented each other as well. You know, it really was very affirming to me that I don't have to do things alone, you know, in this world where we I'm constantly put into silos. And that is sort of the narrative of the systems of oppression, we live within that, you know, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do your thing, and you will be good. And it was a confirmation for me.

Casey O'Roarty 10:14
Yeah, I love that. And there is nothing like a team or a partner to keep you more accountable to those deadlines. For sure, I understand that big time. So there are lots of conversations being had about neuro divergence. And then there are conversations about the experiences of being a person of colour, what happens and your experience and in what you've learned from these families that have been highlighted in your book, what happens when those two things overlap,

Jaya Ramesh 10:47
using the intersectionality framework, right, that each of those identities and that social occasions bring with it, its own challenges and joys, and that the ways that they intersect creates a whole new experience, right, that is additive in some way. And, you know, just raising my own neurodivergent child of colour and interacting with school systems, right? It's been sometimes tricky to figure out what's actually at play, what the feedback is really about. And so there's layers of parsing that I think parents of colour have to do when navigating with their systems. And we sort of ran into that, as we talked to so many of these families is, you can't presume that it's just the feedback is neutral, or the context is neutral, but there's some layering, most investigation, you have to do, like, Is this about my kids race? Is this about my kids? neurodivergent? Or is it about all of those things I said about how I'm being read as a parent, right? So it brings with it that sort of own unique challenges and experiences, right? That is both and and it also adds to it? How

Casey O'Roarty 12:01
do you differentiate those things? You know, as someone who is white and neurotypical, I haven't had to be in those questions. So when you are in those questions, what are some tools or strategies that you have to draw from to make sense of, you know, what is the context? What is this feedback about?

Jaya Ramesh 12:22
Yeah, I don't know. So, it's an interesting question, because I'm not sure, at least in my experience of how useful it has been to separate it. Okay, I'll give you an example. Okay, when my older kid would get feedback, you know, their ADHD, it's like, they get feedback around being too loud or disruptive. Right? It's a brown kid and a majority white school. So I'm sitting with the question of, okay, this is the ADHD hyperactivity. And the teacher needs this child to conform in a way that is supportive of her teaching, right? Understanding that teachers don't have a lot of resources, they're doing the best they can. And because my kid is brown, I'm also there's something in the back of my mind, that's like, is there a way that this is a quicker feedback, excessive feedback that might not have been given to a white child?

Casey O'Roarty 13:21
Right? Probably one of what eight kids in the classroom that are also bright, loud and disruptive.

Jaya Ramesh 13:28
Right? Right. So have Yeah, and also like, holding that my kid gets an email sent home. They don't get, you know, punitively disciplined in school, because they're not black. Right. So my kid maybe is protected in that way. Like it's not getting escalated, but I am getting the feedback. Right, right. I have to now do the work of how do I hold this feedback? Yeah, firstly, right. And then how do I talk to my kid about it? Yeah. And knowing that we're not going to be pulling them out of school and doing private school or homeschooling like this is the system that he's got to survive in? Yeah. So it's balancing all of those different pieces of it. Yeah. And then I as a brown woman who doesn't have an accent, right. I'm also being read a particular way that maybe if I go in, and I advocate for my child, I'm going to be read a little bit differently than one of the black fathers that we interviewed, who went to advocate for his daughter, and there was a cop with situated outside of the broom, as he's advocating. Right, because he's being read as an angry black man. Yeah, just all these layers, right? Different. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 14:46
Well, and I really appreciate that there wasn't like a neat and tidy answer to my question, right? Because I definitely see this is messy. This is a messy experience, and percent perception and conditioning. And so many things come in to play. Priya, do you have anything to add to this kind of messiness. And, Jay, I would say thank you for sharing an example of what your experience looks like with your kids. Pre Is there anything that you would add to that just that intersection of what happens and how you're in navigation of that, as you move through the world?

Speaker 1 15:26
I think the thing that kind of strikes me as in, I think, calling us all in with as we're thinking about, you know, how do you sort of make sense of whether this is this piece or that piece? I think that that is, you know, a burden that's placed on marginalised parents often, right, and that is a symptom of the systemic, you know, the qualities that sort of trickle down into our ways of being by systems of oppression, that doubt have often been in that situation of me wondering, you know, are they being racist? Or is this my own? Like, you know, thinking too much of it? It was that, you know, clearly there's a heart in me that I'm witnessing and being very present to, and there's quickly a voice of invalidation, because I don't want to disrupt I don't want to Yeah, just further otherwise myself by calling it out. And I think it's been, you know, so anecdotally clear with the interviews that we did with so many parents, you know, parents are needing to really amp up their ask, and until they get what they're asking for, if at all right. I don't know where that went from what it was, I kind of lost my train of thought. But yeah, I think coming back to just wanting to kind of notice that that feels like a burden on parents that debt. And,

Jaya Ramesh 16:49
yeah, that doubt, I think is so designed in a way, you start to just doubt your own knowing. Yeah, and that piece that you're saying is so true. Priya, like I often leave in like, Oh, what's that about rates? What's that about? What's it about? And just even that question that you have to entertain? Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 17:08
I'm really sitting with that word burden. And where responsibility tends to end up? Right? You know, the idea that I can be ever more curious about myself, and the feedback I'm giving people. And I can be ever more conscious, as I look across the table, and be curious about my own conditioning and my own implicit bias, which I mean, in and of itself, we aren't really super aware of until we're aware of it. And, you know, like thinking about living in a world where it's a shared burden, mean, I guess it's shared burden. Now, I don't love the word burden, when it's a shared burden. It's more of like a shared responsibility or not even a shared responsibility, because you shouldn't have to sit inside of was that about race? Right? So it's not even something that should be shared. It's something that just shouldn't be a thing. Right? And I think about all the ways that people don't know what they don't know, right, there's like, endless things. And you know, as we sit here today, in this Zoom Room, I am a cis, straight, middle class, white, able bodied woman, I don't often see the way the world works for me, because I'm swimming in the waters of it. And it's just not in my awareness because it doesn't have to be. And then my kids, while they're not, well, one had struggled a lot with mental health. And only recently, she's 21 now has some neuro divergence actually come to the forefront. And then the other one is pretty typical. And living inside of the system that was literally written for him, you know, as a growing white male. And when my daughter was really struggling with mental health, and she's been on my podcast and talks about it, so I have permission to mention it. I had to dive into the world of mental health and search for resources. And it was so hard to know what to do and where to go and who to talk to. I didn't know the struggle of advocating for my child in this way until I was in the struggle of advocating and then one of my best friends has a degenerative muscle disease and she's limited mobility, she uses a cane. Being out in the world with her also highlights what I don't typically see, because I it's not the experience that I have all the ways that the world is designed for able bodied people and all of this to say, my curiosity with the research that you've done and the experiences that you've had, I would love for you to help my audience who I think leans more towards white, able bodied. neurotypical and also really aware listeners, I know, some of you do not fall into these categories. So hopefully you get to really feel seen today. But what are possible places where we don't know what we don't know around the challenges of parenting neurodivergent kids of colour? Besides what you've shared just being in that question of what was that actually about? That you think it would be useful for the listeners to be more aware of? It's my marathon question. How do you like that little journey I just took you on?

Jaya Ramesh 20:32
Well, I just appreciate what you're saying about until I was with a major with my friend, being around people with a different experience opens my eyes to the world in a different way. And I think that also speaks to the willingness to speak the world that's being shown to you, right? And as we were answering that question of who is this book for? You know, we said, Yeah, of course, it's for the parents that are in the trenches and have this experience, we really want them to feel seen and validated. And as we were interviewing them, it's like, oh, one of the themes is like community and loneliness at this experience. And so our hope is that people who don't have this experience, actually read it as a way to just like what you did with your daughter and your friend just now, okay? And that's cultivating that empathy muscle, right? And just knowing what it's like for my neighbour, or my employee, or, you know, whatever the relationship is, so that we can show up better for each other in the world, coming back to your point of it's not a shared burden, responsibility that maybe these things can actually be really addressed. Because we're all invested in it. Yeah, well,

Casey O'Roarty 21:48
I'm thinking just about my son is in his last year of high school, and I have less of a view into his classroom experience than I did when the kids were younger. But I'm thinking about when they were in, especially in elementary school, how we heard all about, you know, the kids that were having a harder time in the classroom, and I'm just thinking about, and I believe that I did a decent job, I've always kind of thought to myself, you know, what's making it hard, right for this kiddo, or what must be making it hard for this family and like being in that curious, and that empathetic and that compassionate place. But as I listened to what you've created, and I read what you've created, it is such an awesome opportunity to move from this space of, I think, especially the white people, we are in it for our kids. Right? And I feel like the resource that you've created, is giving parents a chance to be in it, whatever that means, for all kids. Yeah. Right. And how that is, it's beneficial to ours and yours and the entire space. Right? And, yeah, that is something that I noticed a lot. And it's, you know, as a parent, it's hard not to be in it for your kid. Like, of course, we want to advocate for them, we want them to have all the opportunities, and I get to sit inside of, wow, there's a lot more opportunities happening over here, because of the systems that we live inside of. So if you had a magic wand, what are some systematic things that you advocate for? Or that you would encourage? Both and right, encourage people that are listening to start to pay attention to and to do more advocating for?

Priya Saaral 23:39
Yeah, big question, in our book, research, section that into different chapters, and there's, you know, it's when we think of, you know, what is typical, what is not typical as, as defined by culture. And that is also informed by systems. You know, we think of sort of the all the ways in which our children and neurodivergent children of colour show up differently in the world, right, with different aspects of development, such as emotions, or the way they express their emotion, the way they play, the way they form friendships and more social in the world, the way they move through puberty, I compete with the way we think about launching or transition to adulthood to all of these aspects. You know, when we look at it from a sort of system centred view, it's so easy to kind of other, you know, all the differences that our children bring to the world and say, you know, this is not acceptable. And there's so much judgement that's placed on parents for parenting around in centering their children's differences, right, and there's constant judgement around how they may choose to parent a certain way. But I think what I'm trying to get at is the central question for me when we think of, you know, what can others take from this as you You know, how do we centre? How do we expand that definition of normal to include these differences so that we can judge less and see parents with more compassion? And with more curiosity, you know, and support? I know that's not exactly maybe answering your question, but that's what I bring man first.

Casey O'Roarty 25:22
Yeah. I love that.

Jaya Ramesh 25:24
I mean, it's an interesting question to what you're asking, I think in some ways, if the school, right, if the carceral system, if the medical system is all designed, in some ways to just reinforce the standard of human being that is going to go out and function in the world and produce and participate in capitalism, then there is sort of a larger question of is there actually a need to just scrape the systems and restart again? Right. Yeah. Short of that, you know, like I think about in our school district, like, why is recess gone in middle school? Yeah, right. Kids need fresher and you're diverging kids need ties, this, you know, to be able to get that that movement in, and you're asking them to sit still for eight hours, right? Why is school this long? Right? Just the other day, I'm talking to my kids like eight classes, Mom, it's too much. It's too much and burnt out. Right? Think about the carceral system. What would it be like for police if we must have police as responders to crisis right.

Jaya Ramesh 26:37
And that can often get read as a defiance or lawlessness, especially when it shows up

Casey O'Roarty 26:45
in brown Valley's body. Yeah. Eric, Orion. Sorry,

Jaya Ramesh 26:49
Ryan, kinder. I think his name is just passed. He was killed by the police last week. So I'm just you know, so these are immediate things that we can advocate for. Yeah. And systemically, but I think also holding the tension of Is it enough to just make the changes from within, when maybe the system itself in the way that it exists with its intention is the

Casey O'Roarty 27:11
problem? Yeah, I used to do a lot of work in schools with social emotional character development curriculum, with positive discipline. And one of the things that my mentor taught me to remember was, if you have, you know, one kid getting into mischief, then that could be a kid problem. But if you have multiple kids getting into mischief, that's a system problem. And that really stuck with me. I mean, this is a system problem. And there's so many systems in play and, and I appreciate what you sat around, like just scrapping the whole thing and starting again, I feel like we had such an opportunity in 2020 to reframe school and education in this country, and it just was squandered. So anyway, we don't need to dive into that rabbit hole. But so this show my listeners, I talk a lot about adolescence and the adolescent years. And Do either of you have teenagers yet? Yes. Oh, yeah. Okay. How old are yours? Yeah,

Jaya Ramesh 28:14
mine is going to be 16. Oh, yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 28:17
There you go. You're in? It's 10. You're in it. What about you, Priya?

Speaker 1 28:21
minus 12 is going to be 13. This year. All

Casey O'Roarty 28:26
right. So you're in it, you're in it.

Casey O'Roarty 28:34
So identity formation, right? This is such a big piece of this stage of life, even as I often am reminding parents like identity formation is also fluid and don't get too hung up on any certain thing. Because everything could change. How does identity formation come into play with the families that were a part of your book? And in your families, when there is this intersection? Does it look different? Or is it similar? Or both? And, yeah,

Priya Saaral 29:09
we sort of talked about, you know, identity formation, as a layered process of getting to know yourself, a process by which children get to know who they are in this world in an authentic way is the goal. And I think as in multiple marginalised children who are impacted by white supremacy, and ableism and all these forces that, you know, we talk about identity formation as a privilege, you know, for children who are multiple marginalised because the world is quick to label and to box them in different ways, even before they can meaningfully make sense of their difference. And when a child is in a world that is constantly seeing them as full of deficits. It is so much more effortful. To be able to see themselves with strengths, you know, yeah, I don't want to call this a burden, because I think it is the responsibility that we hold for our children to help them grow up in come to know themselves and what makes them tick, what doesn't, what do they love and what makes it hard and what supports do they need to get through those hard times. And that responsibility resides with adults, but when so many adults in their lives don't affirm that that responsibility solely falls on parents to ensure that that is something that they are working to affirm. But again, that to if made difficult, because parents are also burdened with depression in the deficit mindset. And so there are sort of these, you know, parallel processes going on with the child's development, but also a parent's development of understanding where they are and understanding the systems of oppression on them, and whether it serves them or not, and where they can step up to stand up for their child and help them see themselves with strength.

Casey O'Roarty 31:06
Yeah, and Jaya, do you have any tips, I'm going to pitch it over to you too. So in these conversations, what I hear you talking about prayer, it is something that we talked about in positive discipline, which is the power of perception and our development of beliefs, and our realities, right, the way that we see the world is often created through relationship and the feedback that we get from the people around us the systems that we live inside of and so one of the activities that I did recently, you know, there's this idea of, okay, so I am fill in the blank people are fill in the blank the world is fill in the blank, and depending on how you present and the systems that you grow up in, you know, the conversations you're having with your parents, you're gonna have, you know, different things to fill in the blanks with so what are some tips for parents? Because it's a big ask to interrupt the messaging that might be quiet, but loud, right? messaging around as a parent of a kiddo who is neurodivergent? Who is a child of colour? Or both? Right? What are some tips that you have for having those conversations in a way that leave the child more likely to feel encouraged and empowered, and enough and valued? You know,

Jaya Ramesh 32:24
and just right, before I answer that, I think there's one piece I want to add to that identity cognition, which is that when we talk about identity, confirmation as discovery of self and knowing that that in and of itself can also be very, like being mindful of not using standards of neuro typicality around self actualization or self awareness for our kids to tell me more, you got to break that down. If we're helping our children to discover who they are, I think, saying is that it behoves us to make sure we're not using a standard of what that process looks like, or what the end goal is for our kid, based on your typical standards of, okay, so by the time that my child is this age, they should know these things, and they shouldn't be comfortable this way or aware of themselves in this way. And for some kids with neuro divergence disability, like, that's the whole asynchronicity piece, too, I think, is like, you know, we think kids need to have completed certain tasks by a certain age, but then getting to this particular task. That's part of the identity formation, right? We want to know, I only like to wear blue shirts. That's part of identity formation and right, the kid could be 10 or 11. At that time. So not having a judgement around. That is what I'm trying to say as well.

Casey O'Roarty 33:44
Yeah, well, and what I hear in that, too, is just, and this is useful for all of us, it was definitely useful for me as my daughter took a complete side road around education was recognising when you have a narrative. And like, it's not real. It's just a narrative and perhaps our kids, that kids that we have in our life that we love so much. It's not their narrative. And like being inside of that, I really appreciate that invitation. Well,

Jaya Ramesh 34:16
I'm living it all the time. It's a struggle, and I think checking myself and checking, like, whose agenda am I serving? Yes. Right. Yeah. So to answer your question, so there is a piece in the book where we talk about like a communication math. And what we mean by that really is just having this sense of Okay, first of all, am I regulated to have this conversation if my heartbeat is like, that's a rule for myself, my heartbeat is over 70 I'm not having this conversation because that's my resting heart rate. I love that and then sort of inviting the child into the conversation. Are they ready to have it? Yes, they can. So not forcing again, our agenda, and then talking about it in a way that is, I think bites size is important. As a near divergent person, I'm realising for myself too, that too much information is overwhelming. So I need to titrate and I think, sort of titrating that way with kids. And then that language may not be the way, right also knowing your kid to say, what's the way I can communicate this with them? Right is that are we going to draw together, we're gonna just look at a book, we're gonna look at pictures, maybe it's a conversation, right? And then just being, I think, open to the feedback or what's coming up. Because sometimes what we hear or get feedback around, it can bring up feelings for us, right, and then having some space steps to the process that whether in therapy or with a friend or writing about it, something, there's a way to not have our hurts interrupt the connection we're trying to have with our kid. So you know, we're trying really to affirm their Indian identity, even though I think our school district is trying to be more inclusive and do these things. So we tried to do that we tried to talk about neuro divergence like, so there are models or examples of people were putting in their lives so that they can see who are near divergent and have that agenda, it just so there is not a loneliness to that existence.

Casey O'Roarty 36:15
Yeah, I love that. I love listening to you, because it's so aligned with so much of what I talked about here, and what my guests talk about, I think there's the added layers, they are big layers, when we're talking about neuro divergence, and you know, being a person of colour, and we are human beings trying to relate to each other in a way that is useful, right, and we're really honouring that our way of being or communicating might not necessarily serve somebody else. And so what I'm hearing you talk about, and so really being open and willing to expand, you know, how we're holding, you know, this whole experience of child raising, I just really appreciate that. Thank you for that, man,

Speaker 1 37:06
I really quick piece to identify mission to I'm thinking about when our children are, you know, receiving messages that tell them that they are not okay to be who they are, they're not enough, what often happens is they mask, you know, they mask their differences in order to fit into that norm and to feel accepted and to belong. And what we know is, you know, masking is really a survival mechanism. It's going in the opposite direction of finding your true authentic self and celebrating who you are authentically, right. And that's a barrier that, you know, exists for parents to work through. And we're not advocating for children to drop their masks for parents to drop their masks, because it's a survival need. As long as we live in these systems, we will need to mask but I think a key part of identity formation could be having that conversation about masking and really talking about, you know, when does it serve you to mask? Why do you think you didn't really move that much in your chair the other day, you know, noticing things and maybe talking about it or communicating in their preferred way around, you know, aspects. And I know that there's a whole sort of spectrum for the lack of a better word of how children process with neuro divergence, and as parents know, their children the best and how much to share how to share. And I think one thing that they can do, perhaps not as a conversation is to really, it makes it even more critical that if parents are able to offer mask freedom zones at home, where their child is truly accepted for who they are, even if they have a big meltdown, because they didn't get the cookie that they wanted. It's a hard ask for parents at this intersection. Because we are also overwhelmed. We cannot be a perfect parent. But when possible to hold that spaciousness for our children, when they show up differently at home, it can be such a huge antidote to the world outside. And I'm

Casey O'Roarty 39:12
hearing you invite parents to really support their kids in their own critical thinking and the lens that they see themselves through. I think with those questions, those noticings you know, we get to pull the curtain back we kind of get to like wade through the bullshit and get real. And I realised that there you know, depending on who the child is in front of us, there's, you know, various levels of how far you can take this or what their capacity is, but I'm always thinking about my curiosity as a tool to support my kids in their own dot connecting critical thinking, growing their observer of themselves. While also recognising it's not one conversation, it's not one interaction, it happens over time. And that normalisation, right? Like you kind of were talking about, Jaya, of we're, this is what we do, or this is who we are. And I love that mask freezone. And yes, please, parents, regardless of you know, what is happening with your kids, I think that this is a true, you know, suicide prevention is having a space at home that is fully accepting of the kid that's walking in and out of the door and let alone you know, launching young adults into the world that can be okay. Right and contribute. However, they can contribute or not, but to be neighbours and to be friends and to be co workers in a way that is just offering something for everyone, including themselves, if that makes sense. So thank you so much for that. I'm looking at the time I'm realising we're creeping towards our time, this was really special. Thank you both so much for talking to me about this. I think there's a lot more to discuss. And so hopefully, we can make another time. It'll might take us, you know, two years to get there. But but I'd love to talk more about this with you, because I think it's so important for all of us to understand better. Is there anything else you want to mention quickly? Before we close today?

Jaya Ramesh 41:29
Well, I just wanted to thank you for this very open conversation and your curiosity and willingness to learn and just yeah, really appreciate that modelling.

Casey O'Roarty 41:38
Thank you. Well, my final question that I asked everyone is What does joyful courage mean to you?

Jaya Ramesh 41:47
I would say that maybe two things. One is that the practice of courage, you know, doing the thing when it's still hard and scary, over time can just be joyful. And now bring it on to joy. And I think the other thing I'm thinking of now, just given this global context we live in is finding joy and experiencing joy is an act of resistance and courage. Yeah,

Casey O'Roarty 42:14
thank you. Priya. What about for you?

Priya Saaral 42:17
Yeah, you took my words? Which ones? Yeah, I really do believe that. It is like those two words are such an embodiment of resistance to a system of oppression that we live in. And I think if we can find the courage to disrupt the supremacy culture, and to sort of see and feel and experience joy through those cracks that exist, and I think we can slowly expand those cracks. And that's a pathway towards liberation for all.

Casey O'Roarty 42:48
Thank you. Thank you both. Where can people find you and follow your work and get your book?

Jaya Ramesh 42:54
We're on all pretty much major booksellers like Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and our Insta handle is just the book title but with dots in between each of the words. So like County, dot, dot, dot intersections.

Casey O'Roarty 43:08
Okay. Great, perfect. And I'll put your individual websites if that's okay. And the show notes and listeners, you know, you can find everything there. Thank you so much, ladies. This is really uplifting and educational, and I really enjoyed being in conversation with you. Thank you,

Unknown Speaker 43:26
Casey. Thanks for all that you do.

Casey O'Roarty 43:34
Thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at beasts browseable.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

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