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Is the Neurodivergent Discovery Journal Right for You?

Updated: May 8

For those with neurodiverse conditions, such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia, due to the added struggles of navigating the world through a different lens, the experience of anxiety and mental illness be even more intense and debilitating. That's why the practice of keeping a journal can be an incredibly powerful tool for managing and understanding these complex emotions. In this article, we will explore the Neurodivise version of our Discovery Journal and the unique changes that were made to make sure neurodiverse individuals can gain the benefits of our journal and manage their mental health with more control and clarity.

Why did we design a neurodivergent version of the Discovery Journal?

Because it was required. There is no evidence to suggest that someone who is neurodivergent doesn't also have mental health needs; anxiety-related disorders can be more prevalent in neurodiverse individuals. We know our journals help with anxiety, and we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to use them.

How did we design the journal to make sure it was neurodiverse-friendly?

We did research, both professionally and consulting support workers and teachers to assist in the design process and testing; but personally by speaking to neurodiverse individuals and their friends and family. We wanted to get various perspectives on what would need to be changed, added and removed from the existing journal. We focused on elements we found to be most important such as the use of and understanding of emotive language as well as exploring possible sensory contributors.

What changes did we have to make:

Paper Stock - White to Cream/Off-white

It was factored in very early on in the design process that this journal needed to be printed on off-white/cream paper. Some neurodivergent individuals find it far easier to read and understand text without the harsh black-on-white print. You might have noticed more general use of cream paper for other things such as bills for this very reason.

Added Icons

In this journal, we have used icons and small images to accompany the text. These are not emojis, but rather simple additional indicators to enhance understanding. These icons also act as reminders of what the user is being asked to do and reduce the amount of text on the page. This journal needed to be suitable for young adults/adults so we intentionally used icons and images which didn't make the journal appear juvenile or childish.

Neurodivergent Discovery Journal

Using a specialist colour palette

Our journals are designed to be fuss-free and simple, with a lack of distracting features, however, in this journal we decided to use more colour. We found that those with ADHD responded to the use of colour and it was a motivator for them. We did some research and wanted to steer clear of the bright primary colours frequently associated with autism. Instead we used a palette of 4 colours, all of which are commonly used by interior designers who work specifically for autistic clients. These four colours were used as they found an autistic individuals felt more motivated and focused in these rooms.

Neurodivergent Discovery Journal

Meltdowns and shutdowns

We've dedicated a page of this journal just to the fight or flight response which is prominent in times of heightened anxiety, overstimulation and panic. This page tries to determine the factors which could be contributing and aid in finding ways to control the response in the future and lessen the effects. We've concentrated on both the mental and physical symptoms of this response, to learn and adopt coping mechanisms moving forward.

Neurodivergent Discovery Journal

Improving emotional literacy

This journal focuses on using emotive language and practising how to accurately explain how you are feeling. The emotions box has been expanded and split into categories to make it easier to select the most accurate feeling. Our research showed that this was an area of difficulty for autistic individuals and therefore we tried to feature as many elements that could encourage emotive literacy as possible.

Neurodivergent Discovery Journal

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