Embracing Neurodivergency with Jessica Eccles, M.D.
Updated: Mar 17
Neurodivergency occurs at a much higher rate amongst people with hypermobility disorders like Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and hypermobility spectrum disorders. What’s the connection? Jessica Eccles, MD, senior clinical academic psychiatrist at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and specialist in brain-body neuroscience, recently spoke with Bendy Bodies about these neurological conditions that include dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia. Dr. Eccles led the first neuroimaging study of hypermobility and her work has focused on neuropsychiatric manifestations of connective tissue disorders. Dr. Eccles stresses that neurodivergency isn’t a disability or disorder, but a different way of neurological processing. She explains surprising findings of her research including possible explanations for the link between hypermobility and anxiety. Dr. Eccles reveals that people with EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes) are seven times more likely to be autistic, and six times more likely to have ADHD, compared to the general population. She stresses the importance of recognizing the link between hypermobility and neurodivergency and dives into proprioceptive issues and dyspraxia. Dr. Eccles offers suggestions for seeking help if you suspect you are neurodivergent. She also provides advice for teachers and parents to be more effective in their roles with neurdivergent artists. As Dr. Eccles states, “Neurodivergency shouldn’t be thought of as something to hold you back, but something to embrace.” If you or someone you know may be neurodivergent, this is an episode not to be missed.
Check out Dr. Eccles' research on connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and hypermobility spectrum disorders. Follow her on Twitter @BendyBrain.
"The Relationship between Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders"
"Brain structure and joint hypermobility: relevance to the expression of psychiatric symptoms"
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