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The Why of ND Renegade

by Sally Willbanks
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The Why of ND Renegade

I have been thinking a lot lately about our business ND Renegade, and our reasons for doing it.  We started because we want a home-based business, as we homeschool the kids and we would like freedom to travel at some point in the future.  I decided on a brand that shines a light on neurodiversity, because we have two awesome neurodivergent kids, and I want to instill pride in them.  I also want to teach them how to run a business, and to have it be something they want to be invested in.  It was a niggling idea that I couldn’t let go of.  I am a professional painter, and as I was sitting for hours on end painting in my studio, all I could think about was this germ of an idea.  And so, I have put my brushes down and now I focus on the business.

In doing so, I have discovered the neurodivergent community on Instagram.  I also read a lot of blog posts and articles on autism and ADHD, as well as listen to podcasts about neurodiversity, by neurodivergents.  This involvement in the world of the neurodivergent has taken my agenda with ND Renegade to a different level, or maybe a greater level.  This community is in desperate need for a change.  They are suffering higher levels of anxiety and depression, higher rates of suicide, poorer health, and a lower quality of life.  This is no trifling matter, the statistics are terrible, the gap is wide.  When you speak to them, most neurodivergent people will tell you their most troubling issues stem from the mistreatment, misunderstanding and non-acceptance by neurotypical people.  Neurodivergent people need a drastic change to accommodate them in the work force.  They need to be able to have the same avenues of career choice neurotypical people have, the ability to choose a career that matches their abilities.  They need to have the same chance of life satisfaction as everyone, receiving the same respect, dignity, and rights as everyone.  These disabilities might be invisible, but they certainly are not imaginary, and neurodivergent people can be affected in crushing ways.

ND Renegade is about starting conversations.  It is about giving neurodivergent people the chance to tell the world they are different, they are proud, and it’s time to be acknowledged.  The indifference that this community receives is shameful, and we no longer will sit idly by while we have the opportunity to help, even a little.  I know that making apparel isn’t the noblest of pursuits, but it is our way of trying to help out neurodivergent people, like my own children.  We are trying to spread the idea of neurodiversity far and wide.

A portion of our proceeds goes to The Organization for Autism Research.

by Sally Willbanks

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