Neurodiverse friends are great. I’ve talked before about how they can make you feel less lonely, how they can help you tackle perfectionism, and how spending time with them can help you work on living toward more neurodivergent standards.
But not all of us know neurodiverse people.
Well, we all do technically, because neurodiverse people make up a significant portion of the population. However, we may not realize that we already know them because not everyone is aware of their neurodiversities and not everyone is comfortable talking about them in all settings.
So, what’s your alternative option if you don’t have any neurodiverse friends in your pocket?
Making friends online!
Read on for ideas here of places that you can meet neurodiverse people from all over the world and build new friendships that will allow you to act as your truest self.
The ADHD Hub
The ADHD Hub is a FREE online community that hosts study groups and weekly/monthly online events for ADHDers to meet and work and play together.
They offer resources, including ways to help students with ADHD if you’re a teacher, and support, including counselors, coaches and organizers.
If you’re looking for a study group, there are regular co-working sessions (small group, larger group and silent study). Volunteers from various continents manage the sessions throughout the week, so they can offer many time options!
If you’re looking for something fun (and maybe a little wild), check out the Friday night ADHD party, hosted by co-founder Ross. It’s a bunch of ADHDers getting together to talk about whatever. Tangents, mild interrupting and laughter are all guaranteed. We do have ADHD, after all.
For the artsy and crafty, there’s a monthly Neurodiverse Craft Club hosted by Steph. On the first weekend every month, get together with your fellow ADHDers and get crafting! Bring your latest project or something new to work on. You can join and relax quietly or chat away while you draw, paint, knit, crochet or sculpt!
They offer other sessions and parties as well so check out the bookings page to see them all.
Everything is run by amazing volunteers so if you want to join any of the groups, please consider donating a little something to show your appreciation for all of their hard work!
Twitter isn’t just a place for trolls and for corporations to say cringey things. There’s a side of Twitter that hosts all kinds of neurodiverse voices, and you can find it by following just a few neurodivergent accounts and searching some hashtags. You can even follow yours truly, @MyGlitteryBrain!
If you want to quickly find relevant accounts, you can search “ADHD” and “Autistic” and look under the “People” option in the search results. Many neurodiverse tweeters have those terms, or other similar terms, right in their handle or bio – which makes them easy to find!
Once you’ve followed a few neurodiverse accounts, more like them will come up in your suggestions.
Look at their most recent tweets to see if there’s anything you have in common, besides neurodiversity, that will help you strike up a conversation.
Then, get in on the action by replying to others’ tweets. Answer questions, take part in polls, offer support (when asked for!). Tweet using hashtags like #ADHDlife, #AskADHD, #ADHDTwitter, #ADHDadult.
Discord is a group chat platform that gives you the ability to talk to others via text, voice or video messaging. It was originally created to give online gamers a place to talk and connect. It has been expanded over the past several years to include all kinds of special interest groups.
Each Discord is a server that hosts multiple channels, usually organized by topic and sometimes by role. It’s kind of like a big message board with a lot of smaller boards attached to it.
You can set up roles for each person who joins the server so they can view some channels, and not others. This way, marginalized communities can have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues in a place where they won’t be talked over or dismissed.
There are a lot of ADHD and neurodiverse Discords out there! None of them are public so you’ll need to ask around to find them. Twitter and the #AskADHD hashtag are a great place to start.
I won’t share the ones that I’m part of on this post because I want to protect the sanctity of the servers, but if you are interested in joining an ADHD Discord, drop me a line through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Support Groups and Communities
There are probably at least a few in-person support groups in your area that focus on ADHD. They may be for adults with ADHD, parents of ADHD children, or for other family members of ADHDers.
But maybe in-person isn’t your cup of tea, or the meeting times don’t work, or the location is too far.
Luckily, you don’t have to rely solely on these groups anymore. So many ADHD communities and support groups have moved online in recent years.
Most online groups limit participation to keep the sessions small and prevent the participants from getting overwhelmed. Some online communities are offered as free resources. Others are paid options and the prices vary depending on the number of sessions per month, length of sessions and number of participants.
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) offers multiple free online groups, including groups for young adults, LGBTQIA+ adults, parents of ADHD kids, and they have work groups for body doubling.
The Women and ADHD podcast recently started an online community, Women & ADHD, which is totally free to join but also has an option to pay $8.99 per month for premium features – including a twice monthly Zoom session beginning July 2021!
Meetup doesn’t just offer in-person events anymore – a lot of Meetup groups have moved online. You can find ADHD-specific groups for multiple locations around the world in one convenient place. The Adults ADHD Support Group pools ADHD and ADHD-relevant support events, both in-person and online, from various locations. Or try searching for groups in your area and filter by Type = ‘Online’.
In this case, Google or Bing will be your friend. Try searching for “online adult adhd support groups”, then browse beyond the first couple of page results. Or look for “adult adhd support groups near me” – many groups have actually moved online even if they appear to be location-based.
Believe it or not, many people still use Facebook regularly, and there are a lot of ADHD groups to join!
I’ve rounded up a few options here on my Facebook Groups Resource post.
I’m not a member of every group on that page so I can’t tell you everything they talk about, but the ones I am part of have provided a great sense of community – especially in the early days of my diagnosis.
Members of the groups frequently post questions about medication, executive functioning hacks, requests for help with relationships (romantic and otherwise), and provide fun memes and resources.
While it’s not really a place to have deep conversations, it can offer a community feel because you’ll see that you’re not alone. You’ll find other people going through the same difficulties and successes as you. And you can discover that you’re not “built wrong”, just a bit different! Different is good!
Did I miss any place that you’ve found neurodiverse friends online? Tell me about it!