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Neurodivergent Voices

Not fitting in

This is the third of six posts where students voice ideas about neurodiversity, fitting in, and what it means to be included.

Have you ever felt like a round peg in a square hole?

Students discussed the article At Risk in the Culture of Normal by Jonathan Mooney, author of Normal Sucks. They describe the experience of being “a square peg in a round hole.” Mooney used this term to describe what it can feel like if you are different than a mythical norm.

“I’ve absolutely felt like a round peg in a square hole. That was probably my favorite sentence in the whole article, the metaphor about the round peg eventually breaking. That experience is so beyond frustrating because no matter how you angle yourself and how much effort you make, it simply does not work out.”


“The worst part is when the people around you can see it happening. I would rather have others around me think that I wasn’t trying hard enough than know outright that I can’t do it. The first option is insulting, but at least there is hope to improve.”


“I would come home crying as a child, begging my mom to home school me because I couldn’t handle feeling like such an outsider and being bullied by my classmates. So, I was put in a smaller classroom and made to feel more isolated.”


“I have always been walker amongst several camps, never staying long in any of them. I have come to revel in this, although, at times, feeling more isolated from people I care about and in turn care about me.”


“I have a twin brother and we made a competition out of who could hit each major milestone first … I eventually hit each milestone, but I felt like I was always lagging. When I tried to match my brother’s timeliness, it just never worked. I needed more time and effort to do the exact same things that he did.”

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