CCFL Staff Profile of the Week: Brittany Brakenhoff

Brittany Brakenhoff

Brittany Brakenhoff
Research Assistant Professor

Projects Involved in at CCFL:

What Brittany enjoys most about her job at CCFL:

I really like the flexibility of being able to work on different projects and get to collaborate with a wide variety of agencies and people in the community. I really like the collaboration CCFL has with so many agencies across communities because it makes it possible for the research we do to have an immediate impact.

Learn more about Brittany:

I am very passionate about advocating for a neurodiverse approach. I have ADHD, but it wasn't until after my son was diagnosed with Autism that I was introduced to the concept of neurodiversity which really changed my understanding of Autism and ADHD. I really love this TED Talk that explains the neurodiverse perspective really well. It uses the metaphor of how Mac and Windows use different operating systems, but neither is better than the other, but it would be hard to use a Mac operating system in a world designed for Windows. Similarly, having an autistic or ADHD brain in a world designed for neurotypical brains can create a lot of challenges, but those styles of thinking have a lot of strengths too. Historically, we have focused on trying to teach individuals to act more neurotypical, but the neurodiverse approach focuses on acceptance and instead making society more accommodating to neurodiverse differences. Seeing the world through my son's eyes has been one of the biggest gifts I've experienced. He tends to take things quite literally, but as he has gotten older, I can see that also gives him the ability to see through all the social messiness of situations and think logically. However, it took some adjustment for me to notice how often I use metaphors and exaggerations in my speech. One of my favorite memories of him was when he was three, and I would set a countdown timer on my phone when it was time to leave the park to help prepare him to leave. One time I had dragged him along to meet my friend, and he got bored, and I told him "just a minute," and we would go. He then asked to see my phone, and he set a timer on my phone for one minute because he thought he could give me a countdown timer.