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Valentine’s Day – it’s supposed to be a day of love and friendship, hugs and cards and candy and stuffed animals. For some, it means a lot of pressure and assured failure. For the neurodiverse, as with many things, Valentine’s Day may have a more intense reaction – either in the “over the top” celebration or the “under the radar” avoidance. Here are ten tips to consider if you or someone you love is neurodiverse. Bottom line is to use open communication to share what your hopes and expectations are, and to ask how this day affects your loved one.


  1. Expectations may overwhelm and cause fear of failure, if you don’t think you can meet your loved one’s expectations.
  2. Expectations may become self-fulfilled prophecies if you have a “perfect” day in mind.
  3. A firm hug may be really enjoyed and appreciated or exactly what someone does not want.
  4. Expressing oneself to match the intense feelings they have for someone, may feel impossible.
  5. Sweets may cause out of whack behavior.
  6. Flowers may give off offensive odors.
  7. Seeing others receive cards and tokens may feel unfair if everyone doesn’t receive them.
  8. Kindness may mean calm.
  9. Today might need to be treated just like every other day.
  10. The best way to communicate love is to show you understand, respect and admire someone for who they are – ask what would make them happy on this day, and if the answer is nothing, take them at their word.

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