Parenting children for the first time can be challenging, but parenting children with complex neurodiverse conditions such as autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, or dyslexia to name a few can be even harder as we all want the best for our children. In today’s blog, we look at just some ways to help parents of a child with a neurodiverse condition, to give them the best childhood upbringing possible.
Parenting a Child with autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, or dyslexia
Be Supportive and Understanding
Having a neurodiverse condition as a child is all the child knows. The brain itself is the same, but how it functions, understands activities, education and the world around them is different, but the child will not always know this.
This means that when your child realises that some things are not as easy for them as they might be for another child, or if they find themselves getting angry and frustrated about a task or activity, this is where you should be the most supportive and understanding of your child. Help them to see what is happening, ask them what they are feeling, and get them to write it down and read it out loud. Being understanding of their actions and behavior can make all the difference.
Getting professional support for children who are really struggling is very important and can be found at The Neurodiversity Hub at: https://www.neurodiversityhub.org/. Here you can find ways to help you and support you and your child understand and managing the condition. As a parent or carer, just being there and trying to help talk through any problems that the child has can make all the difference to a happy childhood.
Educate Yourself on the Diagnosed Conditions
Only in the last 10-15 years have neurodiverse conditions been researched more intently. Education on these conditions is still not widely shared, but educating yourself as a parent on the conditions that your child has been diagnosed with will help you understand how they might be thinking, or taking in the world around them.
Let Children Explore and Challenge Themselves
Children will always be outgoing and curious. Children with neurodiverse conditions are no different, but may take in the world around them, as well as activities and explorations very differently. This is why in most cases, you shouldn’t push your children to do something they don’t want to do, especially if they have a neurodiverse mind. Letting them explore and challenge themselves on their own can be all that’s needed to promote their confidence and opportunities. Give them a safe place with some gentle support if needed.
Plan the Days
Having a set day or pattern for children with neurodiverse conditions can be very helpful for you, and them. Neurodivergent Children don’t like spontaneous activities, meaning anything unexpected can cause uncomforting thoughts and distress leading to anger. Planning the days, and letting your child help you plan the day can give them peace of mind knowing that they’ve helped, and also know that they know what’s going to happen.
Being in Control: Clear Boundaries and Instructions
As a parent, with any child – there needs to be clear boundaries and rules. With children with behavioural neurodiverse conditions like ADHD, setting these boundaries can be a great way to help your children deal with the challenges of the condition. Setting rewards for instructions followed and boundaries adhered to can help the child understand what is acceptable behaviour, as well as what is not acceptable. This will not only help your child understand their condition better, but will also help them in school, in social situations, and even at work when they are adults.
Conclusion on Parenting a Child with a Neurodiverse Mind
Parenting a child with a neurodiverse mind can sometimes be challenging as you may never know what they are thinking, or how they’re feeling about a specific task or activity. Being open and honest, as well as supportive with your child as they grow up will help them, and can even help through to adult life if managed effectively as a parent of a neurodiverse child.