Children who suffer or have been diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition may also suffer from some form of mental health condition too. Many children diagnosed with autism are also diagnosed with anxiety as well, or ADHD and bipolar disorder are also common pairings of mental health conditions and neurodiverse conditions too. Supporting children who suffer from both is not only critical to their development but will also make the children happier and mentally healthier throughout life.
How to Help a Child Suffering from Mental Health Conditions with a Neurodivergent Mind?
There are a number of ways to support children who suffer from both neurodiverse conditions and mental health conditions. Here are some ways you help as a parent, carer or professional.
When dealing with neurodivergent-related mental health conditions, it can be a sensitive topic to discuss, but children are usually honest or can be spoken to, to get the truth of what’s on their minds. Being open and genuine with a child who is suffering from any mental health condition because of a neurodivergent condition can be the first major stepping stone to understanding what’s going on in their mind.
A great method that will help children who may be upset, or appear to have a mental health condition such as anxiety, or depression can be a series of tasks with a blank sheet of paper. Ask them to write down or draw what is happening, how they are feeling or what they want to say. Do not ask what is wrong straight away as there is a process that they need to go through to understand themselves. Another way of doing this is asking what the child would like to do that day. It could be watching their favourite movie, baking a cake or playing with Lego. If it is something they have chosen to do they may start to open up through the activity.
The questions and activities will help your child learn to open up and communicate. A whiteboard can also be useful as a place where your child can write down or draw what they are feeling or writing down on a daily basis. Releasing emotions can be very beneficial to helping your child.
Both mental health conditions and neurodivergent conditions are discussed more in mainstream settings as there is a focus on research and education for both children and adults. Getting professional help can often be both expensive and hard to get, but there are many free and easy-to-access professional help sources such as Samaritans or Papyrus. You can also get support and advice at The Neurodiversity Hub – https://www.neurodiversityhub.org/
Why it’s important to seek help as, or on-behalf of a child with neurodivergent mind
Seeking help, when trying to support a child with a neurodivergent mind is crucial to their development. Whilst they’re still children, childhood can be where life truly starts and development begins, and any hiccups during this time will likely be remembered for a long time and can impact their future.
Being supportive, and prompting open (but private) discussions with your children who suffer from both mental health and neurodivergent conditions can help you understand more about what is going on in your child’s minds, but also help them let go of things that are having an adverse impact on them.
Conclusion on Supporting a Neurodivergent Child through Mental Health Conditions
Supporting your child at all times can lead to happier and healthier children, but a child who struggle from neurodivergent-related mental health conditions will not only appreciate the support but will definitely need it. Being open, honest and prompting discussion about our own thoughts will help them understand that although our thoughts may not be positive, it is ok to feel down from time to time, then speak about it and then find happiness again, just around the corner.