Having a neurodivergent mind as a child can be quite a challenging aspect of life that can also be hard to understand. Other children in school may not understand, and a child with a neurodivergent mind may not understand why everyone else gets a question right, and they didn’t. In today’s blog, we look at the neurodivergent mind of a child, and what it’s like to have a neurodivergent condition like autism, ADHD or dyslexia in early childhood.
What is it Like to Have Autism, ADHD or Dyslexia in Childhood?
Having a neurodivergent mind as a child can be quite difficult, as in most cases a child won’t fully understand what the condition truly is and why they are different. Although this can be explained by the doctor or parent, it’s not always easy to understand as a child. Having a neurodivergent mind as a child can often be stressful as other kids may excel in some areas that your child doesn’t, making them aware that they are not doing as well on a specific task.
Not only that, but specific activities such as social interaction, tasks that require a lot of focus and attention as well as changes in activities can all cause distress to a child who has a neurodivergent mind.
How do Children Understand Neurodiversity?
Children understand neurodiversity quite well when really young but it’s only when they get older into their teen years and early adulthood do, they truly understand what the condition they have does to them and how it impacts their thoughts and feelings.
Young children (under the age of 8) will typically experience symptoms and challenges because of their neurodiversity, and will not understand why others are not experiencing them. This can make children feel left out as well as a range of other emotions including anger and frustration. However, with a supportive home, you can support your child’s mind to manage and understand their situation better, as well as helping them to know that they are special.
What are some key signs that a Child might have a Neurodiverse condition?
Experts have been researching neurodiversity and the various diagnosis for over 20 years now, and have identified a number of key signs that would suggest your child has a neurodiverse condition. The list below should not be taken as medical advice, and a doctor should be consulted to get a thorough analysis.
Typical signs of neurodiverse minds include;
Typical Signs of Autism;
- Avoiding Eye Contact
- Not Smiling when you Smile at them
- Getting very upset if they don’t like certain taste, smells, or sounds.
- Repetitive movements
- Repeating the same phrases
- Not talking as much as others.
- Not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling.
- Getting upset at changes, regardless of how small.
Typical Signs of ADHD;
- Having a short attention span and can be easily distracted.
- Making careless mistakes.
- Appearing forgetful, or losing items.
- Unable to stick to tasks that are tedious, or otherwise time-consuming.
- Constantly changing activities or tasks, as well as hobbies.
- Hyperactivity and Impulsiveness behavior.
Typical Signs of Dyslexia
- Unpredictable, or Inconsistent spelling.
- Confusion with letters that look similar. (for example, b and d, or I and l).
- Confusing the order of words or letters.
- Reading slowly or making errors when reading written work aloud.
- Answering questions orally from memory well, but not when written or writing.
Typical Signs of Dyspraxia
- Poor Co-Ordination, balance and movement.
- Difficulty when learning new skills, or information.
- Difficulty when dealing with emotions and social situations.
Typical Signs of Tourette’s
- Tics (blinking, eye rolling, jumping, jerking of head or limbs etc.)
- Verbal Tics (grunting, whistling, popping, swearing, repeating a sound of phrase etc.)
- Condition is worsened by stress, anxiety, tiredness, or depression.
More Conditions can be found here.
Overall, children will understand and interpret information differently regardless of if they have a neurodiverse mind, but children with a neurodivergent condition such as ADHD, autism, dyspraxia amongst others, may need continued support through childhood before they can fully understand their diagnosis and how to manage it daily.
If you need more support and guidance or would like to find out more you can reach out to The Neurodiversity Hub at: https://www.neurodiversityhub.org/