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Supporting Your Neurodivergent Child

When we embrace our neurodiverse children, we accept and celebrate them. Your child is an amazing being with so many strengths that deserve to be celebrated, appreciated, and cherished.

Neurodiversity is not something that needs to be “fixed” or “cured”, but rather embraced. What does it mean to embrace neurodiversity? Embracing neurodiversity is about acknowledging that your child may do things differently from neurotypical children, and that doesn’t mean it has to be “treated” or “changed”. 

Another way to embrace your neurodiverse child is not to expect your child to mask change or suppress their behavior. Before we continue, I want to briefly touch on masking. Masking refers to the practice of concealing or suppressing one’s neurodivergent traits or conditions to appear more neurotypical. For example, mirroring somebody’s facial expressions or social behaviors. That kind of pressure can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. It makes it hard for children to take part in social activities and can lead to self-judgement, anxiety, and depression. Remember, there are so many strengths to being neurodiverse! Creativity, innovation, humor, and analytical thinking are just some of the many strengths neurodiverse children have!

As a parent, doing your research is vital to best support your child. Educating yourself about their specific neurodivergent experience is key to best supporting them, as well as listening to them and their lived experience. 

Talk to your child about neurodiversity and its acceptance. For example, you can say, “Some people’s brains work differently and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean anybody is wrong. It just means that they learn and process things differently, and make friends differently. Like other kids, you have strengths and we will celebrate them together.” That open conversation creates a non-judgemental environment where your child will feel safe to express themselves and their unique interests.

Remind your child that it’s perfectly fine to have unique interests and different visions of viewing the world. Encourage and nurture those interests by celebrating their strengths and achievements, no matter how small. Show your appreciation for your actions!

Lastly, do not forget to prioritize self-care. Caring for a neurodivergent child can be hard, and that does not mean you “failed” as a parent if you find this journey hard. You are a wonderful parent and your feelings are valid! Remember to seek support from friends, family, and professionals. You do not have to do this alone. You are allowed to engage in activities that bring you joy. You can’t pour from an empty cup, you also deserve the same care you are giving to your child. We are here to help support you on your journey.

Pariva Health Admin