A new study published in Child Development by researchers at the University of Toronto and Harvard University aims to answer this question. "
Parenting any child can be challenging, and we know oftentimes, managing our own response is the most difficult part of dealing with troublesome behavior.
These challenges increase with parenting neurodivergent children. The term Neurodivergent (ND) itself means diverting from the developmental norms. Hence, a Neurodivergent kid’s brain is wired in a manner that their development – learning, behavioral, social, and emotional – differs from typically developing children.
The good news is that we can respond to our ND child’s problematic behaviors positively. As a starting point, remember that every conduct is a way of communication that is merely a response to the environment or a specific scenario. Our children are attempting to communicate with us by their actions, not irritate us. We can more effectively handle the difficulties if we understand this.
Get Professional Advice and Help
This is the first and very important step to understand your child’s situation and gear up with response tools that help to recognize, acknowledge, accept and work towards building their potential. A psychologist or child specialist can assess your child’s developmental needs, create individualized educational plans and assist you with home exercises so your child’s progress and activities are consistent.
Supporting Neurodiverse Children at Home
The first place to begin assisting your child is at home. Many neurodiverse children lack the foundation of support they require in their households, as well as the resources they require to thrive. If you have a neurodivergent child, there are certain things you can do at home to help them succeed.
Remember to validate their challenges and emotions if they are having difficulties. What they’re going through is extremely real to them, and acknowledging it will help them feel better.
Listen to what they have to say and refrain from expressing an opinion. Giving your neurodiverse child too much advice can overstimulate them, so start by empathizing with them.
Allow them to express any sensory sensitivities they may have. You may research and acquire a variety of useful sensory objects for your child to assist them to deal with triggers or relieve stress.
Give your Child Space and Appropriate Responsibilities
Giving your child space is critical… As you take a step back, your child can begin to explore new things, process and express their feelings, and gain a sense of independence. Allowing them to take the lead will help them feel more confident in their ability to do activities bt themselves.
It’s crucial to assist your child in embracing freedom and responsibility. It not only strengthens them, but it also teaches them important life skills. Start with little tasks, especially when working with a child with ADHD: taking out the garbage, putting shoes away, organizing their play/work area. You’ll have more success if you break it down.
Create a Safe and Positive Environment for Neurodivergent Children
Children flourish in a setting that is predictable, consistent, and calm, with shared boundaries, restrictions, and expectations. This is critical for children with ADHD, Autism, SPD, and other similar conditions. Children grow in a kind, gracious, and patient environment. Characteristics like this act as scaffolding for a child’s achievement. If you want to encourage your child to be independent, you must first prepare their environment. For example, if you want your child to obtain their own water, you should encourage them and designate an area that is easily accessible and where they may put their drinking cups. Simple remedies can have a significant impact.
It’s not always easy to raise a neurodiverse child. Dealing with triggers and anxiety can be frustrating, especially if they are new to you. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Supporting your neurodiverse child and providing them with the resources they need to achieve, will not only make their lives simpler, but will also make yours easier too. Make sure you do your homework on the best ways to aid your child and consult with your child’s doctor about your options.
(By Shuchita Dua, DGM- Clinical Head Online Vertical, Mom’s Belief)