- 3 mins
How to Talk To Your Child About Neurodiversity
The neurodiversity movement fosters greater community awareness for a future of inclusion for all. Neurodivergent kids don’t experience the world the same way neurotypical counterparts do, but that’s part of what makes them special. Home is the first foundation where we learn how to interact with other people. It’s hugely impactful to foster acceptance, kindness and positive language within a family dynamic.
Ways to talk about neurodiversity with your children
Acknowledge and openly talk about the differences that other children need that might be different from their own. Listen to your child’s experiences, especially when they’re confused. Different shouldn’t have negative connotations – we all have difficulties in some areas. Disabilities are just diff-abilities. With suitable support and considered approaches, every child can live up to their potential and support one another in a peer environment. When grown-ups acknowledge obstacles and barriers and focus on special abilities, creativity and individuality, we show kids how to be positive about unique needs instead of treating them as other.
Foster empathy – at home and in everyday life. Kindness is key and knowledge is power. Neurodiverse children are constantly learning and evaluating their experiences with their neurotypical counterparts. Parents of neurotypical children can support facilitating reciprocity. Talk to your child about their neurodiversity traits as well as the traits of their neurotypical counterparts. Curiosity is key to exploring all there is to learn in the world. Diverse relationships are worthwhile at any age and can lead to rich learning experiences. They help children (and adults) look at things in a way that may not naturally occur to them.
How does this impact children in their daily lives?
We all know that daily social interactions can be challenging for any kid. Neurodiversity means the interpretation of events, cues and communication can be an extra challenge, though. Sensory and emotional sensitivity can be daunting even for adults to understand. Encouraging kids to understand their own feelings, reactions and behaviors help them to be more likely to accept the differences in how other children express themselves. Social thinking skills can be learned and practiced to help communication skills in every child. This is especially when connecting with someone who thinks a bit differently than they do.
Taking different perspectives and drawing similarities focuses on the concept that everyone is different – but we are all the same, too. We all have hopes, dreams, fears, strengths and challenges. Working together and expressing ourselves is a fantastic tool for creating collaborative approaches to working and learning.
In conclusion, be sure to celebrate the differences and similarities between different kids. Odd is okay, and weird is wonderful. There is a place for every child to thrive while being a unique individual.