As a parent, your primary concern will always be looking after your family. However, this may seem harder or more challenging if your child is neurodiverse, such as if they receive a diagnosis for autism or a related condition. However, as one in every 42 boys, and one in every 189 girls born are neurodiverse, there are now plenty of accommodations and resources in place to support them, helping them reach their full potential.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to support your neurodiverse child and create an environment where they can thrive!
- Know what to look out for. Whether you’re a first-time parent or already have several children, you’ll likely already be aware of the developmental milestones your kids will reach as they grow older. Being aware of these developmental stages will help you to identify if your child may be falling behind their peers, allowing you to receive a diagnosis much quicker.
- Get a diagnosis. Neurodiversity comes in many different forms, but obtaining a medical diagnosis (sooner rather than later) is key in ensuring your child gets the support they deserve. If you begin to notice that your child is showing signs of autism or related conditions, note down what you are noticing and make an appointment with your paediatrician to discuss diagnosis.
- Consider therapy and coaching. Many children (and adults) with conditions such as autism and ADHD also benefit from therapy services, such as adhd coaching. These sessions will help provide the child with a range of tools and coping mechanisms that will help them better manage their symptoms. As such, they can be a great way to help improve mental wellbeing. As a parent, the sessions will help you to gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of your child and the kind of accommodations you may need to make for them.
- Speak to their teachers. If your child is heading off to school, it is also worthwhile to keep their teachers up to date regarding their diagnosis. This way, they will be able to put better provisions in place to support their learning. For example, you should let the teacher know if there are any specific triggers they should be aware of so that they can create a classroom environment where your child feels safe and supported. Alternatively, they may be able to offer additional forms of schooling support, such as hiring a teaching assistant to work directly with your child.
- Have a set routine. Having a set routine is a great way to support your child, as many neurodiverse individuals thrive in structured environments. This is because routines remove the element of ‘surprise’ from the everyday, as they know exactly what is expected of them. However, you should also try to introduce some variation to this routine from time to time, being sure to provide them with advanced warning about when you are going off script. Putting together a routine can also be beneficial for the whole family, as it helps you to better manage a hectic schedule, reducing stress and anxiety.