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  • Writer's pictureBreann Colpitts

Navigating Your Child's Neurodivergent Diagnosis: 5 Tips for Parents

Updated: May 6

Tackling the topic of a neurodivergent diagnosis with your child can feel like stepping into a minefield of uncertainty and emotion. Questions swirl: How do I approach this in a way that empowers my child? How much detail is too much? Is it better to frame it positively or be real about the challenges?

Here are some key tips to help guide you through this new terrain:

1. Keep it age-appropriate: When broaching the subject, tailor your language and level of detail to your child's developmental stage. Younger children may need simpler explanations, focusing on how their brain works differently rather than using complex diagnostic terms. Older kids might benefit from more in-depth discussions, including the specific diagnosis and what it means for them.

2. Emphasize strengths: Accentuate the distinctive strengths and capabilities inherent in their neurodivergent brain. Whether it's outstanding attention to detail, creativity, or hyperfocus, presenting these attributes as remarkable strengths can nurture a sense of pride and self-acceptance. That said, don't sugarcoat things too much. There are definitely challenges with being neurodivergent and it can cause harm to minimize them.

3. Provide reassurance: It's normal for children to feel a range of emotions upon learning about their diagnosis, including confusion, frustration, or even relief. Reassure them that they're not alone and that there are plenty of resources and support networks available to help them thrive.

4. Encourage questions: Create an open and supportive environment where your child feels comfortable asking questions and expressing their feelings. Let them know that it's okay to feel however they feel and that you're there to listen and provide guidance.

5. Foster self-advocacy: Empower your child to become their own advocate by teaching them about their diagnosis, how it affects them, and strategies for self-care and managing challenges. Encourage them to communicate their needs and preferences with teachers, peers, and other important figures in their life. Help them connect to their neurokin in the community.

Remember, this conversation is just the beginning of a journey toward understanding and acceptance. By approaching it with sensitivity, honesty, and support, you can help your child embrace their neurodivergent identity.


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