a great shift happens when we are open to exploring our own sensory, emotional, cognitive and communication needs.

One thing I wish they told parents

Amidst a huge volume of information and advice about how we can support our children to thrive, people forget to tell parents to explore our own neurodivergence. It’s a simple thing that can create so much change for our families. It has for mine.

Parents of neurodivergent children (autistic, dyslexic, active-brained, bipolar, anxious etc), take some moments along the journey to explore the unique ways that you move, think, and communicate.

If it is safe to think about your childhood, remember what brought you joy, and what was hard. See that incredible child of yours and appreciate what brings them joy and what they are finding hard. Wonder, ‘Where do our experiences intersect and where do they diverge?’
‘How are our journeys similar?’

I have found that a great shift happens when we are open to exploring our own sensory, emotional, cognitive and communication needs.  It helps us appreciate how our children engage with the world. Finding points of connection improves relationships. Struggles can be approached with more kindness and creative solutions.

If you are wondering if you are neurodivergent, know that there are many parents like yourself who have also wondered and found answers.

Know that there is a community of people, including neurodivergent parents with neurodivergent kids who will help you find your way. Read, listen to and connect with us. Ask questions. All of the Respectfully Connected authors are neurodivergent parents. You are welcome here <3 Briannon


1 reply
  1. Lucy Moore
    Lucy Moore says:

    CW: animal comparison; autistic child is said to carry more of a certain “desired” trait than the animals used
    I also wish they told neurotypical parents that autistic people have their own forms of body language, and people were willing to support autistic people who might be willing to help explain what some of those bodily signals mean, so that neurotypicals could begin to understand their autistic children better, even the nonspeaking ones. Also, I wish they knew that, unless their child is completely paralyzed or has another disability that prevents them from signaling even the slightest emotion (i.e. coma), they do have some communication. I have heard of too many instances in which people say “what about the kid who can’t communicate, he can only bang his head on the wall (or do some other disturbing and highly mobile behavior)”. This is a straw man; if a child gives no communicative signals that the parent can presently understand, yet is capable of something as vigorous as head-banging, it is highly unlikely that the child is actually not communicating anything. After all, even animals like snails, starfish, sloths, and slugs (who are FAR less motile than those kids) are capable of communicating, so I think that the “non-communicative head-banger” makes as much sense as “animal who takes in no sensory input whatsoever” which is equally false. One of my science professors, in fact, told me that the animal without senses is fake, a hypothetical used as a thought exercise.
    If any of the people reading this does have a “non-communicative head banger” or other such kid that they so disrespectfully refer to that way, I really hope they give some serious thought as to what emotions the kid might be communicating, both pleasurable and distressing, because, again, I find it difficult to believe that someone can be that vigorous and yet unable to nonverbally communicate even sentiments like “Yay!” or “I’m upset”. note that even reaching futilely for something with one hand should be considered communication; if you have seen that, know that it is a basic form of pointing. Same if your kid is looking at an object for a considerable period of time; that may not be a signal, but sometimes it is a signal that they are interested in that object. Also note if a kid pulls away from something, which is a signal that they don’t like it or else need to be a little further away to enjoy it, or leans toward it, which is a signal that they do like it. That is a good place to start. There are other telltale signs too that may be expressed by “non-communicative” kids, but some would have to be demonstrated visually for them to be recognized. Hope this little guide is helpful to those despairing parents out there.


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