The best supports for your neurodivergent child

When seeking the best supports for your neurodivergent child, ask the experts: 

1) **Your child** 

Ask your child what they would like support with and how they would like to be supported. What is important to them? 

2) Neurodivergent adults

Ask adults who understand your child’s experience from a Neurodiversity perspective. 

There are many online groups where adults with first-hand knowledge are willing to share their experiences, but also, if you don’t have any neurodivergent friends in your real life, ask yourself why? 

At least 2% of the population is Autistic and at least 8% of the population has ADHD (I say ‘at least’ because there are many undiagnosed or self-diagnosed people with ADHD and Autism due to lack of information, lack of access to proper healthcare, etc.). 

**Supports are those that improve one’s daily quality of life. Real supports are those that allow your child to be their authentic self, learning to embrace and celebrate their differences, while also managing any symptoms that cause them difficulty. 

Supports are *not* therapies or interventions aimed at “teaching” your child to act as neurotypical as possible, nor are they approaches focused on making the adult’s lives easier, or making other people more comfortable. 

These teach the child that there is something wrong with them and they need to be fixed or changed in order to function. 

Instead, build your child up by helping them discover their strengths and gifts and by giving them tools to manage symptoms that trouble them. 

The focus must be on the child themselves and whether they actually want or need those supports. Difficulty is defined by the neurodivergent child, not the adults. 

“Treat distress, not difference” — Joel Salinas 

To learn more about the ND movement and philosophy, read our article entitled “What Is Neurodiversity?”

Once your child has expressed what they would like help with, ensure you connect with supports that adhere to these philosophies and take a child-centred approach. Always ask any therapists or service providers about their methods, their ethics, and how they put your child’s needs and wants first.

We have lists of resources, both in Manitoba and online. That said, we do not have affiliation with these organizations, so it is important that parents or caregivers first screen any agencies to ensure they are a good fit for your family.

Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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