Getting the right support for neurodivergent children

There are over 200,000 neurodivergent children living in the UK, yet there is still a limited understanding of what it means to be neurodivergent and how to provide the right support.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week, taking place from 18 to 24 March, focuses on raising awareness of neurological differences, aiming to:

  • Increase acceptance and understanding
  • Provide education
  • Celebrate neurodiversity.

Understanding neurodivergent diagnoses

With so many misconceptions about what it means to be neurodivergent, getting a better understanding of the different diagnoses will help you access the right support.

The term ‘neurodivergence’ covers a spectrum of neurological differences, referring to variances in the way the brain processes information, thinking patterns, communication styles, or movements.

This includes autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and other differences in thinking.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when supporting neurodivergent children, even the same diagnosis does not guarantee that two children will experience the same thinking patterns.

However, understanding the common symptoms of each diagnosis can help you look out for challenges they may face and plan ahead for these.

How can you support neurodivergent children?

As mentioned, each neurodivergent individual has a specific pattern of strengths and challenges, so it is important you take a person-centred approach and tailor support to them.

For example, a child with autism may experience difficulties with communication and social interaction, meaning you should take extra care when thinking about how to effectively communicate with them.

Whereas a child with dyslexia is more likely to experience challenges with reading, therefore they may need additional educational support or adjustments such as:

  • Focusing on phonological skills (e.g. identifying and processing word sounds)
  • Using different coloured pieces of paper to aid in reading
  • Utilising software functions such as text-to-speech
  • Giving verbal, rather than written, instructions.

In general, the key approach you should take is to:

  • Learn about their differences – this will help you know what limitations they might have, what their needs are each day and how to spot complications if they occur (now and in the future)
  • Look out for changes that might require additional support
  • Allow extra time for the person to understand your communication
  • Make them feel comfortable.

Make sure to celebrate neurodiversity!

One of the most important ways to support neurodivergent children is to celebrate their differences and create a more inclusive environment.

Educating on the different thought processes and the benefits they bring, as well as how to make adjustments to support neurodivergent children’s development ensures all children receive the social and educational support they need.

For more information on how Almond Care Children’s Services can help a young person in need, please contact us today or call 024 7610 2333.

Share...