10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING A DIFFERENTLY WIRED CHILD
6: FIND EXPERTS YOU TRUST & WHO RESPECT YOU Transcript
If your child has been newly identified with some sort of neurodevelopmental difference, it’s likely that you’ve been given a list of recommendations for different types of therapies or next steps. I want to acknowledge up front that this can be incredibly overwhelming and daunting. There’s figuring out who the right people are, finding these people, navigating insurance systems, extensive intake processes, filling out tons of forms. And then, of course, there are the waitlists, which can be months and months and months long. And all of this is extra challenging because we can often feel a sense of urgency, like we need to figure this stuff out now, and that we don’t actually have time for a wait list.
What I have found is that our kids will need different types of support during different phases of their life. And there may be times in their childhood and teen years when they won’t need any outside support, depending on what’s happening with them and where they are on their developmental journey.
Regardless of what the specific support looks like, what’s crucial is that the people who interact with and support your child and your family, do so respectfully. I talked about this a little bit in the third video about you being the expert in your child. And that is still true! But we often do invite other people into our worlds to support our kids, and us as parents, and because these people will be engaging with the incredible humans that we’re raising, we want to be sure that we trust these people. We want to be sure that they respect our point of view, that we don’t feel like we’re being talked down to, that we aren’t in a relationship dynamic where we don’t have a voice or we feel pressured to defer to their expertise even when it doesn’t feel right.
The right people are people who take the time to really understand who our kids are, who aren’t using cookie-cutter approaches to address our kids’ unique deficits or challenges. The right people are those who truly see and respect who our children are. Because relationship and connection is really at the heart of our child’s ability to engage in meaningful growth. And because we want our kids to feel good about themselves in whatever kind of intervention they’re engaged in, whether that’s occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, tutoring, executive function coaching, or whatever.
One last note on the experts we work with — you may be pointed in the direction of therapies that are rooted in behaviorist models, and that use rewards and consequences in order to try and change a child’s behavior. But as we talked about earlier in this series, behavior is just giving us information about a lagging skill or an area where a child doesn’t have the ability to do something yet. So we want to support our kids through therapies that help kids develop skills while supporting their nervous systems, and that respect their unique neurodevelopmental profile as opposed to those that are focused primarily on outward behavior.
We want our kids to build on their strengths, while also developing in their areas of weakness, but in a way that preserves their self-confidence, their self-worth, and their sense of agency. So be sure the people who engage with your kids and with your family are starting from a place of respect, and with a genuine understanding of your goals for your children and your family.
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Tilt Parenting, LLC is an educational resource, podcast, consultancy, and community with a focus on positively shifting the way neurodifferences in children are perceived, experienced, and supported, and supporting parents raising differently wired™ kids so these exceptional kids can thrive in their schools, in their families, and in their lives. It was founded by Debbie Reber in 2016.
© 2016 Deborah Reber