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  • Writer's pictureNyaria Lee

My Neurodiverse Child




I’ve worked and/or been around children for several years and up until recently, I didn’t use terms such as neurodiverse, comorbidity or even learning different. Due to how I was raised and a bunch of other factors, my mind went straight to behavior or a lack of structure. It took me a while to realize that to support the child I’m raising and help him be successful, I had to unlearn, learn, and relearn how to support what I now know as a neurodivergent child.

 

I’ve worked in environments with learners at all levels and yet I still go home to my child and think wtf?! When I’m frustrated, I have thoughts that swirl around in my head: "what is going on with him? I’ve told him several times and now he’s choosing not to listen. He knows what he’s doing and just choosing to act bad". All these thoughts manifest after asking him to complete simple tasks and they get worst, but you get it.

 

These are the times where I step away, take a deep breath and remember my 5 which I’ll explain later.

 

As much as I hate thinking negative thoughts, I’ll be the first to tell you that these are very REAL thoughts that go through my head and very real experiences. I’ve learned that these thoughts are normal to pass through from time to time if they take a pit stop without vacationing there.

 

My neurodivergent child experiences frustrations socially and academically and as his mother, I experience them to although differently than he does. He’s 12 now and even though he’s older and in some instances have become “better”. I can say that the challenges are still here and like anything else in life, the challenges take on other forms and sometimes feel like another mountain to climb after ending the climb of another.

 

There are challenges that my child will experience that I won’t. There will be feelings that he’ll have that I won’t and the same will be for me. I will never know what it’s like to walk through life with these “invisible” differences but as someone trying their best to support the child who has them, it’s hard as hell.

 

I’M JUST LIKE YOU. Trying my best to refrain from freaking out, holding on to patience while trying to determine my next move. It’s not easy but I try to remember the following:

 

My big 5

 

1.     I am doing my damn best.

So simple and yet hard to say. In the earlier stages of his diagnosis, I was consumed with judgement from “friends” and family. The unsolicited advice came quicker than the help and support. It took me a while to be kind to myself and accept that I’m not perfect but I’m doing my best and that’s all that matters.

 

2.     He has needs and so do I.

Those same family and “friends” (notice the quotation marks again) plus the school were telling me the long list of my son’s needs. I could barely enter a room before they’re telling me all the things he needs and all the stuff I need to do for him. Another realization that took years for me to come to terms with, was that I couldn’t pour from an empty cup. Along with doing all the things for him, I needed to take care of myself as well and I wasn’t doing any type of self-care for me (read all about that here: https://www.msmommalee.com/post/the-busy-mom-diaries-self-care

 

3.     Try, try again.

I tell my son to try again and yet I was ashamed to do that myself. This is listed as #3 on my list but it’s arguable the most important. Trying again, apologizing, or simply admitting that I’m frustrated and don’t know what to do is so important. I’m lucky to raise such an empathetic boy who sees when I’m upset and offers up a hug when I need it.

 

4.     When in doubt read and listen.

I’ve always thought of social media as both a blessing and a curse, but the blessing part is being able to look at different content creators and resonate with parents going through similar situations or just parenthood in general. I have a whole list of people that I listen to, a few are below. I’ve also come across a few books on audible that I’ve found especially helpful (Book recommendations coming soon!). One that I’m currently listening to is The ADHD Parenting Guide for Boys by Richard Bass. I’m only on chapter 2 but so far so good! I’m already appreciating the distinction between girls and boys that have ADHD.

 

@thefunnymomma

@thisisjessicarose

(Podcast) Motivation for moms by Sara Muender

 

5.     Screw it, have fun.

My child is not like everyone else and that makes him cool, bright, and beautiful. I’ve learned to look at some of his behaviors/quirks as gifts and superpowers rather than annoyances because they don’t quite fit the general mold. I’ve learned to have fun with this instead of falling victim to the judgement and instead of trying so hard to change him, I accept him and his talents.

 

So to wrap it all up, I’m going to tell you something I wish someone would’ve told me years ago.

 

Remind yourself that you are the sh*t! What you’re going through is hard, frustrating, and exhausting. You have every right to acknowledge that, and your feelings are valid. For me, remembering the 5 above was something I came up with over the years and I wish I would’ve learned them sooner. Give them a try, see what works for you and share your experience as a person raising a neurodiverse child or even as a parent with similar struggles. Comment on this blog and others, share your thoughts, you never know who needs to hear a few words of encouragement.

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