Neurodivergents as Parents

This is a collection of ideas and articles around parenting (especially motherhood, as the author is a mother, not a father).

Pregnancy 

What it’s like living with ADHD while pregnant: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/what-it-is-like-having-adhd-and-being-pregnant/100013266 

The goal of this post is to help the underserved niche of women, girls and female-identifying Autistics seeking birth and healthcare support. 

  • Because the pregnancy, birth, and infant-care season involve augmented sensory experiences, has increased communication requirements, and involves both short-term (ie answering questions during consults) and long-term processing (ie birth outcomes) my hope by writing this is that birth and infant-care professionals will update their practices to accommodate the needs of Autistic people. Written by a Neurodiverse woman. Read more here.

Learning disability and pregnancy 

  • Most of the women had involvement with social services and had mixed views about this. It could be seen as a useful form of support or something the mothers endured because they felt they had no choice. Read more here.

Elizabeth Maushe, a registered Learning Disability Nurse, discusses some of the challenges women with learning disabilities can face when being cared for in maternity services. https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/news-and-updates/blog-caring-for-women-with-learning-disabilities/ 

Giving Birth 

The Autistic Doula: Navigating the Sensory Challenges of Motherhood…. As I think is the case with many parents, it was only when I realised that my daughter is Autistic that it occurred to me that Autism explains so much about my life experiences too. 

Yet, from the very beginning of my pregnancy, motherhood presented me with a series of sensory and other challenges that exceeded my capacities and exhausted my coping strategies.” Read more here. 

Autist Rhi – https://autistrhi.com/2017/12/14/autism-labour-and-birth/ 

Autist Rhi – https://autistrhi.com/2019/10/10/mhmothers/ 

Joanna Grace (autistic, Founder – The Sensory Projects) – https://www.all4maternity.com/neurodiversity-and-maternity-1-hidden-barriers-to-healthcare-access/

Babies and Small Children 

  • Suggestion – Get an app that you can log feeds, changes, sleep on that will also give you reminders. 
  • Suggestion – If breast feeding isn’t working – move on to formula. (this is something I did with no regrets, but apparently some women regret this). 
  • Motherhood: Autistic Parenting – https://awnnetwork.org/motherhood-autistic-parenting/

My Mummy is Autistic – A Picture Book and Guide about Recognising and Understanding Difference – By Heath Grace, Joanna Grace 

  • This original and imaginative book has been created by five-year-old Heath. In it, Heath illustrates his understanding of his autistic mother Joanna, giving insight into the different ways in which autistic and neurotypical people understand language. Read more here.

Might your child be Neurodivergent?

Bob Dietrich talks with Elaine Taylor-Klaus, Co-founder ImpactParents.com. They discuss what parents really need to know when raising kids with ADHD – Watch it here.

The Joys and Challenges of Being a Parent With Autism – A generation of parents are revealing some advantages of the condition, even when their children don’t share the diagnosis. (warning Baron-Cohen quotes) – Read more here.

ADHD MOMS & DADS: When ADHD (Literally) Runs in the Family – “Mothering a child with ADHD is not for the faint of heart — and it becomes more daunting when you, too, are struggling to stay on track… ” – Read more here.

“….you do have to be flexible as a parent – the child you got is maybe not the child you expected, in all sorts of ways, but your parenting has to match the kiddo. You can’t just blindly do what your parents did or what your sister or best friend is doing and assume it will work. You have to try to find a system that works for you as the parent and for the kid. I think that’s in all families, but perhaps especially in families where you have lots of different brains doing lots of different things all the time.” – Read more here.

Children are raised in a 3D world. All the objects children are exposed to do not change identification because they change direction. Animals, cups, computers, and toy cars are still the same object when they face a different direction. 

When the young child goes into a classroom and is confronted with 2D symbols that change meaning depending upon which direction they face, they can become confused. Most children do see the difference but do not consider the spatial awareness of specific letters. When you really think about it, b and d and p and q are the same letters just faced different directions. Read more here.

If there are things you find hard to do as an adult (such as brushing your child’s teeth or teaching them to fasten shoelaces), consider using an OT to help. “Children’s, or pediatric, occupational therapists (OTs) support children to engage and participate in their chosen occupations. Occupation can be a misleading term in this instance.

It is best to think of occupation in terms of activity. Children’s activities can include playing, school work, dressing, feeding, reading and sports.” Read more here.

Moms with ADHD have it twice as hard — trying to balance your career, family, and personal life while battling attention deficit disorder is no easy task. Here, easy-to-follow communication, organization, and emotional advice. Read more here.

Autistic mothers: ‘I mothered my children in a very different way’. Amelia Hill speaks to four mothers who only recognised their own autism after researching their children’s behaviour. Read more here.

Managing Complex Kids in Complex Times with Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Watch it here.

Theo Smith writes that “Parenting and Neurodiversity is just one of the added complexities we face as humans trying to do the best by our children, whilst holding down a job and trying to fend off the bias and stigma that is very much still alive.” Read more here. 

Also for children – ideas and suggestions to consider when cleaning (your) teeth, brushing (your) hair, getting dressed and much more (also info about covid, video calls, additional Learning Needs and even smearing faeces) – downloadable resources are free (please donate if you can). Read more here. 

Junior School (up to 12) 

Dyscalculia – It’s hard to help your children with their maths homework, if you are not confident of your own maths ability. You might have maths anxiety or even dyscalculia yourself. Thankfully since the pandemic forced so many families to help school their own children, everyone is now more aware than ever that some parents have problems with maths.

The Conversation advises parents to work together with their children, and to think about maths as “…accompanying your child towards understanding a new concept, rather than explaining it to them.” Read more here.

Time.com talks about a parent who can’t remember how to do maths, and keeps sneaking away to use their calculator – of course they are found out in the end! But then there are plenty of tips to help parents and the realisation that maths pops up a lot in real life. Read more here.

Trying Play therapy with your own children. Read more here.

Children enjoy diving hands first into play experiences. Completing the tasks of building blocks, working a puzzle, and drawing pictures will yield skills that the child will use throughout his lifetime. A toy that can be used in many ways and that involves more than one sense will automatically be more enjoyable. Multi-sensory means that more pathways to brain development are opened and used. Read more here.

Senior School / up to 20 

AsperDad: Growing Up With a Parent on the Autism Spectrum (Maybe).

I am a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment of ASD. But also, I am the non-autistic child of someone on the autism spectrum. Well… maybe. I will try to explain. Read more here.

Summer Farrelly shares her experience of connecting with her family through common interests. And how she and her (late-diagnosed autistic) mother reverse mentor and support each other. 

  • Summer hopes her stories of life’s challenges faced by young Autistic teens will educate and inspire others. Her journey is also about connecting and forming a strong bond with her mother and Autistic brothers. Read more here.

Parenting an Adult 

I am an autistic person, son of an autistic father, and the father of an autistic son, who is now 30. Read more here.

A Journey Toward Self-Advocacy: Perspectives from an Adult Son & His Mom – Read more here.

There are not many resources about neurodiverse parents with adult children….. 

Experts

Jeanine Crombé
EFT (Tapping) Professional

LinkedIn

Rhi Lloyd-Williams 
Autism & Self Care – Rhi is co-founder of AutismHWB.com
Website
Resource

Giuliana Wheater
Massage is also good for parents

Rainbow Kids Touch Therapy
YouTube

Jo Morton-Brown
Young People’s Mental Health (Flourish) 

YouTube

Adults & Self-Care

You will find a collection of writings and ideas about self-care, which is aimed at teens and adults.

Read more
Schools and Education

Language learning is a core part of Belgian public education, and funding is provided to help children who do not speak the main teaching language.

Read more
Preschool

Most children like to be active and enjoy the movement of the larger muscle groups like the arms and legs. This starts with babies sitting up turning over crawling and walking.

Read more