Creativity and imagination that knows no bounds: I’ve never seen anything like the extent of his creativity. If there’s a problem with something, he’s got about ten ideas to fix it (only one idea might be effective, but it never stops him trying to find different and interesting ways to do things). He’s the kid that finds joy in being creative, values the power of his imagination and his ability to daydream so vividly. He’s created games from his imagination that have been played by his classmates throughout a whole school year. He values things like art, drama, music and dance as much as he values being creative in what he builds, designs or in solving maths problems. For him, he genuinely sees advantages in having a strong imagination, so he’s never afraid to use it in order to dream big.
We don’t always have the greatest days with our son. In fact, some days and many moments can be downright awful.
“I’m often reminded that with each one of these qualities I love so much, comes an opposite side that can be just as intense.”
We address those sides daily as well, we know he needs the extra guidance in those areas. But even when we are helping him self regulate, talking him through a problem or a learning challenge, more often than not by connecting the solution to a strength, interest, or dream we know he has. We’ve noticed that this helps him see the value in what he’s learning but more importantly, he sees he’s capable of getting the result because of the strengths and talents he already knows he possess.
“Quite often, our neurodivergent kids are seen through the lens of their deficits or their repeated mistakes.”
This erodes their confidence, creating limiting beliefs about their capabilities as learners and who they are as a person, which has such a huge impact on their lives. It is often what they can’t do, that drives us to meet with their teachers or has teachers finally contacting us. It’s important in these times to remember the positive qualities and strengths that come with our kids being neurodivergent, and see how schools and other environments they frequent, can create more opportunities for them to be successful.
“We need to work together to help them create an internal dialogue based around ability and assets, rather than one of inability and deficits. Focusing on their strengths in order to address their challenges, needs to play a huge role in any support they receive.”
The journey of being neurodivergent is never going to be an easy one. The earlier they can learn that they are so much more than what they struggle with, the better equipped they will be to handle whatever challenges might come their way.
Sandra draws upon her Masters of Ed. Psych and her background in education to coach kids with ADHD and ADHD women diagnosed later in life.