Three parents share their experiences of supporting their neurodivergent kids
Updated: Mar 15
When it comes to the wonderful world of neurodivergence, we know that our kids have a lot to teach us. Here are three amazing stories from parents of neurodivergent children: Friend of A New Normal, Sophie, whose son H is autistic; our own Director of Business Ops, Kate, whose daughter J was recently diagnosed with autism; and our lovely Director of ED&I Consulting, Julie, whose son B has ADHD.
Sophie and H
It's so nice to FINALLY see someone H could relate to in Murray (Ken Bruce's son) on TV.
Sophie has an autistic son (H) and was so happy to see the BBC2 TV documentary by Chris Packham, "Inside Our Autistic Minds". These are her words:
"Thank you to Chris Packham (and Murray) who has finally allowed a 'spectrum' of autism to be portrayed in the media. It's immensely gratifying for me to think even one person has watched this and can now understand a little more about this HUGE spectrum of a condition.
Murray, Ken Bruce's son, is my son - my gorgeous H. Murray who is non-talking but is showing how amazingly intelligent he is. Yes, he can't talk, and therefore can't integrate within what seems to be a very rigid society of people assuming your brain doesn't work. Just because you can't talk, may bounce around like Tigger, or close your eyes when you walk doesn't mean you're not smart or don't have a brain. H does 50 piece puzzles with the picture side on the floor.. He's smart 😅
I can count on my fingers and toes, or maybe the hairs on my head, people saying "oh, I know someone with autism" but sadly, most people don't recognise its sooooo different for each and every person. Comparing autism between three people would be like saying we all have the same hair. Hair is hair, though one may be blonde, another brunette, another red. Just because you all have hair doesn't mean its the same!🤣 This condition is not a one size fits all.
This is why it's so nice to FINALLY see someone H could relate to in Murray on TV. I've not, to date, seen autism portrayed in a way H would ever be able to relate; so thank you Chris! And if anyone has the time to watch, please do. The more understanding out there in a neurotypical society, the better - for H's sake, mine, and all the families out there trying to manage their way through this minefield."
This wonderful show is available on BBC iPlayer here.
Kate and J
A dear friend suggested, very simply, that I ask my daughter how she wishes to be described and to whom
"Just before Christmas last year, my 12 year old daughter was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. It wasn’t a surprise as we had an inkling from a fairly early age and I had been doing my best to educate myself around this subject for some time.
As a parent, what I’ve found quite difficult is how to talk about it. Who to tell? How and when to tell them? How to describe her? I feel like I’m outing her and I’m so conscious that I want to do the right thing by her. A dear friend suggested, very simply, that I ask my daughter how she wishes to be described and to whom. Which is what I did. It’s daft really because I actually already knew this through the work that we do and this can apply to anyone who may wish to be described in a way that is different to you.
We always encourage our clients to have a frank and honest conversation with other people even if you are worried about upsetting them. What tends to happen is that, actually, they are happy that you asked. My daughter was."
Julie and B
Watching reels, tips and jokes posted by people with ADHD on Instagram helps B feel less ‘othered’.
"I have been on my own journey of discovery when it comes to my son, B, and ADHD. I have learnt that education is so very helpful but that each person's neurodiversity really does manifest in its own unique way. Kate is right, honest conversation and simply asking questions has been invaluable, especially as B has grown older.
We have found that watching reels, tips and jokes posted by people with ADHD on Instagram has been a great conduit for conversations and helps B feel less ‘othered’. He smiles when watching these and says “yep, that's ADHD!, it's not just me!”.
We always communicate the importance of representation when discussing inclusivity with our clients. Here, the significance is all over his face. It is so important."