Guest Post from Nichola – Heidi and Me Our Neurodiversity Journey
“When you know better you do better” (Maya Angelou, Author)Maya Angelou, Author
Being the parent of a neurodivergent child, has changed me, forever.
Not in a negative way, or a compromised way, it has changed who I am, my outlook; made me a better person. I am stronger, I have a thirst for learning, a drive to improve; I have developed patience, communication skills and empathy.
My child’s ADHD life journey starts with me, I am the one who she relies on to help build her foundations. She doesn’t know that yet, she may not appreciate that yet, but when she is an adult, I want her to look back on our relationship and understand I did the best that I could.
We are constantly building and assembling those foundations of confidence, self acceptance, self advocacy, accepting mistakes and learning from them, self regulation, coping strategies, communication skills, navigating friendships, benefits of exercise, sleep hygiene and routine.
When my child asks if she can climb the door frame mid meal because her legs are aching, or she hangs upside down to do her homework, when she reaches for her weighted blanket to watch TV, or asks me to quickly massage her back before bed because she feels tense, I welcome all of that. I celebrate it.
It demonstrates to me that despite her young age, she is developing self awareness and self advocacy; skills which will see her succeed during her ADHD adulthood.
Our children, knowing that we are striving to understand their needs, that we support them, appreciate them, that we have their backs and are listening to them; are the greatest gifts that we as adults can give them.
But it’s not always that easy or simple is it? Sometimes being the parent is exhausting, overwhelming, feeling unsupported, and unappreciated by family and friends.
I have found my stability (and often sanity), in immersing myself in learning and developing; Parent groups, neurodiversity charities sites, articles and books are a great source of support.
And the best survival trick I have discovered… Self Care! Being more than “Mum” – time to be myself, to unwind, even if it’s just grabbing 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how your patience level grows when you have had some time to yourself.
A cup of tea alone and a sneaky hobnob (or three) in the kitchen, a hot bubble bath while the kids play computer games and evening gym classes; those are my life lines. Kindness, acceptance and understanding prevails; to your child and yourself.
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one”. (Sue Atkins)Sue Atkins
A huge Thank You to Nichola from Heidi and Me. Our neurodiversity journey. Follow Heidi’s adventures on Facebook