8 Steps To Consciously Connect With Neurodivergent KidsMar 04, 2023
It’s time we rethink how we support and guide neurodivergent children from all angles:
- how they’re being supported at home,
- within their ecosystem of therapy and treatment, and
- within the school system.
Only then will these children finally have an opportunity to share what they are capable of, how their differences can empower them to serve others, and how their unique abilities can shift those around them.
I’m Christine L’Abbé, CEO of Evolve Movement, a conscious and holistic network of support for families of neurodivergent children. I am also a Pediatric Anat Baniel Method® NeuroMovement® Practitioner, Conscious Parenting Coach and the author of Our Superpowers: Celebrating Differently-Abled Kids and Their Siblings. More importantly, I am the mother of two beautiful daughters, one of which has Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops, causing a progressive loss of motor skills and language.
My experience and the lessons I have learned along the way have led me to commit to a life of service to awaken others to the magnificence that lies in neurodivergent children, how they are meant to be supported and guided towards their innate potential, and how their presence leads us all to expand and uncover gifts within ourselves we never knew we had.
Parents, caregivers and those of service to our children play a critical role in their ability to access the possibilities available to them and yet, most of us lack a deeper understanding of HOW to consciously and authentically connect with them, something that is foundational to supporting neurodivergent kids.
WHAT DOES SHOWING UP FOR OUR KIDS REALLY MEAN?
Our kids don’t need to be fixed or saved, they need to be seen, heard and valued for exactly who they are. Here’s the thing, you may think you see your child, but if you still believe they need fixing, then you’re not seeing them whole. Know that this is common.
There is a thing called ‘the fog’, and this fog keeps us blind to seeing our children, ourselves and life in it’s true form, which is why I believe this is the first step. Identifying the fog and silencing the noise that keep us from hearing our own inner voice is the key to begin seeing, feeling and being present to a child’s true nature. It is here that we become empowered to see what IS actually possible and what IS innately and already present within them. An important ability for us to understand how and why to advocate for our kids.
IDENTIFYING THE FOG & THE NOISE
The fog represents our conditioning, belief systems, programming, imposed beliefs about our kids e.g. diagnosis, prognosis, and our inner child – yes, our inner child plays a huge role in keeping us blind to our child’s authentic nature. Here’s why: sometimes our inner child wounds get enmeshed in our child’s experience.
Let me expand. In the early stages with my daughter, Gabi, I was in denial that anything was wrong and searched for all the least severe conditions that could somehow explain her delays. I could not accept that she might not be able to ‘do’ in life like others could. This was a deep inner child wound that fed into a belief within me that my child would never be seen, acknowledged, or loved if she couldn’t achieve or DO great things in her life.
As a child, I had felt unseen and misunderstood. I was led towards activities and academia that was not aligned with my strengths, which made me feel like I wasn’t great at anything. I was imposed a way of being that was in some ways in opposition with my authentic self. This is SO much more common than not, and really, truly not our parent’s fault. Remember, the fog and the noise had them blind too!
All this led to a belief that I wasn’t enough in simply being me, not really knowing who that was. I learned that I had to work to be seen and to be lovable. The point is that what I REALLY needed was for someone to see ME, my authentic nature, and the gifts that were innately present within me, to believe in me, to know me, to understand me and to create safe space for me to get to know myself, expand, and step into the greatness that was always there. My childhood may have us question how we’re showing up for our neurodivergent kids, well, all kids really, but let’s start with our differently-abled kids who REALLY need us to step up.
Like many, I learned that I was not whole, magnificent and complete, unless I had something to show for it. I couldn’t see Gabi because I couldn’t see myself. I had not yet connected to my own essence, let alone anyone else’s. I didn’t know how to guide my children from the inside-out because society was telling me to guide them from the outside-in. Even when we know this, there’s a BIG difference between knowing this truth and EMBODYING it.
Our kids learn early on that to be enough they have to perform, they have to DO. How many times have you acknowledged your child when they did something well, or achieved something, or reached a milestone? Many times right?! How many times have you acknowledged them in simply BEING? In those moments when they are just being themselves, how often do you say to your child “you are amazing”? I bet if you try this tomorrow, your older kids will ask you: “well, why?” as though there has to be a reason to be amazing, that they can’t just BE amazing.
Early on I thought I was my daughter’s savior, when in truth, I was disempowering her. Unknowingly, I was protecting her from pain I felt as a child by repeating outdated patterns from my childhood so she could achieve and feel lovable, so she wouldn’t have to suffer. Although well intentioned, this approach was so misaligned and not for Gabi’s highest good. I was not showing up for her in the ways SHE needed me to, I was too enmeshed to see clearly. Are anyone’s wheels turning right now?
Think of the mom that was bullied as a child, and now fears her neurodivergent child being bullied. That mom will go to extremes to ensure her child is protected – that could look like intense therapy for speech delays, tics, socialization or other. What message is the child receiving? Although the mom is doing this to protect him, she is actually contributing to his lack of self-worth and not enoughness by trying to fix him so he’s accepted. All the attention goes to the areas that need work – meanwhile there is all sorts of amazing emanating from them every day. As hard as we are on ourselves, we are on our kids. We are teaching our children to abandon themselves to be loved.
Here’s the deal, REALLY showing up for our kids is to have the ability to know them on the deepest of levels. And we can’t do that if we don’t dive deeper within ourselves, because we won’t know what we’re looking for. That’s why step two on the journey to consciously connect with our kids is all about INNER WORK. To be empowered to KNOW what an optimal environment looks and feels like for our child is to begin the process within ourselves first. You can’t see what you can’t see, until you do. After which everything changes. So here it is, the list, I’ve already talked about two of the eight steps, now let’s dive into the rest – know that this isn’t a linear process, all of this gets better as we go deeper.
8 STEPS TO CONSCIOUSLY CONNECT WITH NEURODIVERGENT KIDS
- Begin the process of clearing the fog and silencing the noise.
- Dive deeper into healing your inner child all the while becoming more self-aware so that you can begin to differentiate between your needs for a child and their actual needs.
- Practice presence so you can begin being fully present to yourself, your child or those you are of service to. How you show up, your energy, matters and it speaks so many words that our neurodivergent kids understand very clearly. Practice being present to the subtleties within you so can become empowered to be present to the subtleties within them.
- Understand the art of creating safe space for a child to learn about themselves and feel free to express their authentic nature. Discover what safe space feels like as a way to begin creating it for others.
- Practice cultivating an authentic connection with yourself and your child, where you can connect with and attune to them on a deep level, so deep, that you can feel emanating from them their deepest, most inner being rather than focusing on their shell and output.
- Learn to observe children from the lens of unconditional love and curiosity, make understanding them a priority: how they learn, what their gifts are, what they struggle with and why, how their unique makeup (gut, brain, emotions, etc.) works as a way to understand how to be of service to them with love, compassion, and patience in the unique ways they need you to.
- Co-create a learning environment that is in alignment with the child, where they are now, and where they’re going.
- Show the child the expansiveness of what is available to them, no matter their label, condition, physical shell, or other. Remember that you have to understand the expansiveness of your own being to guide another towards theirs.
More often than not, who our children are meant to be and how they are meant to shine in this life is not at all aligned with what we had envisioned or what was projected onto them – it is often so much more. Having the ability to see and feel what that is, is something that is awakened within us when we start doing the inner work.
Remember, it is practically impossible to get it right from the start. We are on a journey with our children, on a path towards becoming our BEST selves; the experience with our child teaching us what needs to change both for us and for them so we can all live a life of service, joy and fulfillment. It’s important not to judge ourselves but rather be loving and understanding of our humanness. We must learn to practice compassion with ourselves. I speak to you from the experience of a parent that is walking the same path and learning along the way. I see you.
I’m sure many of you are wondering – how do I even start? Great question.
First, I suggest you sign up to our newsletter so you can get access to a FREE 3 video workshop that goes deep into step one, how to remove the fog that keeps us from seeing our neurodivergent child as whole.
Second, I would like to invite you to share in the comments below a new awareness about yourself after reading this post. Remember how much it helped you to read my story, sharing your story could change someone’s life. We serve when we uplift others – become part of this movement with me.
Then, sit with this new awareness and understanding. Be present to it. Feel it in your body. Name it. And then, listen in stillness. Now knowing what you know, where do you feel guided to go next on your healing journey? TRUST yourself. All the answers are actually within you, sometimes we just need to be reminded how powerful we truly are.
When it comes to creating change for neurodivergent kids, we are stronger together, louder and more powerful as a collective – share this blog post with 10 people that you feel could benefit, whether that’s a parent, family member, friend, educator, therapist, caregiver, medical practitioner or nurse.
Let’s connect, grow, and evolve together, let’s change the way our kids are supported so they may finally have the opportunity to shine their magnificent light.
Christine L’Abbé, CEO & Co-Founder of Evolve Movement
Join my mailing list
I am here to support you, join my mailing list for free resources, upcoming workshops and the latest information!
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.