Know Someone Who Is Neurodivergent? Here’s How To Support Them

 How to Support Someone Who Is Neurodivergent

If you know someone who is neurodivergent, understanding and embracing their differences is essential. Here's how to support neurodivergent people.

A neurodivergent girl

Do You Know Someone Who Is Neurodivergent? Here’s How To Support Them

People's brains work in different ways. You can ask ten people their opinions about a topic, and you might receive ten different responses. Some people are visual learners whereas others need to hear information before they understand it. Certain people need to figure things out on their own through hands-on experience. No two people are quite the same, but many are considered typical despite their differences.

Understanding Neurodivergence

Some people's brains function much differently than what is considered normal. Those in this category are neurodivergent. Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and Tourette's syndrome are all examples of neurodivergent conditions. Though people with these conditions were once stigmatized, it's now widely understood that neurodivergence in individuals should instead be recognized and respected.

People who are neurodivergent have unique thought patterns and ways of processing information. Those differences can give people extraordinary advantages. They may have exceptional levels of creativity, problem-solving skills, and other strengths. Still, people who are neurodivergent may struggle in other areas. They may face difficulties with social interaction, sensory processing, or maintaining concentration.

Supporting People Who Are Neurodivergent

According to recent reports, up to 20 percent of Americans are neurodivergent. If you have a loved one who is neurodivergent, understanding and embracing his or her differences is essential. You can show your support for this condition in many ways.

Professional Intervention

Finding a therapist may be one of the best ways to support a neurodivergent loved one. Keep in mind, though, that the goal of therapy isn't to cure neurodivergence. It's to help people live with it. Not all therapists work with neurodivergent people, so finding one who specializes in this area is recommended. Also, remember that addressing neuro-divergences requires a tailored approach.

Understand Your Loved One's Needs

Another way to show support for neurodivergence is to gain a better understanding of it. Learn more about the condition your loved one lives with and how it affects his or her life. Numerous resources are available about neurodivergent conditions. Ask your loved one questions about the condition as well. Who better to explain atypical thought patterns than someone who lives with them? You may not be able to see things the way your loved one does, but you may be able to understand his or her perspectives.

Be Mindful of Challenges and Limitations

It's also important to be mindful of a neurodivergent person's challenges and respect those factors. If that person is uncomfortable in social situations, don't pressure him or her to socialize. If your loved one prefers to avoid physical contact, don't greet that person with a hug or insist on staying close. In the event loud noises bother the neurodivergent person in your life, steer clear of loud music or yelling. Try to create an environment that makes the person comfortable, and avoid pushing him or her to see the world from your perspective.

Being Supportive of a Neurodivergent Loved One

Showing support for neurodivergent people may not be easy. They process information differently than most people, so seeing things from their viewpoint may not even be possible. Educate yourself on neurodivergence, and try to understand your loved one's unique needs. Be aware of the challenges and limitations your loved one faces, and accept them. A therapist who specializes in neurodivergent conditions can make a world of difference for your loved one as well.

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