If I could have one wish, it would be for every child to be taught how to embrace neurodiversity. Having three children on the autism spectrum, I get to see both the joys and struggles they go through when it comes to friendships and social interactions.
Teaching children neurodiversity sounds like a huge undertaking. Sometimes, even adults struggle with changing their mindsets to embrace people who are not the same as them. So how do we go about teaching a concept like this? How do parents of neurotypical children and neurodiverse children accommodate each other to help build these relationships?
Autism and Stewie BOOM! Helping Families Embrace Neurodiversity
For decades, we have been teaching our children and ourselves about embracing diversity. Looking past the color of our skin, religion, background, and physical disability, all while celebrating and embracing these differences. Now it’s time to make Neurodiversity a normal part of our society too!
Autism and Neurodiversty
The stats are in again, and autism rates are now sitting at 1 in 59 children here in the United States. Averaging 20 kids per classroom, that means 1 in 3 classrooms have a child on the autism spectrum. No better time than now to teach our children to embrace the differences of their peers and make some amazing new friends.
An essential part of childhood is play. Making friends may come easy for many children, but not all. For children with autism spectrum disorder, it can be hard to understand the social cues and interests of others to make those much desired friendships.
So as a parent or educator, what can you do to help?
Education is the answer to most any issue in the world. In order to teach out children and future generations about embracing neurodiversity, we have to learn about it ourselves. To start that process, I highly suggest you read our article on What is Neurodiversity.
From there, you may question how to translate this into a child friendly conversation. I was blessed to recently receive a copy of Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play-Dates. I found out that this is an amazing resource for helping children understand neurodiversity!
Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play-Dates
This amazing book shares a story of Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope getting ready to have a play-date with a new friend who has autism. Through out the story, it sets the stage for your child (and you!) to learn how to embrace a friend with autism or any other special needs.
Not only was this book a very great read (for the kids, and me!), it came with two great resource guides in the back of the book. One is tips welcome special needs families for a play date. The other though, is Tips for Special Needs families.
Those very tips helped even me think a little differently on making friendships with other parents, and what I can do to make those play dates easier for all our children. I would highly recommend getting a copy of this book for yourself, and to give away to friends and schools!