There is little advice or support out there for parents who are neurodivergent themselves. From buying uniforms to labelling everything, to meeting teachers, to managing emotions, back to school is can be an overwhelming time for everyone involved. This is why we were thrilled when Georgina Reoch, a neurodivergent parent of neurodivergent children agreed to speak to Socolo's founder, Chantal Gagnon.
Georgina is the creator of F.A.B - Fantastic Alternative Brains - where she shares information and insights on what it is like to live day to day with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other neurodivergences as a parent to neurodivergent children. Georgina shares with us insight into what it is like to get ready for back to school in a neurodivergent household and shares tips that she has found useful for managing this time of year. Watch the full interview above, by clicking on the YouTube link.
Georgina's top tips for preparing a neurodivergent household:
- The back-to-school process starts before the end of the school year. This is a great time to speak to the children’s new teacher and introduced your children to them.
- Speak to the teachers and school about your needs as a neurodivergent parent.
- Use the summer to recharge and build the children's confidence back up.
- School is all about fitting into a box and organisation, so the summer should be about creativity, mess, outdoors, freedom and recharging.
- During the summer holiday, encourage resting time for the whole family, so you as a parent have a moment to recharge and refocus.
- Be honest about your needs and prioritise your needs. You may be busy accommodating everyone, but that does not mean that you don't need accommodations too.
- Use small items like pebbles, crystals or small teddy bears to help with anxiety. Children (and parents) can keep these in their pockets and discreetly hold onto them for comfort when anxiety begins to pop up. When children use this throughout the year, it becomes a great tool during exam time.
- Be aware that back to school can be cause a lot of sensory overload. Showing children where their new classes, pegs and lockers will be before school starts can help with some of the overwhelm.
- Teach small children the shapes of their names.
- Use pictures, icons, and colours on labels. This allows children and parents to quickly visually identify what item belongs to who without having read the label.
- Take plenty of space and time to organise all of the back-to-school kit. Do not try to do this all at once. Do it in manageable portions and make lots of lists.
- As children get older they can begin to help with the back to school process and together as a family you can all help each other out. Everyone has their own special skill set, and this is the time to let that shine.