5 things to include in Neurodiversity Affirming Goals for neurodivergent kids

by Adina Levy

Like many people, I’m sure you’ve been busy learning about what kinds of goals are not Neurodiversity Affirming – that is, goals that asked children to mask, to hide who they really are, for the benefit of others around them. Goals that asked kids to shift their behaviour away from their true self. Goals that taught isolated skills that don’t make sense to a neurodivergent’s real life…

Affirming goal-setting is such a delicate area to navigate and I’ve been spending a lot of time lately supporting therapists to learn what IS ok to do. So I wanted to share these 5 ideas with you. This isn’t ALL that’s important to consider, but it’s a really great start!

5 things to include in Neurodiversity Affirming Goals for neurodivergent kids

🧒🏽 Ask ‘who does the goal help?’ The child’s needs, wants and well-being must be at the centre of the story and the goals⁠

👪 Make goals about parent-education, teacher support, and environmental changes explicit. Write goals like “Kai’s parents will learn about…”⁠

👥 Goals should be created collaboratively with the child, wherever possible. You may need to interpret the child’s needs and wants, if they can’t share them explicitly⁠

📱🌠💬 Communication goals must focus on the idea that all communication methods are valid. Speech is not better than other communication methods. The primary focus must be to reduce frustration, and increase connection and interaction using whatever communication method is appropriate or preferred by the child at that moment⁠

👯‍♀️ Social communication goals must revolve around supporting the child’s social-emotional support needs and preferences. Not about teaching them to change to act more ‘like other kids’.⁠

    Therapists! Want to learn more about Neurodiversity Affirming goals, and report writing?

    💻 Check out my webinar ‘Affirming Approach to Goal-Setting and Reports‘ to learn more!

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