How to include neurodivergent kids within their own support teams

by Adina Levy

Here are some questions to ask yourself, before I head into today’s email!

  • Do you believe that children should have a say in their own care, goals, and support?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think that self-advocacy and self-determination are good ideas, but hard to achieve for your neurodivergent clients, students, or children?
  • What do you find challenging about including children within their own support teams?
  • Zooming out to a long-term, life-time view, what are the benefits of getting this right… of including children in the decisions and supports around them?
  • I have some tips that might help you bridge that gap that I hear from many professionals who support neurodivergent children.
  • The gap between ‘I want to include kids’ and ‘I’m not quite sure how to’! Here we go!

Tips for Including Children in Their Own Collaborative Teams

1️⃣ Respect child’s autonomy: Include children in decision-making processes to respect and enhance their autonomy

2️⃣ Parent/carer involvement: Highlight the role of parents/carers in the collaboration process, ensuring their insights and observations are valued and integrated into the team’s approach, but that they don’t speak ‘for’ or ‘over’ the child as much as possible

3️⃣ Inclusive meeting formats: Adapt meeting format, location, setting to meet a wide-range of attention, sensory and communication needs

4️⃣ Ensure psychological safety: Prioritise the psychological safety and comfort of the child. Consider who should be in the meeting (to support the child) and who could be left out of the meeting

5️⃣ Clarify roles: Ensure the child understands each team member’s role and how they contribute to their support

6️⃣ Prepare team members: Distribute pre-meeting summaries about the child’s needs, preferences, and current strategies with a strengths-based perspective

7️⃣ Visual supports: Incorporate visual aids and tools to facilitate understanding and communication, e.g. choice boards, communication boards, photos of spaces or physical examples of materials and activities

8️⃣ Encourage and honour all forms of communication: Support the child (and all team members) to share and participate in their most preferred communication method for that moment

I share a lot more about these points in this week’s podcast episode on the Exploring Neurodiversity podcast:
​How to Include Children in their Own Collaborative Teams

      Keep learning with me!

      Register for the Communicate and Connect Webinar Series for Professionals who support Neurodivergent Children: https://playlearnchat.com/communicate-and-connect-webinars/

      The 3 webinars in the series are:

      • Responsive Relationships: Communication Strategies for Professionals to Connect with Neurodivergent Children


      • Collaborative Connections: Coach and Communicate with Carers & Teams of Neurodivergent Children


      • Supportive Spaces: Creating Inclusive and Accessible Environments to Support Neurodivergent Children in their Communities

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