Stephanie McGlynn, MFT

Consultations for Parents of Neurodiverse Children

Parenting is a challenge, especially for parents of a child with an autism, ADHD, or any neurodiverse diagnosis. While trying to learn all you can about how to help your child, you may forget the huge impact the diagnosis has on your entire family. All parents struggle in this situation, and all are deeply concerned about their child’s future.

If your child was diagnosed at a young age, you are most likely confronted with many immediate uncertainties about your child’s communication skills, play skills, and overall development. You face the process of many decisions in regard to treatment modalities. My goal is to support you as a parenting team during this transition so that you can make the necessary decisions while maintaining loving relationships within your family.

If your child was diagnosed at an older age, you are dealing with a slightly different set of challenges. Your child has likely developed language skills and limited social skills, and may have progressed well through grade school. His/Her habits and non-typical behavior are suddenly more pronounced and are causing problems at school and in your family life. I help parents of older children to develop a better understanding of their child’s needs. My goal is to support you in learning about the adjustments you have to make within the school and family to suit your child’s needs, while coping as parents with this new perception of your child.

Parent consultations provide a place to freely express your concerns about your child and your family. Having a compassionate listener nurtures and strengthens you, and expands your ability to continue to be patient with your children.

Rationale for support of parents

Parents of neurodiverse children deal with multifaceted challenges on a daily basis: the struggles of accepting the diagnosis and the effects that it has on their marriage and the family life overall, finding resources and the right program for their child, being in public with a child that visibly shows no signs of being different, but acts in extreme ways, being constantly reminded of the child’s different perception of the world, and finally dealing with overwhelming worries about the future.

The diagnosis of a child has an immense impact on both the immediate caregivers and the entire family. Unpredictability of diagnosis and future development, limited knowledge about neurodiversity in the general public and in the medical field, as well as difficulties in relating to the child cause a maze of emotional strains on the parents. The child’s needs might limit the family’s participation in daily life activities.

Ongoing research studies have found that current services and legislation may not be meeting the needs of families. This is a life-long process and parents will not only need support during the early years, but will need support when it comes to challenging transitions in their child’s life. Some researchers suggest that intervention programs need to be aimed at the entire family and stress the importance of being not just focused on the child.

Emotional support in form of group, individual or couple therapy for parents will encourage the development of more effective coping strategies for their marriage, the entire family, and in relation to their child.