• Shelley

Curiosity means being willing to be open to something else …

Part of the definition of curiosity for me is being willing to consider a different outcome to one that you imagined.

We all have ideas of what we think our child will want to be, like to do, excel at, strive for, the kind of person they will become… This is a natural part of becoming a parent but at some point - often at around 2 - our toddler shows us very clearly that they will not always comply with our wishes! This can come as a bit of a shock but we expect it to a degree and we welcome it in some ways, as part of our child’s development.

When you are the parent of a neurodivergent young person, it becomes apparent at some point that the path you envisage for them may not be the one they are following. As you seek support, perhaps go through an assessment process, possibly receive a diagnosis, your previously held desires, hopes and dreams may have to be adjusted or completely rethought.

This can be painful. This can feel like you are having to let go of an image of your child or young person that was full of expectation and hope and give birth to another version of them. I have heard parents speak about grieving for the child they will not have once they become aware of their neurodivergence.

This word makes me uncomfortable but I do understand what they mean. I try to see this process as more of a discovery, a blank canvas on which anything can be created as long as we focus on the strengths of the creator- the young person. It is not easy to give things up, but if we concentrate on what we can discover and gain instead, it becomes exciting, a journey of exploration.

The journey will, no doubt, have many twists and turns, uphills and potholes but we can be excited about where it will lead and what we will find. Lose the judgement and preconceived notions and open yourself up to possibilities.

Use curiosity to search out the strengths of your young person, to follow their passions, to develop themselves as an individual. What you imagined for them was really only your thoughts, your desired outcome. Go instead on a journey with them, as the individual they are, and it can only be much richer and more rewarding.

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