• Shelley

Let's get curious...

Curiosity is not for the faint-hearted….

It means questioning deeply, listening without judgement and possibly letting go of our own beliefs and desired outcomes.

But it is the first step in properly understanding something or somebody, and a vital one to begin to understand and rebuild connection with our neurodivergent young person.

Many of them, in the system of society and education, have become used to others trying to force them to fit a neurotypical mould and they develop expertise in answering in ways that keep them feeling safer or they refrain from answering at all and retreat into themselves.

When we get curious, we ask questions in a way that allows our young person the opportunity to respond with their truth, in a way that doesn’t have a judgement from us attached to it and in a way that offers them the opportunity to feel seen and heard. Curiosity implies patience, space and less pressure.

When we get curious, we truly listen and practise empathy. Our young person may tell us things we are not prepared for, they may try to explain how they feel or why they respond in particular ways and we can begin to listen, accept and acknowledge those explanations without jumping in with our opinions or solutions.

None of this is easy! We have our own preconceived ideas and our judgements, we have beliefs of what our young people ‘should’ be doing and how they are expected to do it. We are in a society that constantly compares and evaluates, these are embedded in some way in us and to let go of those expectations is difficult and not a change we can easily make.

This same curiosity can be a game changer in the relationship with ourselves too. When we reflect on our own actions and responses with curiosity rather than judgement and blame, we begin to understand ourselves in a new way and can start to be open to a different way of being us. This connection with ourselves can have a huge impact on the way we relate to our young person and so on our ability to connect with them too.

Let curiosity become the driver for your interactions, it won’t be immediately easy to do, it will take courage and perseverance, but it will make stronger connections possible.

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