Note: If you want to share this with friends and family who may need a quick overview of your family’s wiring, you can share the free Neurodiversity 101 course with them. You can copy this link: https://aspiefamily.com/?page_id=1626
Many people have never heard of neurodiversity, so we start every course with our quick overview. Whether you or your loved one has had a diagnosis for years or it’s a brand new possibility (or somewhere in between), it can be helpful to hear a different perspective. The terms that define the different varieties of neurodiversity can sound like alphabet soup. ASD, ADHD, OCD, TS, SPD. What are the similarities and differences, what are some treatments, and how do the wirings overlap?
We’re so glad you’ve chosen to let us join you on your parenting journey! We know what it’s like to want to be a great parent but find that the parenting advice out there doesn’t work for you–or maybe you blame yourself, thinking the advice would work if you did it right or stuck with it. Good news: this time is going to be different! This course is designed specifically for your family and your needs. You can ask questions at any time so reach out if you need support!
Every lesson has a video that you can watch or listen to. Most have handouts you can print and use if you like. If you (like Robin) enjoy checking off your progress and following along with a syllabus–one of the handouts in here is our course syllabus.
The rest of this course is made up of small steps that will add up to big changes in your life. Each time you work on a lesson, you’ll be a little more confident as a parent and your home will be a little more peaceful and connected.
This whole module is more focused on you than the kids.
Why did we do that?
So let’s get started with the video!
Your outlook and approach to your partner’s, your child’s, or your own diagnosis determines what you say, what you do, and ultimately your direction in parenting and relationships.
Numerous studies have found that a teacher’s or parent’s positive expectations of a child (and their resulting positive interactions) are more predictive of the child’s success than any inborn traits. But what does this look like in a neurodiverse family?
Most people go through some sort of grief process when their child is diagnosed with autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, OCD, etc. It varies significantly from person to person. We’re telling our own story here (mostly Charlie’s and Robin’s) because we hope our personal experiences help you know you’re not alone. We also talk about the stages of grief and coping as you move back and forth through them.
Note: We’re barely touching on the feelings around an adult being diagnosed. This is a parenting class after all, so the focus is going to be on your parenting. But you matter. If you’re grappling with a lot of feelings around your own or your partner’s diagnosis, then make sure to get the help you need.
As parents, we’re often told that we need to put our children first. While you obviously need to make sure that your children are properly loved and cared for, you can’t be a great parent until you’ve taken good care of yourself. Good self care not only fills you up, it models for your children how they will one day care for themselves.
You’ll want to have the handouts handy during the lesson, so if you have a printer available, print them before you get started. If you can’t print them, have some paper and a pen handy. We’ll tell you when to pause the video and jot things down!
We all know that we’re supposed to model behavior for our children. But that can be really hard! How can we model being the kind of person we want our kids to be? (Hint: We’re covering the two times when the example you set is most important, and they are exactly the opposite of how most people think!)
So often parents hear the message that they have to give up their own relationships for the sake of their children. This lesson delves into the different kinds of relationships we have and how these help both us and our children.
Raising resilient children is so important to help them thrive through the unavoidable upsets in life. There’s actually very clear research about exactly what parents can do to avoid toxic stress and build resilience in our kids. This lesson breaks down the research into actionable steps you can take now!
Why would we include abuse and trauma in a parenting course? Because this is information that EVERYONE needs in order to help our whole community. If you have unresolved trauma, you might find this helpful or you might find it triggering. If you are finding it difficult, please reach out to a mental health professional. While everyone agrees that safety is first, it’s important to know what’s next.
Separation and divorce happen, so it’s important to talk about how to parent in these circumstances. Half of all kids will not make it to 18 with their parents still together–so if this is you, you’re in good company! You made the best decision you could when you got together with your co-parent, and you made the best decision you could when you split up. This lesson discusses both what to do if you’re able to work together, and also how to give yourself grace if it’s not working well.
We have ideas that have worked well for many people Robin has helped over the years–we hope they work for you, too!
You’ve made it through the most dense and intense module in the course! Way to go!
From here, we’ll be turning our attention to how we interact with our kids, lead them in a good direction, deal with problems, and so forth. This will give you the tools you need to confidently manage your daily life.
Module 2 is all about what most people think of as “parenting.” This lesson provides a framework for how we think about parenting. You are the leader of your family and you need to consider what your goals are. You wouldn’t try to run a business without having some idea of what you’re trying to accomplish; when raising your kids, you also need to know what you’re working towards.
Think back to a particularly wonderful boss–or a particularly awful one. What made them particularly good or bad? What kind of leader do you want to be in your home? And what’s the most straightforward way of being that kind of leader? Keep watching…
Remember from the lesson on resilience that having healthy family rules is important for kids. But how do you develop and use the rules? How do you make them healthy and not arbitrary? By the end of this lesson, you’ll be ready to write your new rules.
We gain our identity from the adults around us as we grow. What our grownups say about us leads us to behave in ways that confirm that identity. An entire childhood of hearing that we are “the musical one” or “lazy” or “spunky” will cement that identity and make it hard to shake later. This lesson is all about helping your child develop a healthy identity that will serve them well throughout life.
A quick note about you: If you don’t like the identity you were handed by your parents, remember that you always have a choice about whether to keep or discard aspects that do or don’t suit you. If you were always told that you were “not athletic,” you can start learning a sport now. Just remember, you’re starting back at the beginning. You will have the skills of a 6 year old and that’s okay! If you stopped drawing when you were 8, you will probably draw like an 8 year old. That’s fabulous! Just start there and keep drawing.
All parents have moments that leave them completely stumped. Whether it’s because your child has done something so naughty you don’t know what to do, or you’re just exhausted, we’ve got you covered! This lesson was the beginning of the whole parenting course for us–it addresses a common concern we see online about autistic parents. But we’ll tell you more about that in the video!
So often we focus our parenting efforts on teaching our kids to be better people. To do what’s right without personal gain. To be internally motivated. But what if that isn’t working? Especially with neurodiverse kids, a different approach is often a gamechanger…
You don’t have to be a gifted storyteller to be fascinating to your child. This lesson will give you the tools you need to start using this technique. You can help your child grow in healthy ways and develop the family culture you’ve always wanted!
Parenting is leadership, so many of the same leadership skills you’d use in a workplace will help you out at home. And who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something here that helps you out at work. We’d highly encourage you to use the resources available through The Leadership Challenge, whether it’s the book, free resources on the website, or attending one of their courses. Thinking of parenting as leadership works very well for some people and if that’s you, do all you can to develop as a parent-leader. This should get you started!
We have varying roles in ours kids’ lives. As we help them learn and grow, we can be thoughtful about different ways to support their development.
You’ve made it through the two long modules! The last module is short: it’s really just bringing together the whole rest of the course (with a few extra concepts that will help you really love your child(ren) and be the best family you can be!)
This module is all about building connection. Really, that’s what the whole course is about. But these lessons put on the finishing touches to your skill set.
Parenting is not a static situation. Rather, it is a dynamic and ever-changing relationship with your child: you connect, and then your connection struggles, and you reconnect again.
These lessons will help you in this ebb and flow.
You wouldn’t just feed your child fruit for every meal and snack. You feed your child a variety of proteins, vegetables, and other foods in order to make sure they have a well-rounded diet. In the same way, your child needs love in a variety of “languages.” Keep watching for how to do that and why…
Kids can be overwhelming to live with. It can start to feel like constant interruptions. But those interruptions serve a purpose…connecting. Learn about the three ways to respond and how to maintain the relationship even while saying “no.”
Biologically speaking, we were never meant to function alone. Like all primates, we’re tribal, communal, social. We need each other in many ways…including ones you may not have thought of yet. Watch on–and make sure to post the handout where you can see it to always remind you of your team.
We hear it all the time…this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. And this time it’s true!
Watch the video, and know that we’ll be here for you for the long haul. Read through the statement on the Certificate of Completion and sign it. You’re making a commitment to yourself and your family.
We’re so grateful you chose to be a part of this course! We want to help as many parents as possible so please share the link to the course with your friends, family, therapists, mental health providers, teachers, and support groups. If this course has been helpful to you, please let us know by submitting a testimonial here.
Together, we’re going to make the world a better place for all neurodiverse families!