My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

AIBU?

Do parents of 'neurotypical' children really understand?

165 replies

WindmillsOfMyMind12 · 25/09/2022 18:30

My son is 4 and is awaiting an assessment for adhd. I'm wondering about autism too but it's very mild if it is there. Although we haven't had the official paediatrician diagnosis yet, other professionals have said yes, it's adhd.

As a primary school teacher, I've taught many neurodiverse children over the years but in no way did that prepare me for having my own child with very challenging behaviour. Dh and I can be so exhausted sometimes. My ds is bright, funny, loving and totally gorgeous but he goes at 100mph, he's impulsive, reckless, highly emotional and has very little concept of risk despite our efforts. We have to be one step ahead and on it all the time, in all situations.

When we're out, I often feel on edge, especially in front of other parents. I feel like they're judging us if ds's behaviour isn't as it 'should be'. Part of me wants to say, my son's got adhd and we're doing everything we can but his behaviour can be unpredictable. It doesn't stop me going to different places with him as I feel like he needs to have different experiences to learn how to adapt but I can be a nervous wreck sometimes!

Now I have a 'neurodiverse' child of my own, I feel so much more compassion and have greater awareness for similar children and their parents. But I do wonder if parents of neurotypical children make judgements? Do they get it at all? Could be that I'm just insecure in my parenting skills with tackling adhd but it can feel like other people judge. It feels like society isn't as 'inclusive' as it could be sometimes.

OP posts:
Report
wizzywig · 25/09/2022 18:32

As a parent of kids with severe LDs I struggle to understand why those parents who have kids who are 'high functioning' are so stressed. Your kids are toilet trained, can speak in sentences, get qualifications, that's amazing

Report
wizzywig · 25/09/2022 18:33

I meant high functioning ASD

Report
Revolvingwhore · 25/09/2022 18:35

No they don't understand mostly, in my experience. They all think they're dead inclusive though!

Report
WhenISnappedAndFarted · 25/09/2022 18:36

I don't think any of us can understand something unless we go through it ourselves, and even then every feels and reacts to things differently. That goes with everything.

Report
MaggieMagpie357 · 25/09/2022 18:37

@wizzywig that's quite an unfair view in my opinion. My teen is so-called "high functioning" but struggles HUGELY with mental health, changes to routine, social communication, all aspects of school, friendships - every day is challenging in one way or another.

Report
WaddleAway · 25/09/2022 18:38

I have two NT children and one with fairly severe, non verbal autism.
No, I absolutely didn’t understand until I had a ND child myself. It’s generally pretty hard to fully understand something you haven’t experienced, although you can of course still be empathetic.

Report
candycaneframe · 25/09/2022 18:40

WhenISnappedAndFarted · 25/09/2022 18:36

I don't think any of us can understand something unless we go through it ourselves, and even then every feels and reacts to things differently. That goes with everything.

This

I genuinely believe no one can fully understand anything unless they've experienced it themselves. Well it's kind of common sense right

Report
Pootles34 · 25/09/2022 18:41

I personally know that I don't understand, no. I don't think it's something you can understand unless you've been there. I certainly don't judge though.

Report
Freshberry · 25/09/2022 18:41

I have 1 NT son who is nearly 2. At times when I am tired and a bit fed up, I have thought how much harder it would be if he wasn't NT. I can honestly say I don't understand as I haven't experienced it but I hope I am empathetic.

Report
babysharksb1tch · 25/09/2022 18:41

I'm a secondary school teacher. I also have an autistic little boy. To be blunt: I didn't have a fucking clue. I'm fairly certain my friends and family don't even know 1% of how difficult our life is. Had this not have happened to my little boy I'd have lived in utter bliss and ignorance all the while believing I was inclusive. I wasn't. It has made me a better and more understanding person and teacher.

Report
Justrealised · 25/09/2022 18:42

No, they don't understand. How could they? Yes, I think many do judge and I also think some are grateful they aren't in our shoes.

@wizzywig I completely agree with you. People don't can't understand how difficult it is and sone can't see past their own experience to realise there is worse out there. Profound autism is now being used and is it's being advocated for it to be put in the diagnosis criteria for this reason.

Report
AntlerRose · 25/09/2022 18:42

Im not sure people do get adhd. There is more awareness, if not understanding of autism.

And whilst it is great a child with adhd can talk and use a toilet and i totally understand that has a whole different set of stresses for families where tgats not the case. it still stressful if your child has no risk awareness and no impulse control so could end up dead of you arent constantly vigilant.

Report
fatgirlslimmer · 25/09/2022 18:42

@wizzywig you know it’s not that simple.

@WindmillsOfMyMind12 I don’t think people can know unless they’ve lived it. They can empathise though. What strikes me is that as a teacher it sounds as though you weren’t aware of how ADHD affects children and I see that regularly working in schools. Often the parents are struggling against the school, I’m surprised there is not more training and awareness. Did you judge others as you fear you are judged now?

I really don’t know how some of the parents I work with survive day to day.

Report
SidandAndyssextoy · 25/09/2022 18:43

I don’t think it’s possible to understand how challenging parenting children without special needs is unless you’ve done it.

I’ve parented a child with severe disabilities and a life limiting condition who died much too young, and three children with varying levels of neurodiversity. Obviously it was far far more difficult to care for a child who needed round the clock care and couldn’t be left alone at any time, and heartbreaking. But there are plenty of challenges every day caring for children negotiating a world built for neurotypical people, which is relentless in a different way, and far less visible. So I have enormous reserves of sympathy for every parent coping with every type of challenge.

Report
WindmillsOfMyMind12 · 25/09/2022 18:43

wizzywig · 25/09/2022 18:32

As a parent of kids with severe LDs I struggle to understand why those parents who have kids who are 'high functioning' are so stressed. Your kids are toilet trained, can speak in sentences, get qualifications, that's amazing

@wizzywig yes, I see what you mean. I have parents emailing me as a teacher worried about their child's book band and reading level. Everyone's entitled to their own parental worries. However, the parent part of me thinks, at least your child can read, I don't know if my child will be able to sit down long enough or have the concentration to even learn to read.

OP posts:
Report
MarinoRoyale · 25/09/2022 18:43

My children are neurotypical and I am sure I don’t understand. I have friends with children who are neurodiverse and I do my best to empathise, to try and listen and learn and support them but I’m very aware I’m getting a glimpse of a portion of what it’s really like. I don’t think I’d grasped how much mainstream education isn’t set up sufficiently for neurodiverse children, I’d previously blithely assumed that a SENCO was enough to ensure inclusion happens and needs are met - how wrong I was!

Report
LightningStrikesAgain · 25/09/2022 18:44

@wizzywig having a child with “high functioning” autism comes with it’s own set of challenges, I assure you. One of them being the expectation from others that they are just like NT children.

Report
dampgreg · 25/09/2022 18:44

MaggieMagpie357 · 25/09/2022 18:37

@wizzywig that's quite an unfair view in my opinion. My teen is so-called "high functioning" but struggles HUGELY with mental health, changes to routine, social communication, all aspects of school, friendships - every day is challenging in one way or another.

I agree with this. I have a teenager with high functioning autism. Yes he can speak and is toilet trained and highly intelligent. But his high intelligence means he struggles in many other ways with his mental health and may never be able to work or live independently.

Report
hiredandsqueak · 25/09/2022 18:44

No they don't understand and neither did I as it's my youngest two have ASD. I was pretty oblivious I suppose, mine did as they were told, when they were told so I didn't really get why others found it so difficult. Then I had ds (ASD) and I used to joke that somebody looked down saw how easy I had it and sent me ds just to mess things up a little. I am a hell of a lot more understanding now anyway.

Report
candycaneframe · 25/09/2022 18:45

Also with the wide spectrum of needs even those with ND children themselves might not fully understand someone's situation with a child who is 'worse' than their child.

Which makes it an incredibly lonely and sometimes isolating experience for many parents I have found.

Report
Hearthnhome · 25/09/2022 18:46

I have an my child and a ND. Of course you can’t know until you have experienced it.

That goes with anything. You don’t know what it’s like to be a single parent with no support until you have done it. You don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent until you experience it. The list goes on and on.

And then, you only know what your experience is like in your situation.

Report
fatgirlslimmer · 25/09/2022 18:46

Having posted earlier I should have added I don’t know how some teachers get through the day with the amount of SEN in mainstream

Report

Don’t want to miss threads like this?

Weekly

Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

babysharksb1tch · 25/09/2022 18:47

@SidandAndyssextoy what a lovely post. I am incredibly sorry for your challenges and your loss Flowers

Report
roarfeckingroarr · 25/09/2022 18:47

You're right OP, I have one NT child and absolutely don't understand. I try to - and to be empathetic and not judgmental of parents with "challenging" circumstances due to neurodiverse DCs - but I don't get it. A friend's DS has ADHD, under assessment for autism. Her experience of parenting is so different to mine. It's easy to have sympathy but I still find it hard to empathise when she shouts. Maybe I would be shouty too in her circumstances.

Report
MaggieMagpie357 · 25/09/2022 18:48

@LightningStrikesAgain I couldn't agree more. Which is why I'm beginning to see the term "high functioning" is actually quite damaging.

Report
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.