For the complete How to Explain a Diagnosis to Kids series, visit www.BrainBuildingBook.com.
Finding developmentally appropriate, positive, non-overwhelming language to explain one diagnosis to a child is hard enough…
But what about when the child has multiple diagnoses?
When talking to a child about their testing results, it’s hard to find language that is positive, developmentally appropriate, and not overwhelming.
Over the past few months, I’ve shared a set of articles dedicated to finding this language and helping us explain common diagnoses to kids, including:
The evolving conversation around neurodiversity celebrates the unique minds and superpowers of neurodivergent profiles such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, and more.
But what about the kids who struggle with explosive, disruptive, or oppositional behaviors?
For me, talking to kids about anxiety can feel like a catch-22:
Talking about anxiety tends to make kids feel more anxious, which then makes it even harder to talk about!
The dyslexic adults I see often come in thinking they’re lazy, or broken, or worse, stupid.
As children, they were told that they had a deficit – and the conversation stopped there.
When those same dyslexic adults and I do an assessment together, we learn that they are far from lazy, broken, or stupid. In fact, we end up rewriting the narrative of their entire childhood.
Explaining ADHD to anyone is complicated, never mind a young child! For starters, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:”
- Is not actually a deficit in attention,
- Does not always involve hyperactivity, and
- Does not lead to disorder in every environment
I wanted to share a few key concepts that have made a big difference in the way I think about feedback with children. These ideas come together to form the framework I use for talking to kids about their testing results:
By the time we start an assessment, many kids already have a sense that they are different in some way. Still, for many the kids I’ve worked with, learning that there is a name for their experience didn’t necessarily bring a sense of relief.
After the assessment is over, the next challenge is explaining the results to the child. This is no easy task – understanding testing results is hard enough as an adult!
So, how do we translate our often long and complex reports into child-friendly language, so that every kid leaves knowing how to explain their amazing brain?