&noscript=1" />

Understanding Neurodiversity and Autism: A Child Psychologist’s Insights

Neurodiversity and autism

It sure does take a village! In a recent Q&A for parents, Child Psychologist Dr. Diana Barrett shed light on neurodiversity and autism, providing valuable insights on how parents can support their kiddos. In the Q&A, Dr. Barrett explored the definition of neurodiversity, signs of autism, and practical ways to support children with sensory issues. 

Let’s dive into the conversation and learn more about this important topic!



What is Neurodiversity?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, neurodiversity refers to:

“The idea that people experience and interact with the world in various ways, with no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not deficits. 

Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder and other neurological or developmental disorders such as ADHD or dyslexia.

Referring to someone as neurodiverse or neurodivergent is a way to focus on positive aspects of their differences and what that can bring to the group setting, rather than focusing on their disabilities.” 


Signs of autism and when to seek support

In regards to identifying neurodiversity, particularly autism, Dr. Barrett suggests looking at two key areas: social communication and repetitive stereotyped behaviors. 

In terms of social communication, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Both spoken language and non-verbal communication.
  • Non-verbal cues like gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and shared interests. 
  • Additionally, observing a child’s play, imaginative abilities, and willingness to engage with others can provide insights into their development.


Repetitive stereotyped behaviors are another aspect to consider:

  • These behaviors can manifest as repetitive movements, such as hand-flapping or tiptoe walking, as well as repetitive speech, intense interests, rigid routines, and sensory sensitivities. 
  • Dr. Barrett advises parents to be mindful of whether these behaviors interfere with a child’s functioning and relationships, which might indicate a need for further evaluation.


Supporting children with sensory sensitivities

Sensory sensitivities are common among both neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals. Dr. Barrett shares practical strategies for supporting children with sensory issues. 

Firstly, identifying replacement behaviors that are more socially acceptable, safer, or sanitary can help redirect certain sensory-seeking mannerisms. For example, providing specific fidget tools or sensory outlets can help children manage their sensory needs.


neurodiversity and autism


1. Creating a sensory kit

Your child’s sensory kit may include tools like headphones, sleep masks, weighted blankets, and tactile objects, which can also be beneficial. These kits can be personalized to the child’s preferences and alleviate overstimulation or anxiety in various environments. 


2. Teaching coping techniques 

Practicing deep breathing and relaxation exercises can empower children to regulate their responses to overwhelming stimuli. 


3. Recognize and reward

Recognizing and rewarding appropriate replacement behaviors is also essential in helping children develop new strategies.


Additional sensory resources 

Understanding neurodiversity and autism is crucial for parents and caregivers to support the unique needs and strengths of their children. By recognizing the diverse ways in which individuals experience and interact with the world, we can foster a more inclusive and understanding society. 

Check our Dr. Barrett’s recommendations for additional support:


By being attentive to social communication, repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities, parents can seek professional guidance and provide appropriate support.

Remember, neurodiversity celebrates the differences and superpowers that each child possesses, and it is through acceptance and support that we can help our children thrive! 


sensory tools for kids


More about Lingokids

Stay tuned for more exciting content, expert advice, and resources from Lingokids to help you nurture your child’s potential. We’re here to support you every step of the way. 

The Lingokids universe provides original, award-winning, interactive content for kids, transforming how kids can learn. Lingokids creates games, songs, podcasts, videos, and activities that blend educational subjects with modern life skills to spark curiosity, imagination, and success in school—and beyond!  

Interested in learning more about how Lingokids helps families raise amazing kids? Download the app and check out more content on our YouTube channels!


What advice did you find most helpful from Dr. Barrett? 

Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Enjoy these articles too!


Never miss any Lingonews!