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To diagnose or not: How do we best support our children?

To diagnose or not: How do we best support our children?

Given the increase in the last twenty years in diagnosis in ADHD, autism, and other neurodiversities, I think this is an interesting topic. I appreciate a diagnosis can offer a sense of relief in understanding, offer a sense of belonging to a group, lead to increased access to supportive resources, and that the human mind links to categorize. I also appreciate our medical systems are at a bit of a crossroads, with the Western model of medicating still the predominant force. My question is more in how we utilize the information following a diagnosis. 

My Story

As a child and youth I experienced significant anxiety, I believe partially due to nature and my environment. I also displayed, and still do, many symptoms of ADHD. I had every allergy under the sun - like ten pages. I was and still am highly sensitive to every little thing - lights, sounds, touch, texture, scent, and the energy around me. I have never been formally diagnosed but live with others who have been. You may be asking why I have not been diagnosed? 

I was given tools to nourish my nervous system by my Mam, and found more on my own to help me manage my anxiety and ADHD tendencies. Breathwork, meditation, lots of exercise and outdoor time, food and supplements to support. She and I also found practical ways to support where I was struggling through routine and ways of approaching situations. 

Behaviour, nervous system, or environment? 

I recognize I am on the ‘lighter’ or high functioning side of the vast spectrum of things, but in my work, I have also seen many children across various spectrums whose parents have taken into consideration the child’s nervous system and environmental factors. Many of these parents have taken their children to a number of different practitioners and often come to me as additional support or because other things haven’t really worked. These parents consciously or not, recognized that focusing on the behaviour was not the source. 

By taking into account the subtleties of the environmental stimuli - seen and unseen, the nervous system, and routines, parents have seen incredible changes in their children’s behaviour. See when a child or person feels supported, seen, and heard at the root of their struggle, we see lasting sustainable changes. Once our children feel supported, we can then empower them with tools to understand their experiences and learn to express themselves in healthy ways. The truth is, our nervous systems are not that different to animals, and leaning on the works of Dr. Peter Levine - trauma and polyvagal expert - we need to release our emotions and experiences through sound and movement.

What are your thoughts? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know that getting to the heart of any matter can take a little more time and effort. And I know many parents are feeling overwhelmed now, but I have also seen time and time again, that when a child’s nervous system and environment are supportive, the overwhelm in the family lessens. Additionally this leads to sustainable change and offers strength based tools to truly support the family. 

Want to learn more with Katie?

Katie Connolly is an award winning Speaker and Healer. She is an Expert Registered Yoga Teacher with a Registered Children’s Yoga School, a Craniosacral Practitioner, and Masters of Counselling Candidate. Katie’s passion for sharing Somatic tools with families and educators stems from learning them as a child from her Mother, to support her with anxiety, ADHD tendencies, and dealing with many challenging life experiences. 

Go here to gain FREE access to Katie's Intro Course to Breathwork & Somatic Tools for the Family!

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Katie C

Hi! I’m a mom to two angels and have been working with highly sensitive & neurodiverse families for over 12 years now! I'm a Somatic Coach for Families and Speaker, with a background as a Craniosacral Practitioner, Expert Yoga Instructor (with a registered Childrens Yoga School), and Masters of Counseling Candidate. Having learned many of the Somatic tools I share as a child, I am passionate about passing these accessible practices on to support families. When Im not doing this Im nourishing my soul in nature and playing with my family. I look forward to meeting you 🌺 Katie

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