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12 Neurodiversity Rights for Children

Right to Access Stimuli:

"I have the right to access and use stimuli in all my daily environments to help me focus and feel safe."
This includes the use of fidget toys, headphones, breaks, knitting, or similar aids at home, school, and in leisure activities.


Right to Various Communication Tools:

"I have the right to use various communication tools that suit my needs, including technology, written language, signs, sounds, or other aids, in all my interactions."
This allows me to express myself and understand others in the most effective ways for me.


Right to Participation:
"I have the right to have a voice and be an active participant in all aspects of my life, including my education, leisure activities, and social relations."
This ensures the importance of my participation and opinions in all decisions that affect me.


Right to Self-Expression:
"I have the right to express myself in ways that work for me, because all forms of communication and self-expression are valid."
This includes choices of clothing, activities, hobbies, and ways to express my feelings and thoughts.

 

Right to Accommodations:
"I have the right to reasonable aids and accommodations in all aspects of my life to support my participation and well-being."
This may include adjustments at home, school, and in social contexts to meet my unique needs.


Right to Inclusive Environments:

"I have the right to be in inclusive environments where my differences are respected and valued."
This ensures that I have access to environments that understand and appreciate different ways of learning and experiencing the world.


Right to Autonomy:

"I have the right to make decisions about my own life and to have my choices respected."
This means that my opinions and choices should be respected, and I should have the opportunity to develop my independence.


Right to Respect:

"I have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, free from bullying or discrimination."
This ensures that I am treated fairly and with respect in all aspects of my life, regardless of my neurological differences.


Right to Social Relations:

"I have the right to form friendships, be part of the community, and have my voice heard and respected."
This ensures that I have access to environments where I can meet like-minded individuals and assistance in maintaining relationships.


Right to Positive Representations:

"I have the right to see positive and realistic representations of neurodiversity in my surroundings, at my school, in media, and public discourse."
This ensures that I see examples of people like me thriving and contributing positively to society, which helps build my confidence and self-understanding.


Right to Safety and Protection:

"I have the right to live in a safe and protective environment, free from bullying, harassment, and misunderstandings."
This ensures that I can grow and develop in a safe environment where I feel protected and supported, both physically and mentally.


Right to Recognition:

"I have the right to show and develop my strengths."
This ensures that I, like everyone else, have unique talents and abilities that deserve to be recognized and celebrated, and that I have the opportunity to develop these strengths in all aspects of my life.

Neurodiversity Rights for Children
 

Supporting ND Children's Rights

Supporting the rights of neurodiverse (ND) children is a crucial task for both parents and educators. This involves not only understanding these rights but also actively working to help ND children exercise and defend them.
Here is a more detailed overview of why we made these rights and how this can be done:

The Importance of Knowing and Respecting One's Own and Others' Boundaries

For ND children, it's particularly important to learn to recognize and respect both their own and others' boundaries.
ND children will encounter situations throughout their lives where they need to argue for their needs in ways that differ from what most experience. This can be a challenging task, as it requires a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to communicate complex feelings and needs.

Understanding Personal Boundaries:

Knowing one's own boundaries is crucial for the mental and physical well-being of ND children. It includes understanding and respecting their own needs, feelings, and limits. When ND children learn to identify what they are comfortable with, which situations are stressful or overwhelming for them, they can communicate their needs better.

Respect for Others:

Similarly, it's important for ND children to learn to understand and respect others' boundaries. This involves recognizing that other people may have different needs and reactions and that these can be very different from their own. By developing this understanding, ND children become more empathetic and skilled in social interactions.

 

Arguing for One's Own Needs:

ND children also need to learn how to argue for their needs in constructive and understandable ways. This is particularly important in situations where they face individuals who may not immediately understand their neurodiversity. Being able to express their needs clearly and calmly is an essential skill that will serve them throughout their lives.

Strengthening the Argument for One's Own Needs:

Arguing for one's own needs is a critical skill for ND children. It's about more than just knowing their rights; it's about having the abilities and confidence to make their case in a world not always adjusted to their needs. By helping ND children understand and respect both their own and others' boundaries, and by equipping them with the tools to communicate their needs, we strengthen their ability to navigate a complex world. Parents and educators play a key role in developing these skills in ND children by offering them support, guidance, and opportunities to practice.

Understanding One's Own Value and Rights:

The first step is to help ND children understand their own value and rights. This can involve open discussions about what rights mean and why they are so important. It's essential that these conversations are adjusted to the child's age and level of understanding.
For younger children, this might involve basic concepts like the right to say no, while for older children, it might involve more complex themes like autonomy and self-determination.
 

Starting the Conversation Early and Openly:

It's important to start the conversation about rights and arguing for one's own needs early in a child's life, also for children who may not use traditional language.
Parents and educators can use various communication methods, including picture cards, sign language, or technology, to incorporate these topics into daily conversations. For example, a conversation with a younger child might involve words, pictures, or gestures that help the child express when they feel uncomfortable or want something. For older children, more advanced communication aids like apps or speech-generating devices can be used to discuss complex topics like autonomy and self-determination. It's important that all children, regardless of their communication abilities, learn to express their needs and boundaries in a way that is comfortable and within their capability.

Practical Exercises and Role Play:

Practical exercises, such as tailored role-playing, can be very effective for ND children. These exercises can be adapted to fit the child's unique communication style and needs.
For younger children, this might involve simple sentences, signs, or the use of symbols to express a need or boundary, while older children might use more complex communication aids to navigate challenging social scenarios.
These exercises not only help children become more adept at expressing their needs and boundaries but also at understanding others' reactions and needs.
It's important that children learn to argue and set boundaries in clear ways that are adapted to their individual communication abilities and style.

Promoting Self-Awareness:

Self-awareness is crucial for setting boundaries and knowing what one wants. Parents and educators can help children develop this through conversations that encourage self-reflection.
Questions like "How did you feel in that situation?" or "What could have made you more comfortable?" "What can you say next time it happens?" can be good
 

The Importance of Supportive Networks and Role Models:

Building a supportive network around ND children is crucial for their development and well-being. This network can and should include a wide range of individuals: family, friends, school staff, professionals, and especially role models who share the same neurotype or invisible disabilities.

The Importance of Role Models:

A particularly important aspect of a supportive network is the presence of young and adult role models who are themselves neurodiverse or have invisible disabilities.
Seeing and interacting with role models who have faced similar challenges and successes can be incredibly empowering for ND children. It provides them with a sense of hope and belonging, and shows them that achieving personal and professional goals is possible despite the challenges they may face.

Role Models as Mentors:

These role models can act as mentors or guides for ND children, offering advice based on personal experience, and helping them navigate social and educational environments. They can also provide practical strategies for dealing with specific situations ND children might encounter and guide how to best advocate for their own needs and rights.

School Staff and Professionals:

Teachers and school staff who understand or have personal experience with neurodiversity can also be invaluable members of the network. They can create more inclusive learning environments and adapt teaching methods to fit the unique learning styles of ND children. Professionals, such as therapists or counselors who specialize in working with neurodiverse children, can offer valuable support and guidance.

Family and Friends:

Family and friends play the central role in creating a supportive environment. They can offer love, acceptance, and understanding, as well as daily support. Friends who understand and appreciate the unique qualities of ND children can be crucial for their social development and sense of belonging.

A supportive network that includes role models, teachers, professionals, and loved ones can provide ND children with a robust foundation for personal growth and success. It helps them feel less isolated, boosts their confidence, and gives them access to a wide range of resources and perspectives.
By surrounding ND children with people who understand and support them, we give them the best chances to thrive.

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Using the List of Rights as a Tool:

Having a physical copy of the list of rights in a simplified version can be a practical tool. The list can serve as a reminder to the children of the rights they have and help them internalize these concepts.

(Find the Simplified Version of the List for Printing Here)

Printing this out and hanging it in a visible place at home or in the classroom, or giving it directly to the child, can be very effective. It constantly reminds children of their rights and encourages them to think about how they can apply these rights in their daily lives. This simple approach can be incredibly effective in strengthening ND children's understanding of their rights and their ability to advocate for themselves. It gives them the tools they need to navigate a world not always designed for their needs, boosting their confidence and independence.

Final Thoughts:

By helping ND children understand and apply their rights, we prepare them to face challenges and lay the foundation for a future where they can thrive. It's important to remember that each ND child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. Patience, understanding, and adaptability are key in this process. As parents and educators, it's our responsibility to provide them with the tools and support they need to grow and develop in a society that respects and values their unique contributions.

All articles on ARI Learning regarding neurodiversity are developed in collaboration with our global neurodivergent staff. This article was written by a Danish autistic individual using LLM (Language Learning Models) tools for translation.

PS: Vil du hellere læse det på Dansk? - Klik for pdf :)

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