Everyone experiences stress at times. If individuals are exposed to stressful environments over extended time periods, their mental health could be affected. ND children and young people may have negative or highly stressful experiences with their environment or interactions with others, if rejected or poorly understood. This may be processed as trauma.
A person experiencing frequent trauma can become hypervigilant, angry, have recurring nightmares and other sleep issues, or lead to depression, persistent fear, aggression, irritability or difficulty concentrating or remembering things. Some ND characteristics may be more intense: regression of skills, increased communication issues, increased anxiety and meltdowns, reduced emotional regulation, etc.
Providing them with adequate support may be the key to reducing the impact of trauma on the child or young person's mental health. Strategies like using their strengths and recognising any weaknesses requiring support may be the key to building their self-esteem and the emotional and mental resilience to overcome negative experiences.
Some of these strategies may include:
· Educating adults and carers to recognise a child or young person's difficulties.
· Supporting a child or young person to ask for help when they find tasks difficult.
· Helping a child or young person to understand and take pride in what makes them different.
· Praising for effort and celebrating achievements.
· Supporting an individual to recognise their strengths, along with any difficulties.
· Providing ample opportunities to take breaks from situations that can be stressful.
· Develop coping strategies for managing stress.
· Develop alternative means for communication when verbal skills are very limited.
· Addressing situations where needs are dismissed, belittled, misunderstood or ignored.
· Prepare well for transitions.
· Offer support when experiencing bereavement, including the death of a pet.
· Provide frequent movement breaks during education or activities.
· Make any adaptations that the child or young person needs in order to feel comfortable and welcome.