In locations like the U.S. and Canada, behavioural care for teens is easily accessible, partly due to the rise in teen neurodiversity. The concept of neurodiversity seems to be everywhere these days.
Increasingly, young adults are using the term to describe themselves. But what exactly is neurodiversity? In the past, the word ‘neurodivergent’ was used to describe people struggling with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, there are now many different recognized types of neurodiversity, many cases of which would benefit from teen behavioural care. Searching in Canada for behavioural care for teens? Reach out to Venture Academy today by calling 866.762.2211 or contacting our team online.
What Is Neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity involves the idea that people experience and interact with the world differently. There is no single correct way of behaving, learning, and thinking, and differences between how someone acts and how most people would are not viewed as deficits.
The neurodiversity movement emerged during the 1990s; it aimed to increase the acceptance and inclusion of all people by embracing neurological differences. While it is primarily a social justice movement, neurodiversity research is increasingly important in how clinicians view and address certain neurological conditions and disabilities.
What Are the 5 Common Types of Neurodiversity in Teens?
1. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A considerable slice of the population of neurodivergent people is those with ADHD. This condition is well-known, and it is what most people think of when considering developmental disorders. Struggling with ADHD can make sustained focus difficult and manifest difficulties in not acting impulsively or impatience with certain tasks.
ADHD is often understood as involving hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity, but this is only one element of this form of neurodiversity. Many clients with ADHD, especially young girls and adults, are never diagnosed or are diagnosed late because they lack symptoms that show a hyperactive quality.
This condition is often diagnosed in young children, and those diagnosed can overcome their limitations with practice and accommodation. They may also show strengths in other areas, like athleticism, creativity, energy, and the potential to develop hyperfocus.
Among the population of neurodivergent people are those who struggle with reading. Dyslexia is a learning disorder involving reading difficulties due to problems decoding or identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. This disorder can also be called a reading disability. Overall, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.
Dyslexia is not insurmountable, and experts have researched and now recommend providing accommodations for clients, such as using different fonts or providing more time to read. These accommodations can mitigate many of the worst effects of this genetic form of neurodiversity. Most clients with dyslexia read and write proficiently when teaching methods are altered to suit their needs.
Though reading can be challenging, clients with dyslexia have shown aptitude in other areas like visual representations of causal reasoning. They may harbour a talent for separating visual clutter and be good at noticing when elements are out of place.
Dyscalculia involves the same challenges as dyslexia but in understanding mathematical problems and sequences instead of simple text. It’s not easy to diagnose dyscalculia because so many people struggle with math without having any developmental problems. This form of neurodiversity often manifests as a struggle with counting, pattern recognizing, and doing other simple mathematical tasks.
Accommodations for dyscalculia include providing tools like calculators and other assistive methods. Since this condition is not as well-known as others, research is limited on what advantages it might offer. However, it stands to reason that a struggle with certain cognitive functions might indicate an aptitude with others.
Hyperlexia involves a precocious ability to read at a young age. Often misunderstood or misdiagnosed, there is relatively little research on this phenomenon. It was first noted in 1967 and is typically thought of as a splinter of the autism spectrum.
While hyperlexia might sound like a pure advantage, it can often result in difficulty in socializing and understanding speech. There’s a potential difficulty in developing abstract thinking. However, clients with hyperlexia may also have incredible memorization and retention abilities.
5. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is relatively well-known because of its more observable and noticeable symptoms, such as verbal or physical tics. There are professional treatments for and methods of controlling these various tics, but even with consistent practice, they can be difficult to manage in times of stress.
Suppressing these tics can lead to improvement in not only in daily functions but also to improved cognitive control, at least when accomplishing certain tasks. The practice of self-control in clients struggling with Tourette’s syndrome can give them an edge in accomplishing tasks that require focus, self-control, or sustained effort.
When Should You Consider Teen Behavioural Care?
Overall, it’s recommended that your teen undergo an assessment and possible diagnosis if you observe consistent unusual symptoms or destructive behaviours as part of their interactions with you and the world. It’s also a good idea to get help from a mental health professional if your teen finds it difficult to maintain a daily routine or function properly.
If your teen comes to you or another parent or guardian to say they feel they are neurodivergent, the most supportive response is to be open and empathetic. The next appropriate step is for your teen to get evaluated. Still, it’s also helpful to talk to your teen about this process and ensure they understand that an evaluation will not automatically lead to the diagnosis they seek. Instead, an assessment will be the start of providing a solution for issues that are concerning them.
Ready To Learn More About Venture Academy’s Options for Teen Behavioural Care?
Needing help does not make you a bad parent; seeking help when required makes you a great parent. If you’re looking in Canada for behavioural care for teens, contact Venture Academy today. Reach out to our team online or call 866.762.2211.