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Common Neurotypes in Children that Require Early Support

Neurodiversity describes the idea that there are different ways people’s brains are wired to process the world. As a result, all sorts of different types of brains exist - or neurotypes. People whose neurotypes are within the majority of society are called neurotypical people. People whose neurotypes are within the minority of society are called neurodivergent people. Neurodivergent people may need support in specific areas different from neurotypical people, especially in early childhood learning. 


Seven neurotypes are commonly diagnosed among children:


These neurotypes can experience learning differences that may require individualized support. However, each neurotype can have unique strengths considered exceptional! Understanding how to nurture a neurodivergent child’s strengths to support their learning differences empowers caregivers and educators, especially during early childhood when vital brain connections are made.


Common Neurotypes in Children 

The seven most common neurotypes diagnosed in children are autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, Tourette’s, and dyspraxia. Many other neurotypes exist; however, these are the neurotypes that can be directly supported by therapy and school programs in early childhood.


Understanding neurodiversity is crucial before seeking proper support for a neurodivergent child. All children have unique ways of learning, but neurodivergent children may not thrive with the learning methods used in traditional school settings. Many neurodivergent children require unique and specialized support, for example, an autistic child may need pictures or visual aids to complete tasks whereas neurotypical students may succeed only using verbal instruction. 


diagram of common neurotypes in children

Strengths and Areas of Support for Each Neurotype

Each neurotype has unique characteristics and strengths. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the brain!


Autism 

Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference in how the brain processes information, including sensory and visual information. Over 95% of autistic children have sensory differences, which experts say may explain why many engage in stimming, socialize differently, and require extra support in early language and communication. However, these sensory differences can be a strength, leading to detail-oriented thinking and memorization skills that may surpass neurotypical children


Strengths: 

  • Detail-oriented thinking

  • Visual thinking

  • Logical thought process

  • Often excel in math, science, and the arts

  • Punctuality

  • Rule-based thinking

  • Excellent memorization skills

  • Honest and reliable


Areas of support: 

  • Occupational therapy for self-regulatory strategies for Sensory differences

  • Occupational or Physical therapy to support motor skills

  • Speech and language therapy


ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental difference characterized by differences in attention and focus. These differences can lead to challenges, such as sustaining attention on uninteresting tasks but hyperfocusing on more interesting ones. 


Strengths:

  • High energy

  • Ability to hyper-focus

  • Creative, able to think outside the box

  • Outgoing

  • Resilience and persistence

  • Spontaneous and adaptable


Areas of support: 

  • Time management tools

  • Organization skills

  • Sensory fidgets


Dyslexia 

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental difference characterized by a perceptual difference where big-picture thinking predominates. Many dyslexic individuals find spatial reasoning and auditory skills easy, but decoding words and identifying speech sounds more challenging. 


Strengths:

  • 3-D perception

  • Visual thinking

  • Creativity

  • Strong spatial skills

  • Verbal communication


Areas of support:

  • Spelling 

  • Reading and decoding words

  • Letter names and sounds


Dyscalculia 

Dyscalculia is a neurotype similar to dyslexia but with numbers. Dyscalculic children may have excellent verbal and speaking skills but may struggle to perform basic math functions. Children with dyscalculia may have difficulty with time management and other number-related skills but are often skilled at big-picture thinking and creative expressions like art.


Strengths: 

  • Strong verbal skills: reading & writing

  • Skilled at art

  • Big-picture thinking 

  • Creative and intuitive thought process


Areas of support:

  • Time management supports

  • Assistance managing finances

  • The use of multi-sensory math lessons  (pictures and hands-on materials)

  • Calculating tools and visual aids


Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination difference that causes motor movement and coordination differences. A dyspraxic person often possesses excellent problem-solving and multitasking skills but may find gross motor activities like learning to ride a bike or performing fine motor tasks like buttoning a shirt, challenging. 


Strengths:

  • Verbal skills

  • Empathy

  • Problem-solving

  • Multitasking     


Areas of support:

  • Coordination and muscle training

  • Fine and gross motor tasks

  • Pull-on clothes or slip-on/velcro shoes

  • Occupational therapy


Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a neurological difference that causes difficulty with handwriting. Dysgraphic children may have adept memorization and listening skills but struggle with the hand movements needed to form letters on paper. The condition is not related to reading or spelling difficulties but to physically forming letter shapes on paper. These individuals often possess excellent verbal storytelling skills. 


Strengths:

  • Strong memory and memorization skills

  • Problem-solving

  • Adept verbal and listening skills

  • Storytelling skills


Areas of support:

  • Text-to-speech keyboard

  • Comfortable grip pens and pencils

  • Wide ruled paper 

  • Typing activities 


Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes unwanted, involuntary muscle movements and sounds known as tics. Individuals may display remarkable creativity and the ability to hyperfocus but may need assistance understanding specific stressors and coping skills related to their tics. Tics are usually sudden and repetitive, but these learners may have refined interpersonal awareness and be inclined to use detail-oriented thinking. 


Strengths:

  • The ability to hyper-focus

  • Creativity

  • Interpersonal awareness

  • Detail-oriented   


Areas of support:

  • Engaging in self-care

  • Help with understanding their tics and stressors

  • Medication in select cases


How Different Neurotypes in Children Affect Learning

Every child has a unique way of learning, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent. However, children with neurodivergent conditions often struggle in traditional learning environments. Therefore, understanding a child’s specific neurotype, learning their strengths, and providing appropriate support can help them thrive.


When neurodivergent children have the individualized supper they need, they feel understood, increasing their confidence and independence, and better preparing them to thrive socially and academically. 


parent and child holding hands

Students are eligible for a free developmental screening through their school at their parents' request or by their teacher's recommendation and their parent's approval. Therefore, it is critical to advocate for children with suspected learning differences.


If a child has any of the neurotypes discussed above, they will need a diagnosis from a doctor or psychologist to secure in-school support. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, parents and teachers can take steps to secure a 504 or IEP, which offers individualized support to learners based on their strengths and needs. 


In addition to in-school support, a child may benefit from therapy and at-home support such as a distraction-free homework zone or noise-canceling headphones. 

The first step to support your learner's unique learning style is to learn about their neurotype, understand their needs, and then build upon their strengths. 


How GoManda Can Support Your Learner 

GoManda is an app and strength-based learning program built for detail-oriented and visual-thinking learners, such as autistic or dyslexic children. GoManda is specially designed for neurodivergent learners and is an excellent resource for early childhood vocabulary learning, in conjunction with other at-home and in-school supports. 


 Try GoManda for Free today to see how it can support your learner! 

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