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How to Support Your Child with Visual Planning for Autism, ADHD, and other Neurodivergent Conditions

Updated: May 21

In general, most kids would rather play than study. Let's face it: most adults would rather have free time than work. It's natural to want to focus on what we enjoy, but as we mature, we understand we must follow the basic rules of society to prosper. However, children are still developing, learning skills that help them focus on the task at hand and gaining new skills every year. Younger children learn the basics of why things happen the way they happen, while older kids develop prioritization skills that will support them in adulthood.


Planning and scheduling do not come easy, especially when you are a busy parent with even busier kids. When a child is diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, etc., they often wonder how they can best help their child thrive. Supporting a neurodivergent child includes some crossover as a neurotypical child — understanding their unique needs, fostering communication, providing a structured environment, and promoting social and emotional well-being. However, with a neurodivergent child, planning and scheduling become an imperative part of your day. 


Neurodivergent means thinking and processing information differently. Incorporating visual planning for Autism, ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions is one of the best ways to assist chilren . It has been found that they have an easier time and are more responsive when information is presented visually in a step-by-step manner. And it’s not just neurodiverse children. Studies have shown that 65% of all people are visual learners. 


THRIVE is an app inspired by the needs of neurodivergent individuals. Here are some basic guidelines parents receive when their child first gets a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, or other conditions and how the THRIVE app adds additional support.


  • Establish Routine and Structure: Most neurodivergent children benefit from stable routines and predictability. THRIVE helps you establish a consistent daily schedule, helping your child feel secure, reducing anxiety and mitigating overwhelming situations. 

  • Effective Communication: Adapt your communication style to your child's needs. THRIVE uses clear and concise language and visual aids and considers their preferences for communication.

  • Build a Support Team: Collaborate with professionals, such as pediatricians, psychologists, and educators, to create a comprehensive support plan for your child. THRIVE allows you to connect with professionals and caregivers in one convenient place. 

  • Encourage Special Interests: Some neurodivergent individuals often have intense interests in specific topics. Using the THRIVE messaging feature allows teachers, therapists, or other caregivers to give you the insight needed to support their interests. It provides you with a unique look into your child's day. These outside caregivers can share information you can bring up with your child to bring you closer to their world.

  • Promote Independence: Foster independence by gradually introducing new skills and responsibilities.THRIVE supports your child in developing life skills that builds confidence, which leads to independence, which will contribute to their overall well-being.

  • Social Skills Development: Work on social skills through play, modeling, and social stories. THRIVE can help encourage peer interaction by building the confidence and independence needed to support socialization in a supportive environment.

  • Advocate for Your Child: Advocate for your child's needs in educational and social settings. THRIVE helps you work closely with teachers and support staff to create an inclusive environment that accommodates your child's strengths and challenges.



A child using the THRIVE visual planning app to remember homework


Outside of the app, here are other things to consider when your child is diagnosed.


  • Sensory Considerations: Many neurodivergent children have sensory sensitivities. Be aware of their sensory preferences and aversions, and create an environment that accommodates their sensory needs.

  • Be Patient and Flexible: Understand that each child with neurodivergence is unique. Be patient, flexible, and open to adapting your approach based on your child's changing needs.

  • Self-Care for Parents: Caring for a neurodivergent child can be demanding. Take breaks, seek support from friends and family, and prioritize self-care to maintain your well-being.

  • Educate Yourself: Learn about your child’s condition, including its characteristics, challenges, and strengths. Understanding your child's specific needs will enable you to provide better support.


Remember that, like every child, every neurodivergent child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Familiarize yourself with your child's cues, preferences, and needs, monitor them for changes, and be open to adjusting your approach as necessary. Seeking guidance from professionals, support groups, and neurodivergent organizations can also provide valuable insights and resources. 

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