A neurodivergent-affirming approach to matrescence: Empowerment through person-centred and strengths-based occupational therapy practices

Bex Twinley, Danielle Hitch, Ellen Wainberg, Rachel McFedries, Hannah Slootjes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Neurodivergent mothers face barriers to, and challenges with, many mothering occupations. These issues often differ to those experienced by neurotypical peers, and include lack of recognition, inaccessibility to tailored support services, extreme exhaustion, isolation, and social support gaps, and sensory struggles during, for instance, breastfeeding. Neurodivergent mothers are often mothering neurodivergent children, given the strong genetic influence for many of these neurotypes. Many neurodivergent mothers demonstrate significant determination and resilience to overcome challenges and perform mothering occupations in unique ways, which require awareness, respect, affirming approaches, and cultural humility perspectives from health professionals.

This chapter explores how occupational therapists work with girls and women’s unique experiences owing to neurodivergence and sensory processing differences. Having heightened empathy, creative problem-solving, distinct communication styles, and sensitivities impact functional and wellbeing capacities, many of which can be reframed and shaped into strengths to enable occupational enablement and empowerment. Empowering strategies encompass prioritising self-care, forming supportive networks, using technology and tools, advocating for children's needs, and embracing unique parenting approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnhancing Women’s Wellbeing During Matrescence and Perinatal Transitions
Subtitle of host publicationAn Evidence-based Guide for Occupational Therapists
PublisherRoutledge; Taylor & Francis
Chapter21
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 May 2024

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