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Alli Frazier and Joe from Good Company stand in front of a table decorate for New Years Eve

Ask Alli: Helping Neurodivergent Family with Micro-Resolutions

January 19, 2023, WKYC Good Company

CLEVELAND, Oh. (WKYC)- It’s the beginning of the new year and along with the new year comes resolutions. Keeping those resolutions can be difficult, but Frazier Behavioral Health’s CEO, Alli Frazier, met with Joe from Good Company to help everyone be a little better about keeping their resolutions. 

Being an autism mom herself, Alli knows firsthand how difficult it is to set goals and stick to them with kids who are neurodiverse. But what is neurodiversity? Neurodiversity refers to brains that work a little differently than neurotypical brains. That can include things like autism, ADHD, or other learning challenges. So how do we set goals for people who are neurodiverse and might not be able to stick to them as easily as people who are neurotypical? Alli suggests starting with micro resolutions.

Microresolutions are simply smaller, easier to maintain resolutions. For instance instead of saying, “I am going to eat only healthy foods today”, try starting with “I want to add one healthy food into my diet each day”. This makes the resolution more achievable by breaking it down into smaller achievements. Alli also suggests instead of one big yearly resolution to break up the goals into smaller monthly resolutions instead. 

Starting in the winter months can also be challenging since a lot of times we are stuck inside with limited activities to do. “It’s very important to stay active for everyone,” Alli states, “but even more so for a neurodiverse person.” She goes on to state that research shows that just a brisk 30-minute exercise once a day can have a lot of benefits. Some of those benefits are reduced anxiety, improved attention span, and a lot of pro-social behaviors. 

Another resolution for the new year that parents could implement could be creating a sensory calm-down space in their own homes. It doesn’t have to be a major renovation to your home or be expensive. You can add sensory accommodations to their bedroom or it could be a small nook in the home. Some people have even taken the closet doors off to help create more space. The main goal of the sensory space is to enhance the sensory experiences. It could include aromatherapy for smell, music, noise-canceling headphones, comfy blankets, and much more. Anywhere where the person can go and decompress in their own little space.

To measure the success of these resolutions Alli suggests looking at the quality of life and how the family is functioning as a whole. Is the individual engaging in more family interactions even if they have to go to their safe space for a little bit? Can they rejoin now that they have decompressed? Always remember to celebrate the small successes! It can make a huge difference. 

To request a consult or connect with the experts at FBH, give them a call at 216-446-2944.

You’ll find them at 5885 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 310, Mayfield Heights, Ohio. 

To watch the full segment on WKYC’s website please click here.