Stories of Resilience: Listening to Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Conditions

Andrea Morrison

Purpose: Youth with neurodevelopmental conditions face additional barriers to their peers in developing independence, participating in community life and transitioning to adulthood. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore adolescents’ perceptions and experiences of resilience.

Methods: Eight adolescent clients of an urban children’s treatment center were interviewed in-depth. Data was transcribed and analyzed using a phenomenological approach to identify themes.

Findings: New perspectives emerged on what matters most to youth with neurodevelopmental conditions as they transition to adulthood. Identified themes were: 1) Maintaining Positive Mindsets, 2) Connecting with Others, and 3) Developing Independence and Interdependence. Adolescents emphasized the value of volunteering, parental support and collaborating with their support team.

Conclusions: Adolescents’ stories of resilience can give health care professionals insight regarding the factors and opportunities which should be considered when developing programs to promote resilience. Research on the role of parents in fostering children’s resilience and interdependence is needed.