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Natasha Nelson Is a Woman on a Mission With SuperNova Momma

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On the black marble counter, all the ingredients for making banana bread were spread. On top of the microwave, two brown eggs sat side by side in a clear round bowl. Right in front, a container of Good Karma’s plant-based sour cream, a red measuring cup and a peeled banana decorated the container. To the left of the microwave, a mixer was stopped mid-use, batter coating the whisk. 

Natasha Nelson stood next to her eldest daughter, Paris, both dressed in matching light green aprons, as they filmed a cooking video. While they made banana bread, the child became upset and started to cry for a banana to eat. To get her daughter to calm down, Natasha kept her composure and started to calmly talk to her child to get her to stop crying. As she reassured her with words, hugs and a counting technique, Paris quickly calmed down and the two continued to spend their day together cooking. 

This is the video that was seen over a million times and inspired Natasha to become a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator.

Throughout her life, Natasha Nelson has worn many hats.Veteran. Military spouse. Mother. Advisor. Businesswoman. Parenting Coach.

For seven years, Nelson served in the military on two tours of Afghanistan. When she got her first set of soldiers a year after joining, Nelson avoided using a technique most drill sergeants used called “smoking,” a way of punishing disrespectful soldiers by making them do exercises until they tired out. 

“I just thought that was so stupid,” she said with a laugh. “I got smoked and it made me very strong, but I didn’t learn anything from it.”

Instead, she decided to talk to the soldiers and find out why they’re not following orders, focusing on solutions and taking care of whatever it is they needed. Her success led to her eventual promotion from E4 to E6 as a staff sergeant. 

When she decided she wanted to have kids, Nelson left the military. Pregnant with her eldest daughter and looking to find advice, Nelson found that there really weren’t that many mothers she could look to as an example when it came to using traditional methods such as attachment parenting. 

Intent on helping young Black mothers like her who are new to the experience, she started a blog. As she detailed her motherhood journey, Nelson shared everything, including Paris’ diagnosis as autistic at the age of two. Along with her other daughter, Riley, Nelson noticed that she showed signs of autism as well. When she would tell people about how she noticed these signs of autism in herself, she found that people weren’t very accepting, often dismissing her with “don’t claim yourself.”

“I thought it was ignorant and uneducated,” said Nelson. “Why wouldn’t I claim it? Something that made sense to me and gave me answers was so invigorating.”

Inspired by these experiences and the viral video, Nelson’s blog Supernova Momma, transformed into a business that gives positive parenting advice to families with Neurodivergent children. Although it’s open to any family, Supernova Momma has a focus on Black Neurodivergent children as their journey to being diagnosed isn’t as easy as white Neurodivergent children.

According to a report done by the director of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at Washington University, John N. Constantino, M.D., Black Neurodivergent children have to wait years to be diagnosed. Looking at the data of 584 Black children at the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, these children were diagnosed with autism an average of 65 months after their parents first sent them in to be diagnosed. 

“When a white Neurodivergent child is acting in ways that are deemed as misbehavior, there is a lot more done to find out why,” said Nelson. “When a Black child is doing a behavior that is termed as a misbehavior, there are a lot of immediate discipline measures and instead of finding out why. A lot of the time what we see is that they become behavior problems and that’s the difference in how they’re treated.”

Operating off her own N-E-E-D system (Network, Empathize, Educate and Demonstrate), Nelson helps parents learn after a diagnosis by offering positive discipline workshops and one-on-one consultations. In these consultations, Nelson works with the parents one-on-one to make them aware of what Neurodiversity can look like and how to support their children. The parents then work alongside her to figure out solutions to any problems in their households.

Inspired by her love of hip hop and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Cool,” Nelson also offers a set of printable posters meant for teaching autistic children how to identify and deal with their emotions. Known as “The Cool Common Corner,” it features Black children, children wearing hijabs, children with hearing aids and children from different cultures. 

“When you don’t see yourself, you don’t think you are important,” said Nelson. “You will always continue to hold in higher regard what you see. Children should be able to see themselves in the books, positive resources and poster sets that you use around them.”

As Nelson sat and talked about her work, the excitement in her eyes never left. At times, she leaned forward in her chair and used the educator voice she must use in the consultations to emphasize a message. When she mentioned her children and her journey with them, fondness overtook her face as her smile spread. Anyone that speaks to Nelson can see her love for her work helping families with Neurodivergent children and her family. 

With the end of the call, she left off with parting words for Neurodivergent children that can ring true for anyone.

“Don’t be afraid of being different,” Nelson said with a smile. 

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