Counselling youth and adults with autism requires adaptations in practice. Goals are often on strategies for daily life, such as: managing school, work, friendships, family, sensory, emotional regulation, and all expectations in life. The focus in sessions is on finding out strengths, passions, and what works to stay okay, to feel happy and avoid too much anxiety and overload. There might be specific other reasons for counselling, and this will be worked on too. A large group of my clients are teens and young adults, often late diagnosed with autism, or initially misdiagnosed, and supports offered have maybe not been helpful or suitable.
It is well-researched that youth with autism are not helped by individual sessions alone. Practicing skills in daily life is essential and parents/carers need to be actively involved in the process. I plan regular parent meetings to support parents and to work on strategies.
Understanding autism, and how someone experiences the world, is important. It is essential that not only the client but also family members, friends, partners, and teachers understand autism, how it affects a person, and how to best support them. We can bring relevant people into sessions and organise meetings at school or in the workplace to support the client and/or parents around specific needs and strategies.
It is also fair to say that parenting a child with autism can be challenging at times, since so many of the regular parenting styles do not really work for autism. Looking at specific strategies, unique for your child and family, is important. I can also meet with siblings, to explain autism on their level, and to allow them to share how this affects them. Sometimes family meetings with extended family are very helpful to create more understanding and support.
See my resources page, which includes books, tools, and other websites. You'll also find a Social Story about visiting me.
My previous work at Children’s Autism Foundation, as well as the training, workshops, and Masters in Autism Studies has provided me with a solid understanding of autism. But most importantly, I learn from my clients and their families every day.
I also provide training, workshops, and professional development on Autism-related topics.