On the Spectrum- What Does it Mean to be Autistic?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a person’s perceptions of and interactions with their world. Since autism exists on a spectrum, there is a wide range of functionality for this population. It’s typically diagnosed in young children, around the age of three, however those with high functioning Autism are sometimes diagnosed as adults
Unique Strengths and Challenges
While each autistic person is a unique individual with their own set of characteristics, there is a cluster of traits that many on the autistic spectrum can relate to. Austistic people may have a difficult time socializing, experience sensitivity to touch, light or sound, get fixated on certain activities or have a really hard time when their routines are changed.
Strengths of Autism
At TheraThrive, we support, accept and understand neurodiversity. We will help you to increase self-acceptance and self-understanding (or understanding of your child). We will also assist you to discover your strengths, and to learn ways to effectively manage the challenges associated with being on the Autistic spectrum.
Common Characteristics of Autism
- Infrequently making eye contact
- Repetitive patterns of behaviors, such as lining up objects, echolalia, excessive repetition of certain phrases
- Restricted and fixated interests
- Self-injurious behaviors
- Inflexibility and persistence on sameness (deep perseveration)
- Tantrums, or excessive behavioral outbursts, including but not limited to physical and verbal aggression
- Discomfort in social situations
- Difficulty identifying emotions
- Hyper or hypo activity to sensory input
We are experienced at assessing for Autism in people of all ages, as well as assessing for a misdiagnosis (mistaken diagnosis) of Autism, especially in those older than age 3.
We have heard from families and individuals that they feel immensely relieved after learning about a misdiagnosis, because then the real problem that had been erroneously mislabeled can be addressed.
Similarly, people report feeling relieved after learning about an Autism diagnosis, especially if it had formerly been missed, because it makes sense of their particular challenges, explains traits, and provides a chance for community building.
We Can Help
Our knowledge and understanding about high sensitivity and gifted traits help us connect with those diagnosed with Autism. We have insight into the intensity and sensitivity often found in neuroatypical populations, and we understand how Autism works. We want to help you to gain understanding and acceptance, while learning skills of emotional regulation to feel better, get along better, and to reduce maladaptive behaviors. We also believe in the need for connection, and will support you to develop positive and effective communication and social skills.
With Autism, we help you to understand your emotions, and identify and manage feelings. We also support you to gain appropriate coping skills in order to best avoid emotional escalation.
We have found it beneficial to establish clear goals and to personalize each treatment plan, such that your specific and unique needs and challenges will be addressed. We will also support you in co-occurring concerns, such as depression, anxiety, or an overall sense of feeling misunderstood.
We come from a place of warmth and understanding, and we will work along side you, to support and guide you as you navigate the social world, working to build up your social support and coming to realize your contribution and value in social connection.
We Support Families
We also work with family members of those diagnosed with Autism, to help you successfully manage the myriad of challenges that can come with supporting your ASD-diagnosed family member.
- We can help you understand the neuroatypical differences
- Introduce you to communication tools
- Provide you with guidance when living with a person of neurodiversity
We work with parents, siblings, or other relatives, and with each specific relationship, individually and/or in family therapy. We understand the intensity in your household, and can empathize with feelings that come up as a result of your family member’s challenges, such as sadness, frustration, loss or intense worry. These are normal feelings that commonly come up when you love a neuroatypical individual.
We Work Collaboratively
We collaborate with other professionals, so that your work is truly well-supported. If you are diagnosed with Autism, we will provide you a multitude of referrals for additional support, such as early intervention programs, social skills groups, occupational therapy, and so forth. We value your growth, and want the best for you, and we gladly collaborate with other professionals in order to best support you on your journey.