WHAT IS NEURODIVERSITY?
My specialty is counseling and coaching for neurodiverse couples and individuals.
Neurodiverse individuals are individuals who are 'wired differently'; they process information and social language differently. They may have diagnosed or undiagnosed traits of Aspergers Syndrome (AS), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Social Communication Disorder (SCD), or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These traits if not recognized and addressed, often lead to challenges and breakdowns in a relationship.
Working with neurodiversity is a relatively new and very specific field of counseling; there is a limited understanding of the field among doctors and mental health professionals. It is extremely common for neurodiverse couples to find that traditional therapy has not been effective. This is often because the neurodiversity had not been recognized.
These couples often "just can't put their finger on whats wrong" but they know that something is. Recognizing neurodiversity and its effects on a relationship usually results in a sense of great relief and empowerment for both partners in the relationship.
I've included some resources to help you understand neurodiversity better.
SIGNS OF OF A NEURODIVERSE RELATIONSHIP
Below is a list of signs that are common in neurodiverse relationships. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you find yourself relating to some of these, and/or if these are causing challenges in your relationship, you may be in a neurodiverse relationship. Please get in touch and we can figure out if I can help.
IF YOU FEEL THAT YOUR PARTNER:
blurts out things (including personal details) that are not appropriate to situation, person or time
expresses strong opinions loudly
is rude or dismissive of your feelings during a conversation
does not engage in small talk
uses communication to convey information, but not to create a connection
is hyperfocused on activities of his/her interest
sometimes appears abrupt and cold
is overly logical when dealing with a crisis or a problem
remembers numbers/dates but still seems forgetful with things around the house
has difficulty expressing emotions verbally and through changes in facial expression
responds to your emotions by problem-solving rather than listening and empathizing
is more emotive in written rather than spoken communication
has trouble organizing and prioritizing tasks, leading to challenges in parenting
gets stuck in the details and can't see the whole picture
needs a lot of alone time
has a hard time letting go of arguments until proven "right"
is paranoid about certain things
does not like changes in routine
feels like most social routines are a "waste of time"
IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU:
get easily distracted
get easily anxious or "worked up"
have trouble remembering faces
prefer not looking directly at the person while speaking
have trouble winding down to sleep
don't like loud unfamiliar places with bright lights
get exhausted at the end of a social situation
feel physically exhausted at the end of an emotional argument
are unable to "put yourself in someone elses shoes"
have trouble understanding metaphors, jokes or sarcasm
have a misunderstood sense of humor
have been an average to above average student
have had trouble with handwriting, tying laces, or following instructions in school as a child
don't know how to deal with criticism or how to accept or give a compliment
can not tell white lies
are unclear about group dynamics, i.e. when to start talking, interrupt and when to stop
often act first and regret it later
don't like apologizing or admitting that you are wrong
use instructional speech with your partner i.e. frequently telling them what to do and how to do it
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I THINK MY PARTNER IS NEURODIVERSE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you believe that you and/or your partner may be neurodiverse, and you are facing challenges in your relationship, reach out to me to schedule a brief consultation to assess whether I can help. I have also listed some resources to help you understand neurodiversity and relationships better.
CAN A SOCIAL, SEEMINGLY WELL ADJUSTED PERSON BE NEURODIVERSE?
Yes, absolutely. Many neurodiverse individuals are highly successful leaders in their fields. They may be very social with friends. However, breakdowns or communication challenges may occur with a spouse or their team (in professional settings)
WHY IS TRADITIONAL THERAPY LESS EFFECTIVE WITH NEURODIVERSE INDIVIDUALS?
Neurodiverse individuals are "wired differently." They process information differently. If that is not recognized then therapy becomes a blame game and it tends to go in circles without a clear path for improvement.
MY CHILD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM AND/OR SOCIAL COMMUNICATION DISORDER. I USED TO BE LIKE HIM/HER AND TURNED OUT OK. AM I NEURODIVERSE?
You very well may be! Neurodiversity does have a genetic link and tends to run in families. Many adults recognize their own traits after seeing them in their children, even though the manifestation and severity of the traits vary.
If your questions haven't been answered, please feel free to contact me directly.