Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects socialization, communication, executive function, and how the brain processes sensory information. ASD encompasses a broad array of symptoms and levels of impairment.
In some, ASD presents as an “invisible” disability in which people may appear neurotypical to outside observers, sometimes resulting in missed diagnoses or unmet support needs. In others, ASD can cause significant social and functional impairments that require intensive, lifelong support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 1 in 59 people in the United States have ASD, with the condition being diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls. ASD is generally diagnosed with delays or atypical functioning in at least one of the following areas: social interaction, language as used in social communication, or symbolic and imaginative play.
People with autism often have difficulties with social interactions. Approximately 40 percent do not communicate with words. Some may have obsessive routines or maybe preoccupied with a particular item or subject. Behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to the neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or "bad" behaviors.
Counseling Neurodiverse Couples
Neurodiverse couples work is similar to any couples therapy, as it involves a therapist and two identified clients who are in some sort of relationship with one another. A neurodiverse coupleship is comprised of one neurotypical partner and one partner who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Neurodiverse couples work focuses on the unique challenges that neurodiverse couples face, as they seek to gain better understanding of their relationship, preferences and one another.
Like any couples therapy, the goal of neurodiverse couples work may vary based on the desires of the individuals and couples. If your goal is to grow together, couples work may assist you in finding meaning and connection in the little things you share and help you find ways to thrive in a state of connected coupleship long after therapy concludes. Other couples discover their goals may be to move apart and grow individually. In this case, couples work may assist you in making transitions, adapting to your new form of a relationship, and provide you with psychoeducation surrounding grief and change.