Autism Spectrum and Social Communication Disorders

What is Aspergers/Autism?

The most prevalent feature of autism is difficulty with social/ interpersonal communication. There is a tendency to live in one’s head as opposed to attending to the social environment. The brain processes that allow us to pick up and interpret social cues is under-functioning. Each individual on the spectrum is different. Diversity amongst individuals on the spectrum is similar to diversity in the general population. Some individuals are more able than others to function in the world.

Why is it important to treat my anxiety if I have Aspergers/Autism?

Anxiety can have devastating affects on a person’s life. It limits what you are willing to do. Some people never learn to drive because they are scared. They must then rely on others for their independence. Anxiety can distort reality and even make you think people are talking about you behind your back. Psychotherapy and medication can make a sizeable impact on reducing anxiety improving your quality of life.

Why does my partner say I have Aspergers/Autism?

Whether you do or don’t have aspergers you might have some of the characteristics that are affecting your partner. It may be difficult and frustrating to “connect” emotionally with you. Your partner may feel as if she/he is invisible because you do not relate on a feeling level. If you have trouble talking about your feelings or think that you don’t have feelings it will be very difficult for your partner to feel loved by you.

Where do I go if I’m an adult and I want to be tested for Autism?

Sometimes it is hard to find a clinician who diagnoses adults. You will probably need to make a lot of inquiries before you find someone qualified to diagnose an adult (persons over 18 years old). The standard test for autism is called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.

How can I help my family member or friend who is struggling with Aspergers/Autism?

Acceptance of someone who is on the spectrum is critical for his/her wellbeing. Some individuals are extremely sensitive and may refuse help or feel criticized by you. You must first seek to understand them by finding out how they think about things in their life and what they want in life. Each person on the spectrum is unique. For example, there are those who need help creating a social life or deciding on a career. You can be a leader in their life by introducing them to new experiences to expand their world. They may need coaching in social communication and conversation skills. Talk to a professional to find out what’s available in your community.

What do I do if I think my spouse has Aspergers/Autism?

If you think your spouse would be receptive to getting this type of information from you, share your thoughts. If not, you may want to share the information with the help of a trusted person or therapist. Partners need lots of support to live a happy life with someone on the spectrum. Don’t try to do it by yourself. There are books to help guide you, but talking to other partners is the best way to get the understanding and help you need.

Why is it so hard for me to find a girlfriend/boyfriend?

Finding someone who you are compatible can take a lot of effort. It means you have to meet a lot of people before you find someone. Where to meet the right type of people often requires research, coaching and experimenting by trying different groups, venues, ect. Once you start a relationship the effort shifts to maintaining it. Good social communication skills are important to nurture a healthy relationship.

Why do individuals with aspergers/autism get so angry?

Acceptance of someone does not include tolerating bad behavior. There are no excuses for mistreating someone. Individuals on the spectrum experience life stresses more intensely than others. They can get extremely angry. Usually, frustration with not being understood or understanding the social world can build up inside of them until they “explode”. Self-monitoring anger levels and learning to ask for help are critical skills to learn and practice.

What stresses individuals with aspergers/autism the most?

Dealing with angry people is one of the most difficult situations. Individuals can shut-down or blow-up and say extremely mean things. Too much information can overwhelm and confuse people. Interrupting people can cause confusion because it requires shifting attention from what they are doing to attending to the interruption.

How can life coaching help me if I have aspergers/autism or social communication issues?

Coaching is like having a personal trainer who helps you create the life you want. A coach helps you interpret social cues and context. If you don’t understand something or have trouble figuring out how to respond in a situation you can call meet with or call your coach. Some coaches offer “coaching in the moment” and you can call or text them anytime. Coaching makes it much easier and faster to learn what to do or say. The coach keeps you motivated so you do not get discouraged.

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?

Coaching is not therapy. Coaching works best with individuals who realize life could be better and are open to change. Coaching and therapy are both potentially powerful methods that can make a significant positive impact on your life. One of the most important roles of a coach is to help you separate reality (what’s happening) from anxiety (feelings of discomfort, self-consciousness.

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