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    OCD & AUTISM Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back OCD & AUTISM OCD, AUTISM, & ADHD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often intersects with neurodivergent conditions such as Autism and ADHD, creating a complex web of intertwined experiences. Recognizing and understanding these intersections is crucial for providing tailored support that meets your needs. Research indicates that a significant number of Autistic individuals, up to 37%, also grapple with OCD . The manifestation of OCD in Autistic individuals varies widely, necessitating a nuanced approach to diagnosis and treatment. The intersection of OCD and Autism presents challenges affecting daily life, impacting sensory experiences,… Show More Take an Autism Test OCD & ADHD: The co-occurrence of OCD and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not uncommon, with research suggesting prevalence rates from 8% to 30% . Shared genetic and neurobiological factors , coupled with challenges in executive functioning, contribute to the complex interaction between OCD and ADHD. Navigating life with both conditions presents a… Show More Take an ADHD Test BONUS QUESTION: IS OCD CONSIDERED NEURODIVERGENCE? ​ Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often considered a form of neurodivergence, falling within the umbrella of conditions that deviate from the perceived norm in terms of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Alongside conditions such as Autism, ADHD, and Dyslexia, OCD represents a unique facet… Show More Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send NEXT STEPS ​ Our first step in helping you is to clearly understanding what is driving your behavior. We will take an individualized approach to understand whether OCD, autism or ADHD (or a combination) are at play, and then work with you to develop a treatment plan. To take the… Show More


    SCREENING TESTS & ASSESSMENTS Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back Are you autistic or ADHD? Try one or more of the screening tests for adults from our Adult Autism Assessments (AAA) site: Autism: Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test ​ Ritvo Autism & Asperger Diagnostic Scale (RAADS -14) ​ Modified Girls Questionnaire for Autism Spectrum Condition (GQ-ASC) - Scale for Adult Women ​ Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire (CAT-Q) ​ ADHD: Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRSv1.1) Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) ​ Structured Adult ADHD Self-Test (SAAST) ​ Copeland Symptom List for Adult ADD ASD & ADHD ASSESSMENT & DIAGNOSIS After taking a screener,… Show More Take an Autism Test Take an ADHD Test Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send


    ADHD COUPLES THERAPY Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back THE IMPACT OF ADHD ON MARRIAGE & RELATIONSHIPS DO YOU AND/OR YOUR PARTNER EXPERIENCE SYMPTOMS RELATED TO ADHD? If so, you can expect very predictable (and painful) patterns to emerge in your relationship. If the underlying issues are not addressed, it is likely that both of you will end up angry, dissatisfied, lonely, frustrated, and exhausted. These feelings typically arise from a pattern of mismatched or unrealistic expectations, lack of follow-through, nagging, constant conflict, and occasionally loud blow-out fights. If this dynamic continues long enough, one… Show More Take an Autism Test IS YOUR MARRIAGE IN AN ADHD TRAP? If you are curious to see if your relationship fits the typical ADHD neurodiverse pattern, consider how many of the following ADHD symptoms exist in your relationship: ​ Constant arguing, seemingly over inconsequential topics One partner in the “parent“ role and the other… Show More Take an ADHD Test A KINDER APPROACH - SHOW UP, THEN DECIDE Our clinicians are inspired by the ideas of Dr. Kourosh Dini, a renowned psychiatrist and expert in addressing the challenges faced by those with "wandering minds." Dr. Dini advocates for a thoughtful alternative to the conventional ADHD management strategies that often rely… Show More Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send BOTH PARTNERS STRUGGLE As we work with ADHD-diverse couples, we find that both partners struggle but in very different ways. ADHD PARTNER'S STRUGGLE For the ADHD partner, daily life can feel overwhelming . These feelings start off hidden but quickly emerge under stress. Unfortunately, they emerge as yelling at the family… Show More BUT THERE IS HOPE!!! ​ The path to healing needs to be customized for each couple; however, one of the fundamental interventions is to separate the symptoms of the ADHD from the message the partners are taking from it. I n other words, the struggle to follow through with a task… Show More

  • Lauren Florio

    < Back Lauren Florio Helping Someone like Myself When I think about the kind of work I want to do as a therapist, I think about my younger self and how much easier my life would have been if I knew then what I know now about my neurodivergence. If you’re at a stage in your life where you’re trying to navigate your differences in an allistic world, you’ve come to the right place. As someone with AuDHD (Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) , I felt like there was something wrong with me for most of my life. Now I’ve learned to appreciate, cope with, and embrace my differences. And now I want to help you do the same. ​ My Story ​ I grew up in Northern California, under the poverty line. In a family struggling with finances, doctor visits were scarce, and psychiatry visits were nearly out of the question. ADHD AND ME Though I was able to get my ADHD diagnosis relatively young, not much changed for me and the crippling differences I felt from the rest of society. With ADHD medication not being a good fit for me, it seemed this diagnosis was a dead end at the time. I wish I had known more back then and would have kept exploring my neurodivergence as it would have likely led me to my autism diagnosis much sooner. FIGHTING BACK Instead, I spent the majority of my life trying to push through a world that felt like it was fighting back at me. Much of my life was spent disassociating or with severe panic attacks from under or over-stimulation. As an adult, I finally began seeking mental health help after a lifelong battle with depression. Though I saw some benefits from my depression and anxiety treatments, it felt like a band-aid on the real issue. I spent years in therapy with dozens of different therapists. MY AUTISM DIAGNOSIS It wasn’t until I was told to explore an autism diagnosis that things changed for me. During this time, I was also in school. I received my Bachelor's Degree at Chico State University before moving down to Southern California to complete my Master's of Arts in Counseling Psychology in San Diego. During this time, I was learning more about psychology and my passion continued to grow for the human mind, specifically neurodivergence. Finally, receiving my autism diagnosis was like a breath of fresh air. MASK COMES OFF Since coming to terms with my autism, I have learned to unmask, reconnect with my inner child, and develop unique coping skills beyond breathing and meditation, skills that actually work for me. Through this journey, I have become a better partner, friend, daughter, and sister. For the first time in my life, I am able to meet myself with kindness. My journey here was tumultuous, but I hope because of my journey, I can help you learn about your neurodivergence and guide you to becoming a better version of yourself along the way, too. ​ NEURO-INCLUSIVE NOURISHMENT ​ Binge, Restrict, & Purge Cycles In elementary school, I put myself on my first diet. Mimicking what I saw around me, I grew up in a house where there was constant dieting which affected me heavily. I was aware of my body, weight, and every aspect of my beauty as a result. My relationship with eating disorders changed in many ugly ways from middle school through my undergrad program. With hard work and lots of help, I was able to overcome my many battles surrounding binge, restrict, and purge cycles. I want to use my both personal and professional experience to help you heal your relationship with food and create a more positive body image. ARFID Data shows there is an overlap of neurodivergence and ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). Many people believe that ARFID is a disorder that only affects children, but this is simply not true. As an Autistic woman with ARFID, I am very aware of how sensory issues can negatively affect your ability to eat regularly and get adequate nutrition. Overcoming sensory issues is hard, but you only get one body. Maintaining regular caloric intake with diverse nutrition is vital in keeping our body healthy. Let's work together to overcome this and keep our bodies healthy and happy. ​ To read more about Neuro-inclusive Nourishment, click here. Certifications & Education Board registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #139592 (supervised by Dr. Harry Motro, clinical director). Master’s of Arts in Counseling Psychology from National University in San Diego. Neurodiverse Specialist Co-Founder of She Rocks the Spectrum Neuro-inclusive Nourishment Specialist ​ DBT/CBT/EMDR The therapeutic modalities I am trained in and use are: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma processing. ​ Group Facilitator I run our She Rocks Friendship Group . Read more here. When I am not working with my clients here at She Rocks the Spectrum, I host small groups which are designed for those with social anxiety, neurodivergence, and members of the LGBTQ+. ​ COMMON GROUND I am a trained CommonGround Specialist. CommonGround is a program created by Pat Deegan, which was developed to help promote advocacy and independence for those with mental health issues.Clients Neurodiverse women Autistic, ADHD, Highly Sensitive Neurodiverse clients with eating struggles Modalities Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma processing CBT/DBT License Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, #139592 (supervised by Dr. Harry Motro , clinical director) Specialty areas: Trans, LGBTQIA+, ADHD, Autism, Sex-Kink-Poly, Eating & Autism, Parenting Neurodiversity, Children, Teens, Assessment, DBT, ND at Work, Neurodiverse Couples Reach Out Now First name Last name Email If you have a therapist(s) in mind, include the name(s) below: Send Thanks for reaching out! We will respond within 24 hours. Take an Autism Test

  • RESOURCES | Neurodiverse Couples Counseling

    HELPFUL RESOURCES INFORMATION OVERLOAD It is easy to fall into the deep hole of the internet to research neurodiversity and never come out. THERAPIST AS GUIDE One way to become informed is to soak in some information, process it with your therapist, and then see what makes sense to you. ​ COUPLES CONTENT LIBRARY Once you become a client, your therapist or coach will give you access to our password protected Couples Content Library with has additional exercises and information. ​ For now, here are a few touchstones of organized content. Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center Adult Autism Assessment Center She Rocks the Spectrum Therapy 4 Autistic Men Parenting Autism Therapy Center Believing Cassandra (for Neurotypical Partner) Neurodiverse Couples Retreat Books to INSPIRE you These books contain deep insights about being different. They will make you laugh, cry and learn. Enjoy: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ​ Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend: A Novel Paperback by Matthew Dicks ​ The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch ​ The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius by Gail Saltz ​ Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison ​ We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation by Eric Garcia ​ Books to INFORM you. ​ These books are about making a neurodiverse relationship work. They can be hopeful and discouraging. Reading the books will help a little but most couples need to have an experienced professional walk you through the healing and growth process. Aspergers in Love, Maxine Aston ​ Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger's Syndrome, Eva A. Mendes Going Over the Edge? Practical Steps to Savings You and Your Relationship, Kathy J. Marshack ​ Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships, Ashley Stanford ​ Alone Together, Katrin Bentley ​ Connecting With Your Asperger Partner: Negotiating the Maze of Intimacy, Louise Weston ​ Loving Someone with Asperger's Syndrome: Understanding and Connecting with your Partner, Cindy Ariel PhD ​ 22 Things a Woman Must Know: If She Loves a Man With Asperger's Syndrome, Rudy Simone ​ The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Tony Attwood ​ Neurodiversity Network ​ Neurodiversity Hub ​ Different Brains ​ Vanderbilt University ​ Exceptional Individuals ​ Neurodiversity at Work ​ Autism Spectrum News ​ Neurodiverse Love Podcast ​ Different Together ​ Tony Attwood's home page ​ AANE (Asperger’s Association of New England) ​ Autism Women’s Network, Inc Here are some helpful blogosts, podcasts and articles: ​ GENERAL ​ Neurodiverse Love - Support Groups and Podcast ​ How an Evaluation for Autism Can Reduce Anxiety in Your Relationship ​ The Top 5 Things People in Neurodiverse Couples Should Know ​ Embracing neurodiversity in relationships ​ Are You in a Neurodivergent Marriage? ​ Tips for Women in Relationships with Partners on the Autism Spectrum ​ Lessons from an Aspergers-NT Marriage ​ Neurodiverse PARTNER ​ An Aspie’s Perspective on Neurodiverse Marriage ​ What's so special about a Special Interest? ​ Rules to live by ​ Eye Contact: the Conversation within the Conversation ​ Asking for Help ​ Perfectionism ​ Catastrophizing Sucks! ​ Saying No ​ ​ ​ Neurotypical PARTNER ​ What I've learned in a Decade of Marriage ​ Neurodiverse Marriage: How to Love a Partner with Autism ​ Five Suggestions For Communicating With Your Asperger’s Partner ​ What to do when your partner has Asperger’s syndrome “We need to embrace those who are different and the bullies need to be the ones who get off the bus,.” ​ Caren Zucker, co-author of “In a Different Key”

  • AUTISTIC FEMALE | Neurodiverse Couples

    SUPPORT FOR AUTISTIC WOMEN If you are an adult woman who thinks you may be on the spectrum, we are so glad you are here. You have probably been overlooked and under-supported for years and maybe even decades. You may be struggling in your relationship but not know how to fix it. Sadly, feelings of being defective, lonely, confused and helpless may be all too common. Please don't despair. There is hope! On this web page, we will try to cover the basics of women on the spectrum but we invite you to connect with one of our neurodiversity specialists who would be honored to help you. OVERLOOKED IN CHILDHOOD As the field of neuroscience continues to develop, there is an ever-increasing consensus among researchers that autistic women are dramatically undercounted. Well-intentioned, parents, teachers, and counselors often miss the opportunity to identify women on the spectrum. There are two major reasons for this unfortunate situation: ​ Reason 1: Girls Masking in Childhood Even though girls may share many core traits of autism with boys, they often react externally to it in dramatically different ways. One difference in how boys and girls react is the degree to which they mask their autistic traits. Masking is when a person puts on a “mask” to look the way others expect rather than show up in the world in a way that is natural and genuine. You can think of masking as camouflage. In other words, wearing something on the surface so you will not be noticed, yet fearing that you will be discovered. As compared to boys, girls are more capable of “masking” their social deficits. One theory that explains this superior female masking capability is that girls on the spectrum have innate “social mimicry skills” which enable the girls to more easily "fake it". Unfortunately, the mimicry usually operates at a superficial level, causing the girls to still miss the deeper emotional understanding. Also, social masking is harder for girls to pull off than boys since neurotypical girls often have more nuanced social and emotional dynamics than boys. Furthermore, girls are often more motivated to mask than boys . There usually is less parental and peer pressure for boys than girls to make social connections so the boys put less effort into it. The expectation for social connection can be intense for girls so they may put all their energy into “fitting in”, even though doing so may feel completely unnatural and leave the girls exhausted. In summary, girls on the spectrum may look different than boys in the following ways: Higher levels of pretend play More mimicking of role models (without understanding the real social meaning) Suppressing natural tendencies (such as special interests) to fit in Acting quiet or shy at school (to fit in) but melting down at home (due to the emotional stress of masking during the day) Special interests for girls may be focused on imaginary animals (unicorns), real animals, crafts, environment, appearance and celebrities as opposed to computers, video games and transportation for boys (although these commonly crossover) Suffer from emotional bullying as opposed to boys who experience physical bullying (again, these cross over) Girls are more likely to internalize anxiety leading to depression while boys tend to behave more aggressively or have meltdowns For a more exhaustive list, see Tania Marshall’s blog. This masking behavior can come at great cost, creating a constant worry of “Am doing it right?” and “Will I be discovered to be a fraud?”; thus, leaving many autistic girls feeling highly anxious and emotionally exhausted. ​ Reason 2: Male-centric Clinical & Research Focus There is a second reason that girls/women are overlooked for ASD diagnosis. Since the early days of recognition of what was called Asperger’s (now ASD), the research was largely conducted by male researchers on male patients. The fundamental assumption was that autism was primarily a condition that belonged to males. Accordingly, the criteria for diagnosing autism and the methodologies for assessment became biased to identify male clients. This framework leaves many women outside of or on the borderline of the parameters for a clear ASD diagnosis so they end up without a diagnosis and little hope for a healing path forward. Even worse, they may be misdiagnosed as having ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As expected, a misdiagnosis may lead to suboptimal treatment and extreme frustration and disappointment. ​ DIFFERENCES CONTINUE TO ADULTHOOD ​ Of course, young girls grow into women and the unequal treatment continues into adulthood along with the emotional struggles. ​ Here are a few examples of how adult men and women present differently in adulthood: ​ Adult autistic females are more comfortable than their male counterparts when interacting on a one-on-one basis. The women may often report that they have a few friends but would typically meet with them individually, not in a group. Men on the spectrum often report no friends. Adult autistic females are more likely to find a romantic partner , often putting a lot of effort (masking) in order to overcome loneliness. Men on the spectrum typically have more difficulty navigating the rules of romance, although this may be offset by lower expectations of romance from men. Adult autistic females are more likely to have the primary responsibility for parenting than autistic males. In spite of the pleasures of being a parent, children have never-ending emotional needs which can be confusing and overwhelming to a woman on the spectrum. ​ REAL STRUGGLES ​ Given the forces that lead autistic girls and adult women to be overlooked and under-supported, many females believe that something is fundamentally wrong with them, thus feeling sad, lonely, and defective. These difficult emotions may lead to serious mental health conditions in women. In fact, studies show that women have more struggles than males on the spectrum including higher levels of anorexia, social anxiety, and self-harm. Still, men suffer as well, having a higher incidence of hyperactivity, conduct disorders, and stereotyped (repetitive) behaviors than autistic women. It is worth noting that these more typical male conditions are more visible and thus may contribute to the males being noticed, most often during childhood in the classroom, and thus receiving a diagnosis. HOW WE CAN HELP ​ Although our support is always uniquely crafted to your personal needs, the work often ends up with some combination of the following: ​ Understanding the strengths and challenges of your differences Consideration of a formal diagnosis Building a life centered on healing and self-acceptance (freedom from shame) Making peace with your past Finding and practicing of constructive patterns of communication Building a plan for reducing social anxiety Discovering emotions and how they can be helpful Managing sensory stimulation Understanding and building relationships Exploring sexuality in light of your differences Understanding the impact of your differences on professional, relational, and life goals Support for related issues such as depression, ADHD, overwork, anxiety, and addiction How to support other neurodiverse girls and women ​ There are many benefits of focused therapy for neurodiverse women but, perhaps the most important, is to provide a safe and non-judgmental place to discuss your experiences. We look forward to hearing from you. ​ Want to Know More? Read more ? ​ Consider: ​'I was exhausted trying to figure it out': The experiences of females receiving an autism diagnosis in middle to late adulthood" ​ ​ Read about the experiences of late-in-life women diagnosed late in life. ​ ​Finding the True Number of Females with Autistic Spectrum Disorder by Estimating the Biases in Initial Recognition and Clinical Diagnosis ​ ​ Could there be more females than males on the spectrum? ​ ​The Female Autism Phenotype and Camouflaging: a Narrative Review ​ ​ For a deep dive into the Female Autistic Phenotype, check out this article. ​ ​Physical health of Autistic Girls and Women: A Scoping Review ​ ​ The body keeps the score! ​Females with Autism: An Unofficial List ​ ​ Here's a concrete list of how autistic women go through life. ​ ​Neurodivergent Minds ​ ​ This book is based on a paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women.​ ​ BACK TO TOP SHE ROCKS THE SPECTRUM We have found that autistic teens and young women desperately need autistic-aware therapy. If this is you, please consider this unique resource, She Roc ks the Spectrum , a therapy center for autistic girls and young women . PERSONAL NOTE from Nicole Knowlton , Neurodiverse Specialist, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Neurodiverse Coach CHILDHOOD: Ever since childhood I knew I was different. I didn’t enjoy the same things as my female peers yet I yearned to be included. I had an older sister and looked to her to guide me. I mimicked her and my female peers. Yet, left to my own decision-making I would gladly go days without bathing, brushing my hair or changing out of my favorite comfy clothes. My very first word was ‘book’ and my ideal relaxation place has always been in a library reading and learning information about psychology, behavior and the law. ​ MASKING: To blend in with others, like many other Aspie women, I have masked. I became a fashionista and memorized Emily Post books. I obtained a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy & Conflict Resolution. I even attended law school. ​ I learned about how neurotypical people navigated life, relationships, and conflict. I’ve learned how to blend in and go undetected, much to my detriment. Since youth I’ve had bouts of suicidal ideation because I felt so disconnected and received many different mental health diagnoses that didn’t fit or help. ​ DISCOVERY: Not until my 40's did I learn I had Asperger’s. Female symptomology looks much different than it does in males. We tend to have a specific image of what being on the spectrum looks like and so many of us do not fit that image; yet, we do have ASD. Learning about my diagnosis has been life changing and I finally comfortably fit into my own skin . “Coming out” has answered so many questions and allowed me to live authentically. I’ve had friends reach out who have struggled similarly or saw signs in their daughters and we all deserve to feel comfortable and live authentically, embracing our differences. ​ INVITATION: Please allow me to help you. I promise I will be compassionate and understanding. You deserve to experience the same healing that I have had. I look forward to hearing from you. ​ To read more about Nicole, click here. ​ ​ If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not. Autism is part of what I am. Dr. Temple Grandin

  • AUTISM & CANCER | Neurodiverse Couples

    Autistic w/Cancer Allistic w/Cancer Help Genetics Supporting Autism & Cancer Cancer can be a tremendous challenge for anyone. ​ Yet, if you are autistic, you may face unique difficulties in dealing with the physical and emotional aspects of cancer. And, thus you deserve specialized support. Autistic with Cancer: Challen ges Here are some challenges that someone with autism who is also dealing with cancer might encounter: ​ Communication and Understanding: Difficulty in expressing and understanding emotions: People with autism often struggle with recognizing and expressing emotions. A cancer diagnosis can bring about a wide range of emotions, and individuals with autism may find it challenging to convey their feelings or understand the emotions of others, making it harder for them to express their needs and concerns. Communication barriers: Communication is crucial in cancer care. Individuals with autism may have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, making it challenging to convey symptoms and preferences to neurotypical people. Sensory Sensitivities: Increased sensitivity to stimuli: Many individuals with autism have sensory sensitivities, such as heightened sensitivity to light, sound, touch, or smell. Cancer treatments, hospital environments, and medical procedures can exacerbate these sensitivities, causing additional stress and discomfort. Routine Disruptions: Adherence to routines: Individuals with autism often rely on routines for comfort and predictability. Cancer treatments, doctor appointments, and hospital stays will disrupt these routines, leading to increased anxiety and stress. Social Challenges: Difficulty in social interactions: Cancer can lead to changes in social dynamics and relationships. Individuals with autism may already find social interactions challenging, and the added complexity of cancer-related social situations can create additional stress. Coping with changes in relationships: A cancer diagnosis can affect relationships with family, friends, and caregivers. Individuals with autism may find it difficult to navigate these changes and understand the impact of the illness on their social network. Cognitive Challenges: Individuals with autism may feel overwhelmed by this flood of information. On the other hand, the autistic person may process medical information much better than her or his allistic partner and then get frustrated with the partner's emotional and non-rational response. (See relationship bullet above). Self-Advocacy: Difficulty in self-advocacy: Advocating for one's needs is crucial during cancer treatment. Individuals with autism may be conflict avoidant and thus struggle to assert their preferences, communicate discomfort, or express their needs effectively. Or such individuals may self-advocate in a way that is perceived as overly aggressive, and thus receive a hostile unhelpful response. Emotional Regulation: Emotional regulation difficulties: Autism is often associated with challenges in regulating emotions. Coping with the emotional toll of a cancer diagnosis, as well as the physical and emotional stress of treatment, can be particularly taxing in some unique ways for someone with autism. Limited Support Networks: Limited support networks: Individuals with autism may have smaller or more specialized support networks. It's important to ensure that their unique social and emotional needs are addressed during the cancer journey. Allistic with Cancer: Challen ges Having cancer and being married to or partnered with someone with autism can present a unique set of challenges. Here are some of the potential difficulties: ​ Emotional Expression: The partner with cancer may need emotional support that the autistic partner may find challenging to provide in traditional ways. People with autism may find it challenging to understand and express emotions, making it difficult for them to navigate and respond to the emotional rollercoaster that often accompanies a partner's cancer diagnosis. Sensory Sensitivities: The medical environment, smells, noises, and changes in routine related to the partner's cancer treatment may be overwhelming for the autistic partner. Routine Disruptions: Cancer treatment often disrupts daily routines , and individuals with autism often rely on predictable routines for stability. Empathy Challenges: The partner with cancer may require heightened emotional support, and the autistic partner may find it challenging to provide this support in a way that is perceived as empathetic. Coping Mechanisms: Both partners may have unique coping mechanisms that differ significantly. The partner with cancer may seek emotional support, while the autistic partner may cope through routines or specific interests . Thus, understanding and accommodating each other's coping strategies can be a complex process. Social Isolation: Autism can sometimes lead to social challenges, and the additional stress of cancer may exacerbate feelings of isolation especially for the allistic partner . Balancing Caregiving Roles: The partner with autism may have unique strengths that can contribute to caregiving, but challenges in understanding and responding to emotional needs may complicate caregiving dynamics . Advocacy and Healthcare Navigati on: Navigating the complex healthcare system and advocating for the best care can be challenging. The autistic partner may find it difficult to engage in these processes effectively. ​ Getting Help Our organization recognizes the importance of tailored support for individuals facing the intersection of autism and cancer. To address these challenges, we have a team of neurodiverse-aware therapists (Blaze and Colleen) who are also cancer survivors. These therapists bring a unique understanding of the emotional and practical aspects of both experiences, ensuring empathetic and personalized care. We are committed to providing comprehensive support that considers sensory sensitivities, communication preferences, and emotional regulation needs. ​ Our firsthand experience with cancer and expertise in supporting neurodiverse individuals allows us to be valuable allies on the path to healing. Together, we aim to create a supportive environment that acknowledges and addresses your specific needs when facing a cancer diagnosis. ​ ​ Genetic Connection? ​ Some clients wonder if there is a genetic connection between autism and cancer. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. The relationship between autism and cancer risk is complex and has been the subject of various studies. Some research suggests that there may be a genetic overlap between autism and certain cancer-related genes, but this does not necessarily translate to a higher risk of cancer for autistic individuals. Lower Risk of Cancer ? For instance, a study mentioned in Spectrum News found that people with autism have a lifetime cancer risk of 1.3 percent compared to 3.9 percent in the control group . This suggests that individuals with autism may actually have a lower risk of developing cancer compared to those without autism. ​ Some cases of Higher Risk However, it’s important to note that the presence of comorbid intellectual disability and/or birth defects in individuals with autism spectrum disorders can contribute to an increased risk of cancer in early life. Higher Mutations, Lower Risk It’s also worth mentioning that while some individuals with autism may have mutations in cancer-related genes, these mutations do not always lead to cancer. In fact, another study highlighted by ScienceDaily showed that although patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a higher burden of mutations in cancer-promoting oncogenes, they actually have lower rates of cancer. Talk to Medical Specialist While there is some genetic overlap between autism and cancer, the evidence does not conclusively point to a higher risk of cancer for autistic individuals. It’s essential to consider individual health profiles and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized medical advice. If you have specific concerns about health risks, it’s best to speak with your medical doctor or a cancer specialist. ​ Meet Blaze & Colleen, our cancer survivor and neurodiverse-aware therapists. ​ ​ Barbara (Blaze) Lazarony Three-time Cancer Survivor Neurodiverse Specialist Associate Marriage and Family Therapist & Associate Professional Clinical Counselor Colleen Kahn Stage 4 Cancer Survivor Worked at Stanford Hospital with cancer patients Neurodiverse S pecialist Associate Marriage and Family Therapist Autistic w/Cancer Help Genetics Allistic w/Cancer


    AUTISM & EATING AUTISM & EATING THERAPY Click below to visit our site dedicated to providing resources for those with ASD struggling with food-related issues. Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back AUTISM & EATING We are here to provide affirming and effective support for neurodivergent people around food and eating. ​ Whether you are autistic, ADHD, highly sensitive, sensory processing differences, seizure disorders, OCD or otherwise identify as neurodivergent, you are in the right place. ​ STRUGGLING WITH EATING ​ We are here to help you/your loved one with food struggles like: Skipping meals Forgetting to eat Overwhelm/avoidance with grocery shopping General anxiety around eating Shame or guilt around eating Negative thought patterns around eating Negative thought patterns around… Show More Take an Autism Test VULNERABLE, NOT BROKEN We are here to remind you/your loved one that… You are not broken. It’s common for neurodivergent people to get out of balance with eating. It doesn’t mean anything negative about you as a person. ​ ​ Neuro-different people are vulnerable to developing persistent problematic patterns… Show More Take an ADHD Test HERE TO HELP Eating issues are rough. You deserve individualized support that actually helps you. We are here to support you/your loved one… ​ CLIENT FOCUS Individuals (16+) in one-on-one therapy Couples where food/eating/body image is impacting the relationship Parent(s) seeking support to help their child (tween, teen or… Show More Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send

  • Joseph Kaiser

    < Back Joseph Kaiser My Story Born and raised in the Redwoods of Northern California, I spent two decades in the advertising industry as a creative director, art director, and copywriter collaborating on regional, national and global campaigns. As a creative director nothing was more thrilling then collaborating with other creatives. Nurturing diverse perspectives and personalities to create high impact campaigns was a source of great personal and professional inspiration. Later I founded two small businesses; one in tech accessories and another manufacturing active toys developed for neurodiverse, neurotypical, and other children with special needs. I am a US Patent holder and was honored with a Silver Clio Award 2002, Bronze Clio 2002 and published in Graphis Design Annual 2004 and American Graphic Design 2003. My goal is to empower growth through the use of dynamic evidence-based theories and therapeutic rapport. Though I love my work with individuals, I am particularly passionate about couples work and how it can lead to individual well being and familial harmony. For better or worse, our earliest programming teaches us what we think marriage 'should' be. The truth is, marriage is what we make of it. We are the creators and, although painful at times, it can also inspire and empower. I am a firm believer that people heal and grow in connection to others. ​ Main Areas of Focus Neurodiverse Couples Some couples have yet to realize they are neurodiverse. When they finally do, a diagnosis can feel like a relief after years of pain and contention. One common complaint from a partner may be that they are being "gaslighted” by the neurodiverse partner; accused of being irrational and not having their experience or feelings validated. The neurodiverse partner can feel overwhelmed and misunderstood. Common differences in communication are logical vs. emotional, concrete vs. abstract, absolute vs. relative, and avoidant vs. insistent. The first step is to help couples identify just how differences in their wiring affect their interaction cycles. Next is to break blame and shame patterns and find acceptance in differences through a structured step by step process that helps you rediscover love and acceptance. ​ Couples De-escalation and healthy communication are a crucial place to start but only one dimension of couples work. Uncovering deeper unspoken truths and patterns by creating an environment of trust and acceptance is at the core of the healing process. Exploring and validating each partner's unique experience is essential to connecting. I help clients work past blame and shame. Major life changes like the loss of a job, the arrival of a child, or grief and loss, can bring about a shift in dynamics. My goal is to help couples grow together instead of apart while retaining their own identity. I provide a structured approach to couples therapy using elements of EFT, Gottman Method, CBT, Attachment Theory, Relational Life Therapy, Internal Family Systems and more. ​ Affair Recovery Unfortunately, affairs transcend race, culture, sexuality, age, and socio-economic background. Whether it be emotional or sexual, infidelity is traumatic. The betrayed partner can develop depression, anxiety, and symptoms similar to PTSD while the unfaithful partner can be plagued with guilt. My first step is crisis management to stabilize your lives so the therapeutic work can begin. Once the immediate crisis has settled, the real work begins. If partners are willing, compassionate, and persistent, it can be an opportunity for tremendous growth. Affairs may be a reflection of long-standing wounds or struggles that pre-dated the marriage as well as patterns that developed during the relationship. Understanding why the affair occurred is critical to getting on a productive path to affair recovery. Using a step-by-step process, I will compassionately steer couples through this difficult minefield. ​ Parenting And Co-Parenting It is in the best interest of their children for parents to move from an adversarial relationship to a cooperative and collaborative one. After 15 years of parenting and co-parenting of his own, I leverage my training and personal experience to help couples develop co-parenting plans and maintain a safe, secure, nurturing environment for their children to thrive. When done successfully, co-parenting counseling can improve the child’s confidence and self-esteem. Individuals As a compassionate professional, I am committed to helping individuals find healing, growth, and relationship transformation. This begins with building rapport which I believe is the wellspring of effective psychotherapy. I work with challenges such as depression, stress or anxiety, self-esteem, and career transition. Whether it is the cycle of life, health crisis, a move, a loss, relational struggles or change of circumstances, we can become overwhelmed. All too often there is a confluence of things that happen all at once. We thought we could handle it all but our body and psyche say no. I have a compassionate, accepting, curious approach that melds joining the client with various therapeutic methodologies and evidence-based practices. Other Areas of Focus Neurodiverse Couples Therapy & Coaching Trauma informed therapy Depression & Anxiety Treatment Life transitions High stress jobs Discernment Counseling Trauma-informed Therapy Pre-marital Counseling Depression and Anxiety Grief, loss, and shame Clients Couples of all ages Couples of all ethnic backgrounds Adult Individuals. Men, Women High achievers Modalities Internal Family Systems (IFS) Emotionally Focuses Therapy (EFT) Narrative Therapy Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) Person-Centered Therapy Gottman Method Family Systems Positive Psychology Attachment-based Culturally Sensitive Existential Family Systems Humanistic Mindfulness Motivational License Registered AMFT #133330 Supervised by Dr. Harry Motro , LMFT #53452 Employed by New Path Couples Therapy Inc. Specialty areas: Addiction, Discernment, Affairs, Sex, Assessment, LGBTQIA+, Neurodiverse Couples, Autism, ADHD, Blended, Parenting Neurodiversity, Parenting, Internal Family Systems, Eating & Autism, ND at Work Reach Out Now First name Last name Email If you have a therapist(s) in mind, include the name(s) below: Send Thanks for reaching out! We will respond within 24 hours. Take an Autism Test


    AUTISTIC MEN THERAPY4AUTISTICMEN.COM In addition to support from the Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center, we now have a site, Therapy 4 Autistic Men , dedicated to the unique needs of autistic men. Here, we: provide autism-focused & neurodivergent-affirming therapy help you feel safe, supported, and heard with compassion work with you to reduce anxiety, depression, masking & autistic burnout help with Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (diagnosis available) work to lift self-esteem offer solutions for family conflict share strategies for work or school support for LGBTQIA+, transgender, nonbinary, and BIPOC clients offer support groups to help men find serenity and reduce frustration ASD Men's Support Group Our team members are: ​ autistic and allistic (both perspectives can be helpful), men and women (yes, some of our male clients prefer a female therapist), athiest, agnostic, spiritual, people with deep faith, and single, divorced, in a committed relationship and married. Please feel free to get in touch via our contact form . Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back FROM SHAME TO ACCEPTANCE “Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality.Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.” ― Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback FIRST PRIORITY Our first priority is to be able to see the beauty of our differences . This journey may require rethinking a life of experiencing negative messages from society. This rethinking process must operate in the background of all the more tactical work that is done as… Show More Take an Autism Test EXAMPLE THERAPY ROADMAP When we work together, we will review the list below and together construct a session-by-session roadmap of our work together. ​ STRENGTHS Identify your strengths and build a plan on how to leverage them in your relationship. Make peace with your Asperger traits. Sensory processing Understand your sensor… Show More Take an ADHD Test Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send

  • Kristin Herbert

    < Back Kristin Herbert Background and Education Conceived accidentally during the “summer of love,” I was surrendered by my birth parents as an infant, then adopted and raised as one of two adopted children. Reunited with my birth parents and extended families on both sides as an adult has resulted in an inconclusive, ongoing self-study of nature and nurture. Following my divorce as a young adult, I earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh in an effort to turn my heartbreak into poetry. My writer’s resume, in addition my own published poetry, fiction, journalism, and creative nonfiction, includes working as a university instructor, in academic and literary book publishing, as a massage therapist, and at educational nonprofit for underserved populations including foster youth. After my second divorce, as a single parent navigating complex relational trauma recovery and learning to accommodate and support the neurodivergence in my family, I earned a Master’s degree in clinical psychology and began training to became a therapist. Now, I am ten years along in a blended family that includes a spectrum of neurodiverse brains and nervous systems: those of my own and my partner, our combined four children, and our dog and cats. I find inspiration and meaning from my ongoing work with an array of clients who share the courage to turn inward in order to better understand their experience and relate ever more deeply to themselves and the people they love. ​ My Approach Imagine two different nervous systems, two divergent ways of experiencing and being in the world. Often, we find ourselves polarized, stuck in an either-or mentality, vying with the person we love most for our goodness, our truth, our most authentic way of being and being seen. In an effort to achieve a shared perspective, we may lose ourselves and invalidate one another. Couples therapy interventions that work for neurotypical couples can fall flat when neurodiversity is in the mix, leaving both partners feeling unseen, misunderstood, exhausted, and even hopeless. But there is hope, with a couples therapist who is dedicated to understanding the ways in which your neurodiversity affects your relationship. My approach is informed by curiosity and attachment theory, as well as the ability to hold complexity and paradox. Moving from an either-or to a both-and perspective, our minds can expand to imagine another point of view without sacrificing our own. Nowhere is this opportunity more present than in a neurodiverse relationship. I will help you discover the best of both worlds where each of you make sense, all of your feelings are valid and important, and you can turn to one another with vulnerability. We will work in session to create shared experiences of safety so your nervous systems can re-set, and your brains and bodies can form new pathways to connection. Highly Sensitive Nervous Systems Neurodivergent minds often run highly sensitive nervous systems. Whether diagnosed (or mis-diagnosed) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), giftedness, twice-exceptional learners (2e), anxiety, depression, relational trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any number of other labels, including self-identified “creatives,” many people report experiencing sensory overload. I understand how that feels and how it can impact relationships. I will help you identify and craft ways to support your nervous system and those of your loved ones in your home, relationships, and life. Trust, Infidelity and Betrayal When we love, we are vulnerable. When trust is broken, it can be hard to imagine moving forward. But it’s important to process what happened. Because the rupture was relational, so too must the healing be relational. We’ll work together to understand the factors that contributed to this traumatic experience. We will grieve what was lost and tend to your wounded parts. Whether you are the betrayed or the betrayer, whether you choose to move through this traumatic experience separately or together, you will not be alone. I will help you make sense of what happened and re-establish safety and self-esteem. Blended families ​ My lived experience comprises adoption, biological relations, step-families, divorce, blended families, and neurodiversity. We will work together to map and understand your family of origin patterns, to express your conscious beliefs about what love means, and to explore how your behaviors reveal unknown parts about yourselves and one another. Viktor Frankl writes, “there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In session, we will explore the space between. Other Areas of Focus Supporting neurodiverse couples Exploring and fine-tuning Coping Skills Understanding and Healing Family Dysfunction Establishing Healthy Boundaries Increasing Connection and Intimacy Implementing Self-Compassion and Self-Care Processing Relational Trauma (cPTSD) & Post-Traumatic Growth Mapping Attachment Patterns Processing Grief and Ambiguous Grief Healing from Infidelity and Betrayal Trauma Discernment Counseling Processing Grief related to Infertility and/or Miscarriage Supporting Caregivers Identifying and Healing Burnout Improving Co-Parenting Supporting Life Transitions Coaching Parents, including Single Parents, Co-parents, Adoptive Parents, and Step-parents Exploring Identity LGBTQIA+ Allied Clients Couples Individuals (including Single Parents) Families (including Divorced and Bended Families and Single-Parent Families) Modalities Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples Existential Therapy Experiential Therapy Attachment-based Therapy Compassion-focused, Humanistic Therapy Culturally Sensitive Therapy Internal Family Systems (IFS) Narrative Therapy Psychodynamic/ Relational Therapy Trauma-Informed Therapy Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Coaching License Licensed MFT #141308 Employed by New Path Couples Therapy Inc. Specialty areas: Cassandra, Sex-Kink-Poly, Parenting Neurodiversity, Emotion Focused Therapy, LGBTQIA+, Trans, Buddist - Spiritual, Affairs, Neurodiverse Couples, Autism, ADHD, Blended, Parenting, Discernment, Sex Reach Out Now First name Last name Email If you have a therapist(s) in mind, include the name(s) below: Send Thanks for reaching out! We will respond within 24 hours. Take an Autism Test

  • AuDHD (AUTISM + ADHD) | Neurodiverse Couples

    Overlap Diagnosis Traits Origins Help! SUPPORT for DUAL DIAGNOSIS (AUTISM + ADHD) AUTISM AND ADHD OVERLAP ​ WHAT IS AuDHD? ​ AuDHD is a relatively new unofficial term that describes a person who has both autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Thus, the merging the terms Autism and ADHD into AuDHD. STATISTICAL OVERLAP ​ Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are both neurodevelopmental disorders that can affect a person's behavior, social interaction, and communication. ​ There is a significant overlap in symptoms between the two disorders, such as difficulties with attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. It is estimated that 30% to 80% of individuals with ASD also have symptoms of ADHD , and up to 20% to 50% of individuals with ADHD may also have symptoms of ASD (Kernbach et al., 2018). ​ Some studies suggest that the two disorders may share similar genetic and neurobiological mechanisms . Research has also shown that both disorders may involve differences in brain structure and function, particularly in regions related to social communication and executive functioning. ​ ​ GETTING A CLEAR DIAGNOSIS The Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM) provides the standards for mental health diagnosis in the mental health sector. Prior to 2013, the DSM did NOT permit co-occurring diagnoses of these conditions as they were viewed as mutually exclusive. ​ With the publication of the 5th edition of the DSM (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association acknowledged that a single diagnosis did not describe the wide range of symptoms many clients experienced. Accordingly, if you seek an assessment today and you meet the criteria for both ASD and ADHD, you would receive a dual diagnosis of ASD and ADHD . The shorthand that is sometimes used outside of the official terminology is AuDHD. ​ If you are interested in a formal diagnosis, please know that we partner with the Adult Autism Assessments Center which would be glad to talk to you about getting assessed for both Autism and ADHD . COMMON AND DIFFE RENT TRAITS ​ It is important to note that the main diagnostic criteria of ASD and ADHD do not overlap. The core characteristics of ASD are: differences in communication and social interaction, repeated behaviors, and specialized interests. By contrast, the core symptoms of ADHD are: attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Sometimes symptoms may appear similar but the underlying origins are different. This can be seen in the points below: ​ Individuals with ASD and ADHD can struggle with friendships ; yet, this may be attributed to: social communication deficits for those with ASD as opposed to impulsivity for individuals with ADHD. Individuals with ASD and ADHD struggle focusing on items that they to not have interest in. For those with ASD, it may be due to an intense pull to focus on something else. For those with ADHD, the issue may be one of distraction. Individuals with ASD and ADHD often have some degree of motor-skill deficits which may impact coordination and fine motor skills like handwriting. For ASD, this may appear as repetitive movements. For ADHD this could manifest as restlessness . People with ASD and ADHD more frequently have sensory-processing differences when compared to others with typical development. For individuals with ASD, they have greater differences in auditory processing than children with ADHD or who are considered neurotypical. For visual processing, children with ADHD score higher than those with ASD or neurotypical (Little et al., 2019). ​ ORIGINS OF ASD AND ADHD ​ GENETICS Studies have identified several genes that may be involved in both ASD and ADHD. One such gene is the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene, which is involved in the regulation of the neurotransmitter dopamine (Thapar & Cooper, 2013). Dopamine is known to play a key role in many cognitive and emotional processes, including attention, motivation, and reward. Variants of the DRD4 gene have been associated with an increased risk of both ASD and ADHD . ​ Another gene that has been linked to both ASD and ADHD is the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4). This gene is involved in the regulation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is important for mood, appetite, and sleep. Variants of the SLC6A4 gene have been associated with an increased risk of both conditions. In addition to these genes, there are several other genes that have been implicated in both ASD and ADHD, including the cadherin family of genes , which are involved in cell adhesion and signaling, and the neurexin genes, which are involved in synaptic function. It is important to note that genetics is only one of several factors that contribute to the development of ASD and ADHD. However, understanding the genetic basis of ASD and ADHD can help researchers develop better treatments and interventions for individuals with these conditions. ​ Pregnancy Pregnancy is a crucial stage in the development of the fetus, and the environment in which it grows can have a significant impact on its future health and development. Research has shown that there may be a connection between pregnancy and the risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ​ Several studies have investigated the link between pregnancy and the risk of developing ASD and ADHD. One potential factor is maternal infection during pregnancy. Studies have shown that infections during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester, may increase the risk of ASD and ADHD in offspring. Maternal stress during pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of ASD and ADHD in offspring. Another factor that has been investigated is exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to chemicals such as lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) has been linked to an increased risk of developing ASD and ADHD in offspring. ​ It is important to note that not all pregnancies that experience these factors will result in the development of ASD or ADHD . Additionally, many cases of ASD and ADHD do not have a clear cause or risk factor identified. TREATMENT APPROACHES ​ The treatment approaches for adults with AuDHD (autism and ADHD) can be challenging because these two conditions can interact with each other in complex ways. However, there are several strategies that can be effective in managing symptoms and improving daily functioning. Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be helpful in managing symptoms of both autism and ADHD. CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviors. It can be especially helpful for individuals with AuDHD because it can target specific behaviors and thought patterns that are causing difficulties. CBT can be delivered in individual or group settings and can be adapted to meet the unique needs of individuals with AuDHD. Please know that the goal of behavior therapy must NOT be to turn you into a neurotypical person . It is to help you find ways to cope while living in an allistic world and be TRUE TO YOUSELF! Social Skills Training: Social skills training can help individuals with AuDHD learn social cues, communication strategies, and appropriate social behaviors. Social skills training can also provide opportunities for individuals with AuDHD to practice social interactions in a safe and supportive environment. This type of therapy can be delivered in individual or group settings and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals with AuDHD. Medication: Medications such as stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin) and non-stimulants (e.g., Strattera) can be used to treat ADHD symptoms. If you are autistic, the use of medication is sometimes used to help with accompanying issues such as depression or anxiety but the use of medication for autism is not well established. We always refer your to a prescribing psychiatrist or physician for the appropriate guidance. Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy can help individuals with AuDHD learn skills to manage sensory issues and improve daily functioning. For example, occupational therapy can help individuals with AuDHD learn strategies to manage hypersensitivity to sensory input (e.g., noise, light) or hyposensitivity (e.g., lack of awareness of pain). Occupational therapy can also help individuals with AuDHD develop strategies to manage daily tasks such as self-care, organization, and time management. Please know that our group does not provide medications or occupational therapy but would be glad to help you think through these options and integrate them in your overall plan. ​ A PLAN CUSTOMIZED FOR YOU ​ It is essential to remember that treatment for AuDHD should be individualized to meet the specific needs of each person. We would love to provide a comprehensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan that fits you. References: Kernbach, J. M., Satterthwaite, T. D., Bassett, D. S., Smallwood, J., Margulies, D., Krall, S., Shaw, P., Varoquaux, G., Thirion, B., Konrad, K., & Bzdok, D. (2018). Shared endo-phenotypes of default mode dysfunction in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 8(1), 133. ​ Little, L. M., Dean, E., Tomchek, S., & Dunn, W. (2018). Sensory processing patterns in autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and typical development. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 38(3), 243–254. ​ Thapar, A., & Cooper, M. (2013). Copy number variation: What is it and what has it told us about child psychiatric disorders? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(8), 772–774. ​ Overlap Diagnosis Traits Origins Help!


    NEURODIVERSE PARENTING PARENTING AUTISM CENTER For our couples with children on the autism spectrum who need intensive autistic-aware parenting therapy, please consider the Parenting Autism Therapy Center , which provides counseling for parents of children with Autism & ADHD. Schedule a Free Consult Now < Back HELPING YOUR CHILD THRIVE Most parents are willing to sacrifice almost anything to see your child happy, independent, and productive. We see parents bend over backwards to support their children. If you are using the wrong approach for them or if mom and dad are not on the same page, everyone in the family can quickly become exhausted and discouraged. You may even start to wonder if you are doing something wrong and making things more difficult. No matter how much you are putting into advocating… Show More Take an Autism Test QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER - Do you suspect that your child may have symptoms of social anxiety or high functioning autism? - Is your child clearly intelligent but, yet struggling to read social cues? - Is your child struggling making friends and/or keeping them? - Is your child being bullied, or… Show More Take an ADHD Test YOU ARE NOT ALONE At the Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center, we have therapists who work extensively with parents of neurodiverse children. A few of the basics that we cover include: Understanding the WHY behind your child's behaviors. This can include avoidance, attention-getting, sensory stimulation, protest, attempt to gain access,… Show More Sign up to receive weekly tips, tools and cutting edge info Send

  • ADHD COUPLES THERAPY | Neurodiverse Couples

    Impact of ADHD About ADHD ADHD Patterns In a Trap? ADHD Partner Non-ADHD Partner Hope!!! ADHD Couples Therapy Individual Support for ADHD Women ​ We also provide special individual support for ADHD women who are often overlooked. Click HERE for more. BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP BACK TO TOP IMPACT OF ADHD ON MARRIAGE & RELATIONSHIPS Do you and/or your partner experience Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms? If so, you can expect very predictable (and painful) patterns to emerge in your relationship. If the underlying issues are not addressed, it is likely that both of you will end up angry, dissatisfied, lonely, frustrated, and exhausted. These feelings typically arise from a pattern of mismatched or unrealistic expectations, lack of follow-through, nagging, constant conflict, and occasionally loud blow-out fights. If this dynamic continues long enough, one partner emotionally and physically pulls away, making the connection in the relationship even more tenuous. ​ Fortunately, with awareness and knowledgeable help, these patterns can be interrupted and relationships can be restored . On this web page, we will cover the basics of ADHD-diverse relationships but we invite you to connect with one of our neurodiversity specialists who would be honored to work with you. ​ ABOUT ADHD : ​ ADHD is most commonly diagnosed during childhood. While some percentage of children "grow out" of their symptoms or find effective ways to cope, many do not. In fact, some studies show that 50 percent of those who are diagnosed continue to have symptoms throughout adulthood. Prevalence of adult ADHD is generally accepted to be 4% (ranging from 2% to 7%). Depending on the study, the diagnosis rate in men ranges from 1.5 times to 3 times that of women . Many professionals believe that women are under-diagnosed in both childhood and adulthood. It is also worth noting that ADHD in women normally presents as difficulty concentrating and can look similar to anxiety whereas it is more common for men to experience hyperactivity. For ease of writing, the following is written assuming the male partner is the ADHD partner and the female is the non-ADHD partner . Please know that ADHD can show up in either spouse (or both) and we do not mean to perpetuate any stereotypes. ​ ​ UNDERSTANDING THE ADHD RELATIONSHIP PATTERN ​ ​ Consider each partner's part in an ADHD-diverse relationship: ​ NON-ADHD PARTNER: Feelings: Angry, frustrated, sad and disappointed. Behaviors : Controlling, nagging, criticizing and complaining. Internal narrative: “I have to constantly remind you if I want anything to get done!“ ​ ADHD PARTNER: Feelings: Worthless, resentful, sad and disappointed (in himself). Behaviors : Defensive, making excuses, avoiding, lying and withdrawal. Internal narrative: "How could you expect me to respond to you when you talk to me that way?“ ​ IS YOUR MARRIAGE IN AN ADHD TRAP? If you are curious to see if your relationship fits the typical ADHD neurodiverse pattern, consider how many of the following ADHD symptoms exist in your relationship: ​ Constant arguing, seemingly over inconsequential topics One partner in the “parent“ role and the other partner in the “child“ or "teenager" role Responsibilities feel uneven Difficulty in negotiating reasonable expectations Poor follow through on tasks Lack of consequences for unmet expectations Inability to discuss unmet expectations without arguing Arguments get stuck on whose memory is right Feeling that screens (phones, iPads, computers...) are more important than the relationship Infrequent or non-existent sex life The partner in the parent role becomes the bad cop and the ADHD partner becomes the Disney parent, particularly in the eyes of the children Children get caught in parental struggle ​ ​ BOTH PARTNERS STRUGGLE As we work with ADHD-diverse couples, we find that both partners struggle but in very different ways. ​ ADHD Partner's Struggle For the ADHD partner, daily life can feel overwhelming . These feelings start off hidden but quickly emerge under stress. Unfortunately, they emerge as yelling at the family member who is close by, usually a spouse or child. Alternatively, the feelings get buried deep inside. Then, coping mechanisms (such as playing video games, alcohol or drug use, work, and/or porn) take over to keep the feelings from surfacing. Furthermore, feelings of inadequacy , which were often present in childhood, become magnified. As the non-ADHD spouse takes charge of the household and the children, the ADHD partner believes that he will not be accepted or loved unless he changes. Sadly, he does not believe this change is possible! As this pattern gets locked in, the ADHD partner begins to walk on eggshells, just waiting for the next time that he lets his partner down. Being under this kind of stress only makes the ADHD struggle worse. His ADHD mind was already racing; feeling cluttered, fuzzy and/or noisy. Now it gets worse. With the stress of the relationship on top of all the other daily stress, it becomes impossible to think clearly, especially when dealing with his spouse. ​ Non-ADHD Partner's Struggle The non-ADHD partner starts out over-functioning because she loves her husband and wants to help. But this quickly leads to a feeling of being overburdened . Her first attempt to deal with this is to ask for help but then she is accused of "being a nag" or "being uptight". This just feeds into her resentment. When she resists nagging and asks just once, he forgets. Although he apologizes, she feels let down and that he doesn't really care. ​ As she becomes convinced that she can not count on her spouse, she stops asking him to do things (which he could probably do well if their dysfunctional pattern did not exist). So she continues to over-function and soon feels lonely and ignored by her withdrawn husband. Her narrative of being "the responsible one" in the marriage is expressed through complaints to the kids, friends and other family members. Inevitably, the shame and struggle in the relationship spreads through the whole family system and hopelessness can quickly set in. ​ ​ BUT THERE IS HOPE!!! ​ The path to healing needs to be customized for each couple; however, one of the fundamental interventions is to separate the symptoms of the ADHD from the message the partners are taking from it. In other words, the struggle to follow through with a task does not mean that the partner does not care. It also does not mean that the ADHD partner cannot institute compensating strategies to address the needs of the spouse or family. Our work in therapy is to break the negative cycle , address the underlying feelings of anger and sadness, and then make new meaning of what is happening and what can be done going forward. ​ Please know that we are not suggesting that the actual solutions are simple. The tactics need to be carefully customized for the couple and must be “ADHD-sensitive“ . In other words, we can NOT just try HARDER to do the things we’ve been doing; rather, a couple must be inventive and willing to experiment with new approaches. ​ When working out the new couple dynamic, a couple of points must be emphasized: ​ Take a team approach . If one person is the "one down" position, constantly being blamed, the change will not work. Both partners must honestly recognize the work that each one must do to break the negative cycle. Focus on changing yourself, not your partner. Treat your partner with kindness even when he or she fails. Be open to medication if that is suggested by your physician and other approaches are not working. ​ WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT We have seen couples who have struggled with ADHD completely transform their marriage. Although it is not guaranteed, reshaping your painful patterns in a relationship can do wonders for your lives together. We would love to help and look forward to hearing from you. ​ ​​ ​ ​ ​ SOURCES FOR THIS PAGE ​ Sex and age differences in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms and diagnoses: Implications for DSM-V and ICD-11, Dr. Ujjwal P. Ramtekkar, M.D., M.P.E., Dr. Angela M. Reiersen, M.D., M.P.E., Dr. Alexandre A. Todorov, Ph.D., and Dr. Richard D. Todd, Ph.D., The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, Melissa Orlov NIMH (August 2021) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. From. Overlaps and distinctions between attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder in young adulthood: Systematic review and guiding framework for EEG-imaging research Alex Lau-Zhu,⁎ Anne Fritz, and Gráinne McLoughlin. Very Well Mind (July 2021) ADHD In Women. From. American Journal of Psychiatry (June 2007) Worldwide Prevalence of ADHD. From. ADDITUDE (April 2020) ADHD Statistics: New ADD Facts and Research. From. Springer Link (August 2018) Sex Differences in Predicting ADHD. From. ​ About ADHD ADHD Patterns In a Trap? ADHD Partner Non-ADHD Partner Hope!!! Impact of ADHD “Showing kindness towards those who are different and embracing our imperfections as proof of our humanness is the remedy for fear.” Emma Zurcher-Long of Emma’s Hope Book

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