SKILLS TRAINING for the AS PARTNER

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Learn how to connect

The goal of many of our AS partners is to increase the ability to meet the needs of the neurotypical partner AND, at the same time, stay true to himself (herself). It is a delicate balance, one that our therapy team will support you in.

 

When we work together we will review the list below and build a session-by-session roadmap of our work together. 

  • Make peace with your Asperger traits. 
     

  • Identify your strengths and build a plan on how to leverage them in your relationship.
     

  • Set your relationship goals that are consistent with your values and identity
     

  • Understand your sensory processing system.  In basic terms, your sensory processing system is how your brain detects, prioritizes, and remembers what is happening around you and inside of you.
     

  • Explore strategies to manage your sensory sensitivities so you can express them to your partner and build a management plan together.
     

  • Learn ways to recognize, decompress, and communicate with your partner when you reach sensory overload/overwhelm and enter "defense mode".
     

  • Learning not to take everything literally and to understand non-verbal communication.
     

  • Coping with differences and getting on the same page.
     

  • Addressing any attention deficit that may exist. “Tuning out” is often a key attribute of an Asperger’s profile. When this happens, one's partner understandably does not feel acknowledged or listened to. Working on being more attentive to one's surroundings may be tremendously helpful.
     

  • Bridge the chasm that exists between one's ability to understand new ways of doing things and having them occur to me in the moment so that they can be put into practice when the time is right. 
     

  • Transform one's worldview from a “bachelor state of mind” to one of partnership or parent.
     

  • Identify the absolutely most important personality traits you want to work on (not all of them!) and which ones can be supported by learning social skills.
     

  • Commit to a systematic approach to social skills training 
     

  • Build a plan to break them down and work on them in small steps
     

  • Determine the best approach for each skill; whether to learn by rote, by deeper understanding or by trial and error
     

  • Have a social skills mentor / accountability partner (not your partner!)
     

  • Practice, practice, practice
     

  • Learn how to collect and accept feedback (without freaking out)
     

  • Build a long-term maintenance plan
     

  • Learn to enjoy the journey

The efforts put in by the AS partner are usually greatly appreciated by the neurotypical partner. That is why integrated therapy (couples plus individual therapy can be so powerful).

Man with Beard

“The experience of many of us is not that ‘insistence on sameness’ jumps out unbidden and unwanted and makes our lives hard, but that ‘insistence on sameness’ is actually a way of adapting to a confusing and chaotic environment . . . ”

 

 

Dora Raymaker