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Being Diagnosed with Autism and the Role of Therapy

Being diagnosed with autism can be a pivotal moment in one's life. With more and more adults searching for answers, getting a diagnosis can be a mixture of relief, confusion, and apprehension. It can be like finally finding the missing puzzle piece that explains why you do things that you do or feel the way that you do. However, it can also opened up a floodgate of questions about what this diagnosis means for my future and how you can navigate the challenges that came with it. One question that can loom quite large after a diagnosis, can be whether therapy can help you on this journey.

Diagnosis and Initial Reaction:

The journey towards an autism diagnosis is not always straightforward. There are long waiting lists and then quite high fees if you choose to go down the route of discovery privately. You might spent years struggling to understand why you feel out of place in social situations, why certain sensory experiences overwhelm you, and why you have particular interests that consume your thoughts. Finally receiving the diagnosis can be both validating and overwhelming. Validating because it provides an explanation for the struggles you are facing, but overwhelming because it can raise more questions about what this diagnosis will mean for your life.

Understanding Autism:

Before delving into therapy, it's essential to understand what autism is. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by differences in social communication and interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. However, it's crucial to recognise that autism is a spectrum, meaning that each individual experiences it differently. What works for one person may not work for another, and vice versa.

The Role of Therapy:

Therapy can play a significant role in supporting individuals with autism, but it's essential to find the right approach that aligns with the needs and preferences of you as an individual. Here are some ways therapy can help:

  1. Social Skills Development: Many individuals with autism struggle with social communication and interaction. Therapy, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or social skills groups, can provide strategies and support to navigate social situations more effectively.

  2. Sensory Processing Support: Sensory sensitivities are common among individuals with autism, and therapy can help develop coping mechanisms to manage sensory overload and enhance sensory processing abilities.

  3. Emotional Regulation: Difficulty regulating emotions is another challenge faced by many individuals with autism. Therapy can teach emotional regulation techniques, such as mindfulness and cognitive-behavioural strategies, to better cope with intense emotions.

  4. Self-Understanding and Advocacy: Therapy can provide a safe space for individuals to explore their strengths, challenges, and identity. It can also empower individuals to advocate for their needs and rights in various settings, such as school, work, and social environments.

  5. Family Support and Education: Therapy can involve family members to provide them with a better understanding of autism and equip them with strategies to support their loved one effectively.

Therapy can be a crucial part of your journey with autism. It can provide you with tools to navigate social situations, manage sensory sensitivities, and regulate your emotions. Moreover, it can play a part in empowering you to embrace your autism as an integral part of your identity rather than something to be ashamed of or hide.

Being diagnosed with autism can be a life-changing experience, but it doesn't have to define who you are or limit your potential. Therapy can be a valuable resource in navigating the challenges that come with autism and embracing your unique strengths and abilities. Remember, your journey with autism is valid, and seeking support is a courageous step towards self-discovery and empowerment.

If you'd like to find out more about how therapy can help you or your child after a diagnosis of autism, then please get in touch to see how we can help. We have a number of neurodiverse counsellors who understand completely what you are going through.

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