Parent Coaching for Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders vary widely, and often include difficulties in social situations, understanding nonverbal signals and deciphering body language. Struggling to understand the perspectives of others, to return social feelings or to engage in emotional relationships in similar ways to people who are not on the spectrum can lead to rifts in relationships when this is not understood. Depending on where a person falls on the spectrum of this disorder they may experience difficulties with social and communication skills, sensitivity or discomfort with certain sounds and lights, or may have unique or restricted interests or engage in repetitive behaviors.
How can a parent coach help a parent support their child who is on the autism spectrum?
It is important to note that a parent coach is not a mental health professional treating spectrum disorders. Coaches collaborate with out-patient or in-patient therapists and the treatment center, consultants and educational professionals to help parents understand diagnoses and the implications of such diagnoses on daily life. Your coach helps you to understand and interpret diagnostic information coming out of treatment and the responses your child may have to daily life. Learning to step into the shoes of a neurodivergent child and see the world through their eyes is key. Your coach will support this process along with helping you to help your child function to the best of their capability with the brain that they have, rather than focusing on getting your child to act more neuroatypical. A coach can help you learn new communication, relationship skills and ways of structuring the home environment to best support your neurodivergent family member.
How can a parent coach help a parent who is on the autism spectrum?
Parents who are neurodivergent may have their own challenges in understanding social cues, non-verbal signals and body language. This can be compounded when facing the stressful situations presented by having a child in crisis and / or learning how to navigate their own diagnoses. Additionally, the co-parenting relationship can express high tension when one or both parents are neurodivergent. A parent coach can help a parent understand and navigate their own triggers, watch for these things arising and practice strategies to parent and communicate as co-parent, in a manner that aligns both with the parent and the child's unique strengths.
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