More than anything, you want to see your family thrive and connect. Having a mixed family of both neurodiverse and neurotypical family members can be wonderful. But, it can also be full of challenges. Perhaps, you’re worried about your family’s wellbeing? Or, you feel like your home life is spiraling out of control. Family time is full of miscommunication and conflict. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get along.
Having at least one family member who is autistic or neurodivergent impacts the entire family unit. Some of the common concerns autism families share include:
- Neurodiverse family members can be rigid and controlling. This requires significant family accommodations.
- Autistic teens and adults can hold in their feelings and emotional pain. This causes them to withdraw or have outbursts and meltdowns.
- Neurodiverse individuals can do and say mean and hurtful things to parents and other family members.
- Individuals with autism can completely avoid or become hostile when discussing plans for their future.
- Autism parents and other neurotypical family members want to help. But, they feel frustrated, stuck, helpless, and powerless.
- Neurotypical siblings may feel like they’re being ignored by their parents, due to the greater attention parents need to give their needs of their child with autism.
- Caring for a child with autism can cause some autism parents to feel drained and emotional.
- Siblings may argue due to misunderstandings and differences in communication styles.
- Anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more may make it hard for a neurodiverse family member to engage in age-appropriate tasks like doing their chores or keeping up with their self-hygiene.
- Autism parents may yearn for support in parenting a neurodiverse child.
- Autism parents often feel criticized by other family members or friends who do not truly understand the challenges of parenting a neurodivergent child.
- It is hard to support someone with autism towards independence because of fears for their wellbeing.
If these sound true for your family, then autism family therapy in California can really help you overcome these challenges and any future issues that may arise. Therapy provides a non-judgmental space for you to talk freely about what’s bothering you.
Although your neurodiverse family member needs a great deal of support, you shouldn’t ignore your needs or the needs of your family. Getting autism family therapy can strengthen your family bonds so you can enjoy family time again.
Family Communication Can Be Difficult
Effective communication can be difficult for many reasons. Especially, when one family member has autism.
Some causes of autism family conflict include:
- Autistic or neurodivergent family member lacks awareness of the way their words or actions impact others which causes hurt feelings and conflict,
- Neurotypical family can struggle to understand the needs, feelings, and thoughts of their neurodiverse family member due to differences in the ways they see the world
- Individuals with ASD may not know how to express their feelings, making it harder for their family to validate their feelings and meet their needs
- Parenting a child with developmental delays can increase parental anxiety around their child's safety. This often leads to a more directive parenting approach which the child with autism may resist.
- The neurodiverse family member may feel shame around not being good enough and may avoid the future in life for fear of failure.
Our Autism Therapists Understand. We are Here to Help.
You are not alone. As autism experts, we specialize in working with families that include neurodivergent family members. We have expertise in working with clients who are both autistic and bright, or twice-exceptional. We've walked beside families who are exhausted and lacking hope. So, we understand not only common challenges and feelings families face, but also what has helped other parents and their children overcome their challenges. In family therapy, we will provide you with support, understanding, and guidance.
When you come to Open Doors Therapy and meet with an autism therapist for family therapy, you will find you’re supported in a way you may not have been before. We specialize in working with high-functioning teens with autism, neurodiverse college students, and adults with autism. So, we truly understand their unique strengths, needs, and challenges. We also are extremely skilled in working with autism parents to help them learn tools and techniques to successfully parent their child with autism. When you meet with us we will be able to best support BOTH the individual with autism and their neurotypical family members, so everyone leaves feeling satisfied that they were heard and respected.
Autism family therapy at Open Doors Therapy is right for you if you have a high-functioning neurodiverse family member and are experiencing family conflict. If you're ready to work together as a team to deepen your connection with one another and learn to communicate more effectively then our autism therapists can help.
If you're autism parents looking to learn more parenting tools to better handle your child's unique behaviors, then we encourage you to consider autism parent counseling or coaching. We also offer individual and group autism therapy for twice-exceptional teens and adults. We would be happy to offer you family therapy in conjunction with our other autism counseling services.