Welcome back to my blog series on twice-exceptional teens and adults. Last week, we explored self-defeating beliefs and misconceptions. This week we will explore how to support yourself and your twice-exceptional loved one.
Parents of autistic individuals their own support during their child’s late high school years and transition to adulthood. Parents have many times felt frustrated by others’ lack of understanding about their child’s uneven profile. An uneven profile occurs when your child is stellar at certain things, but they lack skills in other areas of their life. that is what I don’t mean a little unevenness, I mean a BIG discrepancy.
Parents have heard other’s harsh judgment of their child and their parenting. They’ve heard criticisms, such as “He should know better”, or “I’m sure he did it intentionally.” Teens and young adults with an Asperger’s profile can be so gifted in certain areas that teachers and other community members can often fail to recognize their struggles.
People can be unforgiving when your twice-exceptional teen does not meet their expectations
There is a growing awareness of autism in the US, and globally. But, it is still hard for people to wrap their heads around how within the same person there can be such great strengths and weaknesses. As your child gets older and older, society places higher and higher expectations on him or her. People can be unforgiving when your child does not meet their expectations. They don’t understand that they lack skills in certain areas.
Parenting is hard enough! But, parenting a twice-exceptional teen can be totally exhausting.
Parenting a twice-exceptional youth can be complex. It can be hard for parents to tease apart what is a skill deficit in their child and what is manipulative or avoidant behavior. So many of the gifted teens with autism I work with are anxious about taking the next big step in their life. Thus, their go-to coping strategy is often avoidance. This can leave the parent feeling frustrated and uncertain of how to best support their child. On top of all this, looming on the horizon is adulthood, and they feel scared about how their child is going to navigate adult life and college. These fears can make it difficult for parents to let go of the reigns because they so deeply desire to help their child.
Parents of twice-exceptional teens with autism need support too!
Because of your child’s developmental delays, it can be difficult at times to know when to help them out or take over. Being around other parents who get this uneven profile is validating and affirming. Parents of twice-exceptional teens need their own support! They benefit from meeting other parents who have children with similar uneven behavioral and cognitive profiles and are facing similar struggles.
In our Gifted Teen with Autism and Caregiver Group and Mothers Group, we support parents in making difficult decisions. We also provide parents with new communication strategies that support your child’s growth and independence. We do this all in a safe and supportive environment for you and your loved one, because you both need this! You need your tribe, your support team just as much as your loved one needs you!
The parents have their own support group that meets in a different room from the teen group. Each group has its own facilitator.
Why do parents and twice-exceptional teens have their own separate groups?
Having separate groups and rooms is an important step in the differentiation process of your teen with autism. They start to learn about their individuality and how it is separate from their parents.
For some teens with autism, I find that they rely on their parents to speak for them. That is why it is critical for the neurodiverse teens to have their own safe space to explore their self-identities and grow in self-awareness. We want teens to become self-determined and empowered. And, joining a neurodiverse support group or social skills group is an excellent step toward this greater goal.
Next week, the final blog of this series, I will discuss the problems with avoidance and other mechanisms your twice-exceptional teen or adult may do and how to deal with them. Stay tuned for part four of my blog series titled, The Problem with Avoidance.
If you’re looking for an opportunity for your teen to learn social skills, then a social skills group can help. Our therapy clinic in Palo Alto, CA offers a variety of social skills groups for high functioning teens and adults on the autism spectrum. During these groups, you will learn and practice a variety of social skills that will help you interact with your peers without draining your social battery.
Social Skills Groups Offered at Open Doors Therapy in the South Bay Area:
The Gifted Teen with Autism and Caregiver Group:
The Gifted Teen with Autism and Caregiver Group provides a supportive environment where you and your teen can come and meet with other people who share similar challenges. During group, we separate the gifted teens from their caregivers. We do this to allow both the teen and their caregivers to have their own space to express their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Did you know, having their own group is important for your teen to begin advocating for themselves and find independence? In their own group, teens learn the skills to feel empowered.
Our College Group includes high-functioning students with autistic traits who attend a college or a university in the South Bay Area. Our College Group discusses the unique challenges that they might face.
Young Adults Group:
Our Young Adults Group provides you with a safe place to learn what it means to be a millennial with autistic traits. Joining this group means you’re taking this big step you will gain the self-confidence to face life’s challenges and create lasting change.
Working Professionals Group:
During the Working Professional’s Group, we talk about common struggles neurodiverse professionals may have. We discuss managing miscommunications, non-verbal communication, listening skills, perspective-talking, empathizing, and unwritten social rules. These are important skills for autistic individuals to have in and outside of work.
If you’re unsure which group would be a good fit for you, please contact our autism therapy clinic.
Join an Autism Social Skills Group for Neurodiverse Adults in Palo Alto, CA:
We know that it can be both rewarding and very challenging to have a twice-exceptional teen with autism. We are here to support both of you during this time in your life, and beyond. To join a social skills group in Palo Alto, CA and online group therapy in California, please follow these steps:
- Schedule a free 30-minute consultation call. During this call, we will help you to find a group that will best meet your unique needs.
- Like me on Facebook. This will help you stay up-to-date on Open Doors Therapy and our autism therapy services.
- Sign up to receive my newsletter. This contains useful information regarding living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Other Services for the Neurodiverse at Open Doors Therapy:
Our South Bay Area autism therapy clinic serves high-functioning teens and adults with an ASD. This includes high functioning individuals who identify as having Aspergers, high functioning autism, undiagnosed autism traits, etc. and their families. Our autism therapists offer a variety of autism counseling services including individual counseling for autistic teens and adults, parent counseling, and group therapy. Also, our we offer several different social skills groups for neurodiverse working professionals, college students with autistic traits, gifted youth & caregivers, autistic adults, women who identify as neurodiverse, a summer social skills college transition training program for youth transitioning to college, teens & caregivers, and a mothers group. Please call or email our South Bay Area counseling office for more information on how we can best serve you.