Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects how people communicate, interact and perceive the world. It is often associated with behaviours such as repetitive movements which may soothe or stimulate, having sensory sensitivities, and focussed or special interests.
However, autism is a spectrum that encompasses a wide range of traits and experiences, and it can manifest differently in different individuals.
One of the groups that has been historically underdiagnosed and misunderstood in the autism community is women and girls. For a long time, autism was considered a predominantly male condition, and the diagnostic criteria and tools were based on male characteristics. This led to many women and girls being overlooked, misdiagnosed or dismissed as having other issues, such as anxiety, depression or personality disorders.
However, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness and recognition of the diversity and complexity of autism in women and girls. Researchers, clinicians and advocates have been challenging the gender stereotypes and biases that have obscured the true nature and prevalence of autism in females. They have also been exploring the unique strengths and challenges that women and girls on the spectrum face, such as social masking, camouflaging, identity formation, self-esteem, relationships, mental health and well-being.
In therapy, we can discuss some of the latest insights on autism, and how they can help us to better understand, support and celebrate this amazing group of people.
Neurodiversity is a concept that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of human brains and minds. It includes people who have autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette syndrome, and other neurological variations. Neurodiverse people often have unique perspectives, skills, and talents that can contribute to society in various ways. However, they may also struggle with some aspects of life that are designed for neurotypical people, such as school, work, or social interactions.
Strengths based therapy
Strengths based therapy is an approach that focuses on the positive aspects of a person, rather than their problems or deficits. It aims to help people identify and use their strengths, values, interests, and goals to cope with challenges and achieve their potential. Strengths based therapy can be especially beneficial for neurodiverse people, who may face stigma, discrimination, or misunderstanding from others due to their differences in thinking, learning, or communicating.
Support and understanding
If you think you may be neurodiverse, strengths based therapy can help you to:
- Explore what you need to feel understood and supported
- Discover and appreciate your strengths and abilities
- Develop a positive self-image and self-esteem
- Enhance your resilience and coping skills
- Find motivation to reach meaningful goals
- Embrace your identity and diversity
Strengths based therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. As with all therapy, your sessions would be tailored to your individual needs and integrated within regular psychotherapy that addresses specific issues, challenges or trauma that you may be dealing with.
This perspective is not about ignoring or denying the difficulties that you may experience. It is about acknowledging your journey, giving space for the difficulties you’ve been through, and for some, it will be ridding shame and the pressures of conformity.
Get in Touch
If you would like to discuss neurodiversity for yourself or someone you love, get in touch.