Autism Therapy Online
Dr James Manning and Dr Nicola Ridgeway frequently offer therapy services to individuals with autism. Most commonly, therapy is offered to highly intelligent adolescents and adults who have significant autistic traits. The majority of people that we work with autistic traits do not have a formal diagnosis of autism. (Many individuals do not obtain a formal diagnosis of autism as assessments can be very expensive and/or there are long waiting lists for assessment.) Most commonly, individuals are self-diagnosed. This can occur as a result of completing assessments online or by being told by trusted others that they may be on the spectrum. Frequently, therapy requires a tailored approach, as many individuals with autism do not benefit from standard CBT or standard therapy approaches. Many individuals with autism prefer autism therapy online compared to in-person. Therapy can be completed online in a safe place. There is less chance of bumping into unknown people, and there are higher levels of perceived control.
Many individuals on the spectrum struggle to cope in a neurotypical world for a variety of reasons. This could be due to life transitions, energy depletion due to masking, post-trauma reactions, gender dysphoria, accessing emotions, OCD, friendship and relationship difficulties, eating disorders, self-harm, depression, shame about being different, heightened sensitivity, and difficulty understanding communication with others.
Below is a list of difficulties that many highly intelligent people with autism face:
Problems understanding figurative language
Many people on the spectrum find figurative language difficult to understand. Some examples of figurative language follow – Mr Jones went to church every Sunday, but went to Hell for what he did on a Monday!; There’s no use crying over spilt milk; My uncle told me that he was worried about kicking the bucket; By the time Paul had finished with them, they were like bees around a honey jar; Don’t go near that company, I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole.
Being misunderstood by others
Many people with autism struggle to share representations of their inner experiences. This can occur for many reasons. For example, many people with autism may not think it is necessary to communicate how they feel and do not see the benefit or value in others understanding their experience.
Problems adapting to sudden changes in schedules
People with autism often engage in predictive linear sequencing. This process involves running through a sequence of events in order to prepare the self for future eventualities. If life follows the predicted sequence, then stress is reduced and there is reduced likelihood of psychological distress. In contrast, distressing emotions tend to become more apparent when there are abrupt or unexpected changes to the expected routine or the predicted sequence is altered, for example, Mr Smith is coming to see you now, rather than at 3.00 o’clock as originally planned.
Feeling exhausted after social contact
Masking involves hiding aspect of the true self in order to show others a version of the self that may be approved of in some way by others. Making requires huge amounts of cognitive energy, that on occasions can leave the individual feeling exhausted after social interaction.
Heightened social anxiety
Many individuals with autistic traits find interacting socially highly distressing. Due to this autism therapy online is much more preferable than experiencing therapy face-to-face. There is no need to sit in a waiting room with unknown others, there are no worries about how to get to the appointment, and there are reduced interactions with others.
Difficulty maintaining conversation
Conversation can be difficult to maintain for people on the spectrum. This may be due to theory of mind issues (for example, finding it difficult to see the world through another person’s eyes), difficulty listening, talking while not monitoring feedback from others, heightened anxiety disrupting attentional processes, attention deficit problems etc.