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FAQs About Neurodivergent Life Coaching

Thriving Jumping Neurodivergent People

How does coaching differ from therapy or mental health counseling?

Therapists and counselors focus on the past through the present, and coaches focus on the present and help you create the future you desire. Whereas therapists and counselors deal with a patient’s mental conditions and processing trauma, a life coach never addresses these issues. The role of a coach is to encourage clients in self-reflection, plan for the future through goal-setting, create step-by-step plans for achieving goals, and develop important skills where needed. Coaching has a very practical focus on helping clients identify and accomplish goals that lead to a better quality of life.

 

Normally, it's beneficial for the client to start with therapy and then progress into coaching when healing is complete or at least has begun. A neurodiversity-informed therapist is worth their weight in gold, but unfortunately, I hear from many of my clients that they've had suboptimal experiences in mental health counseling, and they want to try something different. 

It’s important to understand that coaching is not mental health counseling. While coaching can positively impact anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction, coaches never diagnose or treat mental health disorders, provide medical advice, or practice therapy. Coaching is never a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care, or substance abuse treatment, and it should never be used in place of any form of therapy. 

With your permission, we can speak with your care providers if this would be helpful. We are also obligated to refer clients in need of mental or physical health therapy to an appropriate licensed professional.

What is your approach to working with clients?

We provide highly individualized one-on-one coaching for people with autism, ADHD, and similar profiles.

 

We work collaboratively to identify measurable goals related to areas of life, such as relationships, mitigating executive functioning challenges, finding and maintaining employment, recovering from burnout, money management, college, and independent living. Then we collaborate to create a plan for achieving those goals by leveraging your strengths and figuring out how to overcome the obstacles in your path. This is a highly iterative, experimental process. Every eight weeks we will assess your progress toward these goals.

 

Typically, we meet for a 50-minute session each week for the first couple of months and then start reducing the frequency to give you increased opportunity to work on your goals independently between sessions. You will always have work to do toward your goals between sessions. We become your collaborator, cheerleader, and accountability partner.

 

​In parent coaching, we discuss your concerns and prioritize goals based on the importance and urgency of the challenges. In essence, we "coach the coach," helping you shift from a parental dynamic to that of a partnership with your adult child. We look for ways to make the biggest impact with the least effort. We combine parent education on autism and executive functioning challenges to facilitate understanding with problem-solving and skill-building. Always, we provide a non-judgmental listening ear for those who need someone to talk to who gets it, who can tell you that you are not alone, and that all your complex feelings are valid.

 

Quick check-ins by text and email are included for all active clients.

Do we meet online or in person?

We work with clients all over the world, so we typically meet via Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, or Skype. If you happen to live in the Denver/Boulder, Colorado area, we have the option of meeting in person. Current clients also receive email and text support between sessions as necessary.

Do you record the sessions?

We can provide you a video recording and text-searchable transcript of our sessions. We only record sessions with your explicit permission.

How long does it take?

The duration of coaching depends on the number of goals you have, how ambitious they are, and both your readiness and capacity for change. The average client works with us for about six months, but some are done in eight weeks, while others stay longer. We don't recommend starting coaching unless you can commit to eight sessions because it's very difficult to make measurable progress in less time. 

Is our work confidential?

Our work together is confidential with the exception of legally mandated reporting of child or adult mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation. I take every reasonable precaution to ensure the confidentiality of your information. If you have specific concerns, let's discuss them.

Are you certified?

It’s important to understand that coaching does not have the kind of rigorous training and oversight the mental health profession has. While there are numerous general life coaching training programs, few are relevant to the challenges that bring neurodivergent people or their parents to coaching. There are no regulations that dictate what practitioners must know in order to practice, and there is no accreditation or governance of practicing coaches. Therefore, it’s important to ask questions and understand the training and background of your coach to assess whether they have the skills you need.

Our head coach, Patty Laushman, is a certified Autism Life Coach through Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), a 15-year program that has coached 3,000+ teens and adults on the autism spectrum through their LifeMAP program that helps people on the spectrum achieve their life goals.

 

She is also certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Specialist and a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist. For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for education, healthcare, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES provides evidence-based training and certification programs created in partnership with its board of clinical and subject matter experts in conjunction with autistic individuals to provide professionals with a better understanding of autism and other neurodiversities.

 

The deepest insights she brings to coaching come from her lived experience with the help of numerous amazing doctors and therapists who have worked with her family over the years. She heavily leverages her experience parenting and home-educating a multi-exceptional, differently-wired child and being part of a neurodivergent family, as well as being neurodivergent herself. There is no class in the world that can teach this.

She has done and continues to do enough reading over the years to have earned an advanced degree, some of which is listed in her recommended reading list. If you are looking to help yourself, you will find great resources there.

Anyone coaching through Thrive Autism Coaching is hand-selected for their neurodiversity-informed approach to improving the lives of neurodiverse people combined with their training and skills.

What neurodivergences do your clients typically display?

To be clear, coaching is not therapy or mental health treatment, and coaches do not diagnose or treat mental health disorders. That said, many neurodivergent people end up with an alphabet soup of medical and educational diagnoses. Some clients have come to us with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), level 1, without cognitive impairment. If they were diagnosed prior to the DSM-5 release in 2013, they may have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, PDD-NOS, or high-functioning autism. Other clients have had diagnoses that can result in similar social and executive functioning challenges such as ADHD, social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD), giftedness, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, twice-exceptionality (2e), auditory processing disorder, pathological demand avoidance (PDA), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), anxiety, and more. Some clients may suspect a diagnosis of some kind, but either have not been assessed or have traits that are sub-threshold for diagnosis and have ended up without a diagnosis. If you experience the challenges that are often associated with any of these diagnoses, whether you have a diagnosis or not, let's talk!

Do I need a diagnosis to work with you?

Definitely not. We have supported many people who only knew they were “different” in some way and struggling. There are many things we can work on while you are working with professionals to get a formal diagnosis, and you may also decide you don’t want a formal diagnosis, which is fine too.

How do I know if you’re a fit for me or my adult child?

We offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your situation and determine if we are a fit for each other. If you fill out our contact form, you will receive an email with instructions for scheduling this.

How much does autism life coaching cost?

Coaching Sessions 

You may choose to pay-as-you-go, or prepurchase a package if you'd like a discounted rate. Package sessions expire one year from purchase. Note: Once you become a client, these rates include extended support between sessions through email and text messages. 

1 Session @ $195 (pay-as-you-go)

4 Sessions @ $700 ($175 each)

8 Sessions @ $1,200 ($150 each)

Do you take insurance?

Unfortunately, life coaching is not considered a medical expense, so it is not covered by health insurance. Some day this may be an expense covered by health insurance, but we are not there yet.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel or reschedule a session, please be respectful and give us at least 24 hours’ notice. This should be the exception, though. If you have not done the homework or worked on your goals, please do not cancel. Every one of our clients is very different, so coaching is a highly iterative, experimental process. This means we may have to try several different tactics before we figure out what works for you. We realize that many of our clients have experienced repeated soul-crushing failures, and if something is not working, we will work as a team to figure out what went wrong and adjust the plan. We have many tools in our toolboxes, and one or more are likely to work for YOU!

What if I have questions not covered here?

Feel free to reach out to us through our contact form and ask away!

How can I start working with you?

The first step is a complimentary 30-minute coaching call which you can schedule from our contact page. This will give us a chance to discuss your situation and explore whether our coaching team has someone who is the perfect fit!

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