World Autism Awareness

World Autism Awareness. April is the month for Autism Awareness. Autism Speaks is an organization who focuses on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support. Every April Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Month, beginning with United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

World Autism Awareness

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor, I tell my clients, “we’re all on the spectrum to some degree.” When working with couples where one or both are on that spectrum, neurology matters. What are the odds of being on the spectrum? In 2021, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2018 data. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
These children will grow up needing tools to become more effective communicators. Being able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and assertive enough to ask for what they need is crucial to being in any relationship. Being more relational and less transactional makes for the intimacy required to distinguish between romantic partners and roommates.

As a neurodiverse couples coach, I am often asked if getting a diagnosis is important. It’s not that important for adults to get a formal diagnosis. Minors tend to receive one as it supports their need for community resources. Working with adults I don’t place labels on anyone who may be on the spectrum, rather, I help both partners acquire tools to become more relational rather than transactional.

Being on the spectrum is a challenge to the ASD individual, as well as their families. It takes a lot of love and effort to get the help needed so all can enjoy what life has to offer. Differences can make some people feel uncomfortable. These people can act out their prejudices, fear, ignorance, etc.

Autism has been receiving more attention than the last couple of decades. Understanding and being curious about ASD beats being judgmental and critical. Learn how to talk to someone on the spectrum. Neurotypicals and ASD individuals speak different languages. These differences don’t make one or the other any better. Just different. I grew up with the notion that different was bad or wrong. No, it’s just different. As soon as we understand and respect other’s differences and their perspectives can we live in a world that is more embracing of the diversity that is our reality.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

Book Review Happy Me Happy We

Book Review Happy Me Happy We. Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2022
Book Review Happy Me Happy We
“This was a delightful, quick, and easy-to-read book chalk full of powerful and insightful information. I am going through a difficult divorce and this book is a huge part of my self healing. This book makes you look in the mirror and really examine yourself and ask difficult questions so that you can grow and evolve. What do I want? What does a healthy relationship look like? How do I break out of codependency? The best part of the book are Sara’s anecdotal stories. She is extremely raw, vulnerable, and personal and gives the reader hope that they too can have a happy ending like hers. After reading this, you will become educated, aware, and resourceful as you step into your power and create a better life. I will be using this as my new self love & relationship guide as I move forward. Thank you Sarah!”

Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia?

Does Your Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia? What is Alexithymia? Alexithymia is a Greek term literally meaning “without words for feelings.” It is the inability to express or describe one’s feelings. Individuals with Alexithymia typically display a lack of imaginative thought, have difficulty distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations, and engage in logical externally oriented thought. Because Autism is a spectrum condition, symptoms and their severity can fluctuate among individuals with Alexithymia.

Does Your Asperger Husband Have Alexithymia?

As a neurodiverse couples counselor and coach, I assess for incapability factors when teaching communication tools to couples needing emotional connection and effective communication. The spouse on the spectrum, typically the husband, is who I find have more difficulty utilizing some of the tools and implementing the process to achieve the goal of feeling more relational.

In romantic relationships being able to share thoughts and feelings is important to developing and maintaining intimacy. Some Asperger husbands are not able to express how they feel and sometimes say they don’t understand their wives’ feelings. This “mind blindness” can create a major disconnect as the process of sharing feelings is crucial to being an intimate partner versus just being roommates.

Signs of Alexithymia include:

  • Difficulty expressing and identifying emotions
  • Difficulty with introspection
  • Logical thinking (more black and white)
  • Emotional distance

  • Confusion about others’ emotions
  • Limited creativity
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Aches and pains from stress
  • Infrequent dreaming

I work with a neurodiverse couple whose husband claims he cannot relate to feelings and needing to be expressive of them. He further states during sessions he is distracted by his thoughts of building and rebuilding computers, machines, and concentrating on household matters, while trying to take in the the tools and relational process being asked of him. We develop a system where their plan is more concrete and structured so he is able to follow through with the tools behaviorally for becoming more relational and hopefully feel the ramifications of his effort (feelings). Doing this helps his neurotypical wife feel some kind of connection with him.

Not being able to identify and express feelings can be very challenging for the person on the spectrum and the neurodiverse relationship. Strategies are different for every couple so it’s important to talk about what can present as helpful in the brainstorming.

In working with my neurodiverse couples we put a system in place where both learn how to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feelings, and ask for what is needed and wanted. These relational tools set the foundation for long term success.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy. For information about my services and fee please text me your email address at (858) 735-1139.

 

Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis?

Does Your Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis? In 2013, the term Aspergers became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) renamed bv the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). There is currently no specific test or diagnostic criteria for diagnosing Asperger’s in adults.

Tablet with diagnosis Aspergers

As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor and coach, I inform new clients it’s not that important to get a formal diagnosis. Minors tend to receive one as it supports their need for community resources. Working with adults I don’t place labels on anyone who may be on the spectrum, rather, I help both partners acquire tools to become more relational rather than transactional. We’re all on the spectrum to some degree. Emotional connectedness is what everyone wants.

My husband has Asperger’s so I can relate to what neurodiverse couples go through. Surviving an Asperger Marriage is possible. Learning each others’ love language is a start to establishing that intimacy.

Asperger Husband Need A Diagnosis?

Couple with an emotional connection

Those who are interested in taking a self-assessment test or looking at an Asperger’s profile (AANE.org) may do so to see where on the spectrum one falls into. Although this is not a diagnosis, it may provide important insights that a person can discuss with their doctor or neurodiverse counselor/coach.

As Asperger’s is no longer diagnosed as a condition in and of itself it is important to see couples through a neurological lens as neurology matters helping each partner understand how they process information and how it effects their communication. A partner with Asperger’s has different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. They also have problems with social communication and interaction with some restricted repetitive behaviors that can hinder their ability to connect with their neurotypical partner (wife). These characteristics can make relationships challenging.

My work with neurodiverse couples consist of putting a system in place, acquiring tools for initiating conversation, sharing thoughts and feelings, and asking for what they need and want. I act as a translator for what may be construed as unkind and rigid behavior, as well as differentiating between spectrum behavior and narcissism. Believe me your Asperger husband isn’t doing hurtful things on purpose.

For more information about my services and fees please text me at (858) 735-1139 with your email address.

 

Are You Yourself In Public?

Are You Yourself In Public? How do you see the world? How does the world see you? As we are products of our childhood we see the world through the eyes of that young child. Our parents did the best they could in raising us but, they too, are products of their upbringing. Depending on what your inner child experienced, it’s the ability of our functional adult to manage the good, the bad and the ugly feelings so we see the world more objectively and with some perspective.

Are You Yourself In Public?

Who do you let the world see when you leave the confines of your home? When you return home who do you become? Are they the same person. We can wear masks to emulate a persona that fit into specific situations and environments. We tend to hide behind them so we fit in and are accepted.

If you are on the Autism Spectrum (have Asperger’s ) you may “mask” where you behave in ways that emulate neurotyical behavior at your work environment or relationships to appear “normal” and to fit in. Masking is a complex and costly survival strategy for autistic people. It generally involves intentionally learning neurotypical behaviors and mimicking them in social situations. Sometimes masking focuses on hiding behaviors that people feel won’t be accepted.

Are You Yourself In Public?

Masking can include behaviors like these:

  • forcing or faking eye contact during conversations
  • imitating smiles and other facial expressions
  • mimicking gestures
  • hiding or minimizing personal interests
  • developing a repertoire of rehearsed responses to questions
  • scripting conversations
  • pushing through intense sensory discomfort including loud noises
  • disguising stimming behaviors (hiding a jiggling foot or trading a preferred movement for one that’s less obvious)

People may mask autism for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • feeling safe and avoiding stigma
  • avoiding mistreatment or bullying
  • succeeding at work
  • attracting a romantic partner
  • making friends and other social connections
  • fitting in or feeling a sense of belonging

I work with women married to men with Asperger’s who state their husband appear quite normal while dating. Some even dated as long as three years. Once married, the odd behavior manifested its way into the relationship creating more transactional communication. Without the masking (as it resembles acting) the relational piece waned therefore creating discord in these wives marriages.

Are You Yourself In Public?

Women with Asperger’s tend to do a lot more masking than men as females tend to want emotional connection. Masking is fine as long as the neurodiverse couple learns tools for communication as they speak different languages.

Masking is quite tiring as it takes a lot of effort in being someone other than their true self. Masking often times creates the need for more down time to recharge. My neurodiverse couples say they both need to be mindful of how much down time they each need to manage the ongoing relationship challenges.

For more information about masking and neurodiversity in your relationship please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

 

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