Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July

Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July. Holidays and special events can be challenging for people on the Autism Spectrum. Sensory issues are common where sights and sound can create anxiety and physical discomfort.

Asperger’s And The Fourth Of July

People with autism might have these sensitivities:

Fireworks, for example may be desired to watch but can create noise sensitivity as they tend to be loud. During the fourth of July the combination of fireworks and crowds intensifies the experience. People suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder may take an alternative to watching fireworks on TV or other streaming platforms rather than in person.

Fourth of July Holiday Tips for Neurodiverse Marriages: (courtesy of https://www.differentbrains.org/)

Prepare in advance

It’s important that your loved one with autism is aware of what he/she will experience, from the people they will be seeing to the food and beverages they may be consuming. This is best done no less than a couple of days in advance. Using social stories or visuals to prepare them may be effective.

Make things comfortable

Bring anything that would help them remain stress-free during the event. Something like a blanket, a favorite toy, or a favorite snack could be effective in providing a distraction from a potentially stressful environment.

Have a plan to deal with loud sounds

Fireworks can be very overwhelming, so bringing sound-canceling headphones or even covering their ears is the easiest way to help heal the senses for the time being.

Be sure to take breaks

Be aware of how they are feeling. Pay attention to their body language and expressions. It may also be wise to develop a signal when things get uncomfortable for them. Prepare an escape route and a safe place to go unwind in case things do take a turn for the worst.

Ensure familiarity

Surrounding them with too many different things, like people they don’t usually see or food they don’t usually eat, may stress them out. As suggested earlier, prepare ahead and bring something that they like and are familiar with.

Keep an eye out

Not everyone with autism is sensitive to the same things. Some with “different brains” are considered fearless, and may be more fascinated with fireworks. Needless to say, be sure to keep from getting too close to any fireworks or fires.

Just have fun

Not everything you’ll encounter on the Fourth of July is avoidable, and you can’t spend every second of the evening worrying about what could happen. Once you have prepared beforehand and planned everything out, just be sure to take the evening as it goes and enjoy yourselves.

As I am married to an Asperger Husband, fourth of July crowds and loud noises are uncomfortable. Add social anxiety on top of that and the event can prove not fun for either myself or my husband. As a Neureodiverse Couples Counselor, I put strategies in place to manage sensory issues for such holidays. Past years we have stayed home and watched fireworks. This also helped keep my emotional support animal company as he is disturbed by the loud noise. This year we will be staying at a hotel that faces Sea World’s fireworks and celebrate enjoying what the general public will be experiencing.

Knowing what your options and expectations are is key in managing neurodiverse relationship issues.

For more information on Spectrum relationships contact me at (858) 735-1139 or at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Strategies For Making An Asperger Marriage Work

Strategies For Making An Asperger Marriage Work. Just like anything else, if you want a favorable outcome put a system in place that includes acquiring communication tools, implementation of a process using those tools, and an open mind putting in the effort. In my own neurodiverse marriage I have done just that. As a certified neurodiverse couples counselor/coach I put individualized systems in place where moving forward is possible. Traditional marriage counseling is not effective and can sometimes be detrimental for good prognosis. Strategies can help build meaningful relationships and develop emotional connectedness so communication is less transaction and more relational.

Strategies For Making An Asperger Marriage Work

14 Strategies courtesy of Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)

  • Pursuing a diagnosis or profile to acknowledge/appreciate characteristics or traits
  • Accepting the diagnosis to the degree that it helps partners to continue to seek information
  • Staying motivated
  • Understanding how AS impacts the individual
  • Managing depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Creating a Relationship Schedule
  • Meeting each other’s sexual needs
  • Bridging parallel play
  • Coping with sensory overload and meltdowns
  • Expanding Theory of Mind
  • Improving communication
  • Co-parenting strategies
  • Managing expectations and suspending judgment

Strategies For Making An Asperger Marriage Work

All of the steps and strategies described can be addressed in neurodiverse couples counseling. In my own marriage these strategies help both my AS husband and myself gain awareness of our own individual patterns of behavior, and learn how they can make both attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to get more out of our relationship. As a neurodiverse couples counselor, I facilitate conversations and help both partners learn better communication skills. I addition, I help couples brainstorm, strategize, connect emotionally, and problem-solve around sensory integration issues, meltdowns, and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as talk about sexual needs.

 

While many of the issues and challenges that some couples in an AS marriage face can seem similar, it is important to remember that every individual with AS is different, and each marriage unique. Not all of these strategies will be equally effective for or apply to everyone. Each couple has to brainstorm and trouble-shoot their marriage based on what works for their unique situation and needs. As in any marriage, the key practices for anyone seeking a happy and loving relationship are awareness, understanding, compassion, connection, respect, passion, and trust.

 

For more information about making your asperger marriage work contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call me at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

 

 

 

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Relationships are complex. The skills we use to build and maintain personal relationships are innate and unlearned. Others are acquired from our life experiences and role modeled from those around us. Some relationships are healthy and functional. Others are dysfunctional and/or abusive. In the beginning of any new relationship the atmosphere is fun loving and fairly easy. After the Honeymoon Stage people let their hair down and show us their true selves. Sometimes those true selves don’t make appropriate partners. If you want to know what’s behind your bad behavior, the behavior that sabotages harmony, you have to understand what happened to you growing up. It doesn’t have to take forever to do that.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Couples in healthy relationships have clear boundaries and mutual trust. The Conflict Resolution Stage is where most couples stand the test of time. With conflict resolution skills they are able to manage their differences without damaging their relationship. We all have different perspectives. If we can show empathy and validate our partner’s perspective, that not only shows you love and care for them, you have the maturity to obtain insight about others.

As a Marriage Counselor, I work with couples who have the capacity to see each other’s perspective and those who do not. In acquiring the tools for effective communication the couple either moves forward or is stuck at an impasse where they seem unable to exercise the system put in place for conflict resolution.

When at an impasse an assessment is made to determine whether one or both partners can’t or won’t allow the tools to manage their conflict.  I see couples who keep themselves in vicious cycles because one refuses to accept the challenges of the other and remains in an unhealthy and unhappy situation. When enough time goes by and there is seemingly no progress from the partner with little to no empathy for the other’s perspective one or both may decide to leave the relationship.

I work with many couples who need help deciding “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Through our counseling both have the opportunity to make an informed decision as they progress through their process or lack thereof  and that becomes the answer to that question.

For more information about why you do what you do that sabotages your relationship contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Stress Free Valentine’s Day Tips

Stress free Valentine’s Day tips.  As a Marriage Counselor, I’ve noticed some married couples tend to downplay Valentine’s Day.  It could be because they’ve been married for so long they may unknowingly be taking each other for granted.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons they are receiving counseling. When talking to the men in my practice they say Valentine’s Day is a very stressful Holiday for them. Plans they have made or gifts they have given in the past were unappreciated or criticized and sometimes they feel they can never get it right. Women say their partners don’t care for all that “lovey dovey” stuff and just want sex.  Seems we’ve lost the sentiment of what Valentine’s Day is all about being so commercialized taking away the simplicity of what it is intended to represent. If you’re in a neurodiverse marriage, Valentine’s Day and other holidays are big stressors for the person on the Autism Spectrum. Discuss expectations and be explicit rather than implicit about plans.

Stress Free Valentine’s Day Tips

It’s a celebration of Love.  Love shouldn’t stress you out.  If it does take a moment to slow down, be mindful (stay in the moment), and refocus. Turn the day into an opportunity to look at your relationships in a new way.  Valentine’s Day is a reminder to show appreciation for the people we care most about.  And it can be a day to do something special for yourself too.

A stressful Valentine’s Day can look like this:  Buying expensive roses that you can’t really afford. Spending money on a card that cost $8.00 and a box of chocolates at $25+.  Dinner reservation where everywhere in town cost double or triple.  You rush home from work to get to that reservation.  Get redressed so you look refreshed.  Hit traffic.  Pay for parking.  Stay out late.  May or may not have sex. End the evening late.  Work the next day.  Tired.
Stress Free Valentine’s Day Tips
A more joyful and relaxed Valentine’s Day can look like this:
  • Give something thoughtful, personalized, and meaningful to someone you care about. A hand written note with a list of things you appreciate and are thankful for about those loved ones. It shows you are paying attention and care.
  • You can’t go wrong with candy.
  • Flowers given the day before or after, as pricing is reasonable.
  • If you want to do the dinner thing, the day before or day after always makes for a stress-free evening as there are fewer crowds and the pricing is reasonable.
  • Most importantly talk about Valentine’s Day expectations.
Being married for 23 years Valentine’s Day can tend to be just another day for me, as well. In the past, I planned a special dinner for friends and relatives of those with no significant other as some became widowed or had recent breakups. I thanked them for their friendship and told them something about them I appreciated. They left with happy memories of stories from our past and party favors to reflect the evening which included chocolates and handwritten Valentine’s Day cards. The event not only made me and my family members happy it brought joy to our guest and made for a wonderful celebration of love.
If you’d like more information about how to make your Valentine’s Day a more enjoyable experience please call me at (858) 735-1139.