10 Things Autistic People Want Their Therapists to KnowA. Stout
“Individuals diagnosed with ASD who have seen a therapist—do you have anything you want your therapists to be aware of, that has bothered you in past sessions, or tips for them?”
It was a question that one amazing therapist, who goes by the username InterstellarRubiks, posted on Reddit for the autism community to answer.
The autism community responded to this call for information, so take a look at what they had to say. Their answers are valuable not just for therapists, but for parents, too, as they advocate for their children in whatever therapy they’re in—whether that’s ABA, OT, or traditional talk therapy.
(Note: responses have been lightly edited for length, grammar, and to eliminate some profanity.)
10. “I don’t want to not be autistic.”
“Not everything should be my problem that I have to fix. The goal of treatment should not get me to be thinking like a neurotypical.” —Reddit user tyrelltsura
9. Examples of Good Therapy Goals
“Finding a place as an autistic person in the world, having good coping methods for sensory stress, being able to deal with the rejection some will make you experience without this making one break or be ashamed for who you are, learning better communication (not NT communication, but better communication AS AN AUTISTIC) and how to use one’s communication to advocate for and ‘stand up for’ oneself and help with actively pursuing the positive aspects of autism such as the intense interests that are a major source of happiness (including using these as a medium for social acceptance or otherwise having a place in the world AS AN AUTISTIC rather than as a copy of a NT). Also help with the trauma that autistics often experience.” —Reddit user _STLICTX_
8. “If someone with autism comes in for help with another problem, then don’t focus on the autism.”
“Offer your help, but if that’s not what’s important to the client, then don’t force it! I went to a therapist because I was having a hard time doing things (executive function issues), and she taught me about feelings and social skills. Which is all fine and dandy, I did need that, but it did nothing for my grades or cleanliness.” —Reddit user pm-me-your-unicycles
7. “Always be prepared to alter your office space.”
“Everyone is going to have different sensory needs and isms. My therapist has Lego people that some love to play with. I nearly had a meltdown when I came in and they were all over the place. She now makes sure they’re lined up with military precision before I come in. 99% of my appointments, the lights are off. I’ll often wander the room and ‘fix’ stuff while I talk, so make sure whatever is out is okay to be messed with. The liberty to do whatever it is that lets me speak freely is really important to me.” —Reddit user PhoenixDogsWifey
6. “Explain at the end of an appointment what you’re going to do next appointment.”
“It takes away a lot of stress-causing uncertainty.” —Reddit user verfmeer
See the next page for other important things autistic people want their therapists to know!