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NEURODIVERSITY & mental health

Due to differences and difficulties conforming to a neurotypical world it is common for autistic people and people with ADHD to experience mental health difficulties. I have experience in working with neurodiverse people and a qualification in 'understanding autism' and 'Understanding ADHD'. I have also received training to make my practice accessible and adaptable to neurodiverse people. I aim to facilitate effective communication and create an accessible and engaging environment.​ When working with neurodiverse people I creatively adapt and adjust CBT, DBT and Spoon Theory to meet the strengths and needs of the client depending on their issues and goals.

ADAPTED CBT & DBT

ADAPTED SPOON THEORY


 

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) explores thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physiological symptoms in the present, to facilitate change.

  • It is interactive and educational.

  • Client and therapist working together to test perceptions and develop more helpful alternatives and coping skills.​ 

  • DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) can help to develop mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and relationship skills that can influence acceptance and change.

  • Originally developed as a theory and tool to cope with chronic illness.

  • Adapted as a tangible way to support autistic people and people with ADHD.

  • Spoon Theory helps people manage their executive functioning, psychological, emotional and sensory needs which can help clients to gain self compassion and autonomy.

Autism

Autism means that the development of the brain, cognitive style and wider nervous system in autistic people differs from typical neurodevelopment.

 

Social Interaction

  • Difficulty in recognising and expressing feelings or intentions.

  • Difficulty in predicting others.

  • Social anxiety that can lead to isolation, breakdown of relationships.

 

Communication

  • Difficulty recognising and responding typically to; tone, intonation, gestures, proximity, facial and body signs.

  • Difficulty in gauging when to use types of communication in different settings.

  • Difficulty building effective relationships which can cause missed opportunities for achieving rapport and influence.

 

Repetitive and obsessive behaviours 

  • Behaviours that develop as a therapeutic response to difficulties. They can provide structure, predictability and confidence.

  • The impact of society’s perception can affect autistic peoples' mood, anxiety state, sense of belonging and feeling of acceptance.

 

Sensory processing

  • Sensory processing differences can mean over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to specific sights, sounds, smells or textures.

  • Senses include; touch, auditory, vision, taste, smell, body position (Vestibular) and body sense (Proprioception).

 

Planning abilities

  • Differences in planning ability.

  • Difficulty in sustaining attention, shifting between tasks, locating objects and remembering the order of things.

  • Difficulty adapting to change and spontaneity.

Camouflaging

  • Autistic people may mask their difficulty to fit societal expectations and to feel accepted.

  • External behaviour that doesn’t match their internal state can cause emotional and psychological conflict, increasing anxiety and low mood.

 

Seeking and responding to support

  • Difficulty recognising and accessing support which can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

DIFFERENCES & DIFFICULTIES

ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) means that the brain has different mental processes to neurotypical people which can affect concentration, activity and impulse levels. People with ADHD can be more likely to experience difficulties with mental health.

There are three subtypes of ADHD;

  • Inattentive type - this type of ADHD is characterised predominately by inattention and distractibility without hyperactivity.

  • Hyperactive/impulsive type - characterised by impulsive and hyperactive behaviours without inattention and distractibility.

  • Combined type - the most common type of ADHD, characterised by impulsive and hyperactive behaviours as well as inattention and distractibility.

  • Difficulty with attention to detail.

  • Often starting new tasks before finishing old ones.

  • Difficulty with organisational skills.

  • Difficulty focussing or prioritising.

  • Often losing or misplacing things.

  • Forgetfulness.

  • Restlessness.

  • Using a direct approach, difficulty in enabling a reciprocal conversation.

  • Mood swings, irritability and a short temper.

  • Difficulty dealing with stress.

  • Feeling impatient.

  • Taking risks in activities, which can jeopardise safety.

  • Difficulty with executive functioning.

  • Rejection sensitivity.

  • Difficulty maintaining connection with others.

  • Sleep issues.

  • Noise and light sensitivity.

  • Hyper focus and hyper fixation.

  • Low self esteem.

  • All or nothing thinking and actions.

  • Difficulty adapting to workplace environments and meeting deadlines.

  • Time management difficulties.

DIFFERENCES & DIFFICULTIES

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