Parents of autistic and other neurodivergent children have numerous options for support and services, but when your child is actually an adult, it can feel as though the support and services available to parents become basically non-existent. This doesn’t mean your struggles have ended though. In fact, you are very likely just experiencing different challenges related to your adult launching into independence – whether they are 19 or 39. In essence, adulthood is the parenting phase no one told you about.
Parents need support and education, too. We frequently hear, “We just want to help, but we don’t know how. We don’t want to overstep boundaries, and also…my offspring doesn’t seem to know where to start.” What are parents to do??
Other parents enjoy meeting on closed Facebook or other social media platforms.
Some parents work with a therapist or coach to get their needs met. A quick note: therapists are licensed by individual states, and help clients with the mental and emotional health aspects of life, including processing emotions, learning new coping skills, etc. Coaches are not licensed and can work across state lines. Coaches tend to help clients identify a goal in the near term (a couple of months out, for example), and then help the client build skills to reach that goal. Similar, and yet some important difference. Both approaches really require a good fit between client and professional, and in this instance, optimally the expertise regarding neurodivergence.
Using both therapy and coaching models, parents have the opportunity to get education, support, and advice on their individual challenges. Both therapists and coaches can help parents connect with each other, pull for strengths, and normalize the very real struggles. Both therapists and coaches are also likely to highlight successes and have a positive (yet realistic) mindset.
Parenting can be daunting, but many of us are here to help! We got you. And you got this!