Neurodiversity at 1A

“We will work with you in session to learn to adapt in a self-connected way, providing tactics for improving how you navigate life, while also helping you to find compassion for yourself that will create lasting change.”

ADHD

A child struggles to pay attention in school and she is labeled an “ADD child.” The cynical view is that all children struggle with attention in school and ADD is a convenient catch-all for selling drugs and making a teacher’s life easier. And the view is not without merit. After all, school can be boring and all children need stimuli to stay connected and focused. But a normal child struggling to cope is a very different animal than a child living with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD (ADD with added hyperactivity).

And when untreated, as the child grows older, the traits of ADD become more and more engrained. The feeling of always being on the outside of things. The constant struggle with organization. The need for near-crisis in order to find the motivation to meet deadlines or unmet promises. The constant disavowal of time*. The feeling of despair around tasks that “normal people” handle without even thinking twice (paying bills). Adding layers of complexity to almost any task or project. The difficulty in finishing tasks. Even the desire for sleep when sitting down to tackle difficult work. The list goes on and on.

And understandably, the adult with ADD has learned to adapt to nearly every situation in order to stay afloat. These often brilliant adaptations are useful, and help her to avoid being “found out”. But they are exhausting. In time, the wear and tear on the mind and body of any adult living with ADD has repercussions that extend beyond the self and begin to erode the bonds with loved ones including spouses and children.

The good news is that those same brilliant adaptations can become exceptional aids in scaffolding the adult with ADD in ways that are entirely enviable to everyone in the “normal” world. And when used properly, with a degree of self-understanding and forgiveness at every turn, the adult with ADD can emerge as a whole and grounded person whose adaptations are no longer viewed as a crutch but as a super-power.

Sadly, most adults with ADD have such a harsh inner critic that they would disavow their difference and live with the frustration of never measuring up to their own expectations rather than accepting that ADD and ADHD are not just labels but real deficits. As a result, the “ADD adult” spends their life quietly experiencing their difference with a cloud of shame overhead. They are the last to admit there’s something special going on here.

By now, you’re probably beginning to understand that we know a lot about both child and adult ADD and ADHD, and have clinical expertise in treating them. We will work with you in session to learn to adapt in a self-connected way, providing tactics for improving how you navigate life, while also helping you to find compassion for yourself that will create lasting change.

Like anxiety, ADD begins with heightened sensitivity. And in time, our goal will be to show you how ADD is no badge of shame but a distinction to be proud of. So often, it accompanies intelligence and creativity, and it is time you began to regard yourself in a way where you can see it and believe it!

A child struggles to pay attention in school and she is labeled an “ADD child.” The cynical view is that all children struggle with attention in school and ADD is a convenient catch-all for selling drugs and making a teacher’s life easier. And the view is not without merit. After all, school can be boring and all children need stimuli to stay connected and focused. But a normal child struggling to cope is a very different animal than a child living with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD (ADD with added hyperactivity).

And when untreated, as the child grows older, the traits of ADD become more and more engrained. The feeling of always being on the outside of things. The constant struggle with organization. The need for near-crisis in order to find the motivation to meet deadlines or unmet promises. The constant disavowal of time*. The feeling of despair around tasks that “normal people” handle without even thinking twice (paying bills). Adding layers of complexity to almost any task or project. The difficulty in finishing tasks. Even the desire for sleep when sitting down to tackle difficult work. The list goes on and on.

And understandably, the adult with ADD has learned to adapt to nearly every situation in order to stay afloat. These often brilliant adaptations are useful, and help her to avoid being “found out”. But they are exhausting. In time, the wear and tear on the mind and body of any adult living with ADD has repercussions that extend beyond the self and begin to erode the bonds with loved ones including spouses and children.

The good news is that those same brilliant adaptations can become exceptional aids in scaffolding the adult with ADD in ways that are entirely enviable to everyone in the “normal” world. And when used properly, with a degree of self-understanding and forgiveness at every turn, the adult with ADD can emerge as a whole and grounded person whose adaptations are no longer viewed as a crutch but as a super-power.

Sadly, most adults with ADD have such a harsh inner critic that they would disavow their difference and live with the frustration of never measuring up to their own expectations rather than accepting that ADD and ADHD are not just labels but real deficits. As a result, the “ADD adult” spends their life quietly experiencing their difference with a cloud of shame overhead. They are the last to admit there’s something special going on here.

By now, you’re probably beginning to understand that we know a lot about both child and adult ADD and ADHD, and have clinical expertise in treating them. We will work with you in session to learn to adapt in a self-connected way, providing tactics for improving how you navigate life, while also helping you to find compassion for yourself that will create lasting change.

Like anxiety, ADD begins with heightened sensitivity. And in time, our goal will be to show you how ADD is no badge of shame but a distinction to be proud of. So often, it accompanies intelligence and creativity, and it is time you began to regard yourself in a way where you can see it and believe it!

“I can do this with half my brain tied behind my back,” I used to joke. No joke, that. “It’s precisely how I have done many things.”

GABOR MATÉ

Autism

“I’m not quite sure what to talk about, but I just know that life shouldn’t be this hard.”

This is a frequent starting point of therapy for adults who are wondering if they are autistic or those who know that they are autistic but have never received neurodiversity-affirming therapy. Being autistic is a unique and wonderful way to be, but our autistic clients have often been made to feel like there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed. The truth is, of course, that autism actually needs to be better understood and embraced. Our mission in therapy is to help our autistic clients develop greater self-acceptance and work toward building a more fulfilling life, taking into consideration the strengths and challenges that go along with their neurotype.

Thinking of autism as a linear spectrum is an outdated concept. Autism is actually a constellation of different characteristics (social, communication, and sensory differences, to name a few) and there is great variability within autistic individuals in terms of which of these characteristics they experience and how they manifest. A major focus in therapy early on for late-diagnosed autistic adults is getting to know themselves and understand what autism looks like for them. They may yearn for more social interaction but struggle to develop fulfilling relationships. They may experience challenges at work because a traditional desk job does not fit well with their unique thinking style and sensory needs. The onus has historically been put on autistic people to fit into the neurotypical world, which is an unfair and damaging approach. At 1A Wellness, we focus on helping our autistic clients identify ways that their environment could become a more inclusive space for them and advocate for themselves.

We often work with adults who are struggling to develop fulfilling personal and professional lives and feel a great sense of frustration and shame because other people seem to glide through life easily in comparison to them. Some of them wonder if they are autistic and are afraid of this possibility due to the stigma and stereotypes that exist about autism. But, the truth is that for most autistic individuals, understanding and accepting their autistic identity is the pathway toward a better life.

-Carrie Potter, PhD

We do, however, recognize that our autistic clients still have to navigate a world that is built for neurotypical people, and this can lead them to experience significant challenges. Many of our autistic clients were bullied growing up or deemed “behavioral problems” in school simply for exhibiting autistic characteristics (e.g. stimming, sensory overwhelm) that were poorly understood. As adults, they often experience pressure to conform to neurotypical social standards – to make small talk, a lot of eye contact – instead of socializing in the way that comes naturally to them. It can seem like the only way to be socially successful is to mask their autistic traits and act as neurotypical as possible, but we know how harmful masking is. It does not lead to developing satisfying relationships because it’s important to be able to be your authentic self in your relationships. We have heard countless stories from autistic adults about how much masking leads to increased loneliness and burn out.

At 1A Wellness, we want to serve not only as therapists, but also as allies to our autistic clients. We want to help create the change that is starting to happen in our society to make it more inclusive of autistic individuals. In therapy, we want to help our autistic clients develop a sense of pride in their identity. It’s exciting to be living in a time when people are talking about what they like about being autistic: the ability to hyperfocus, to be honest, loyal, creative, passionate, and accepting of differences. We listen to the voices of autistic adults as the experts on their own experience, and together we think outside of the box and find a pathway forward to having the kinds of relationships, jobs, and life experiences that bring joy and fulfillment.

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Note on Health Insurance

1A Wellness is a self-pay out-of-network practice. As such, we do not accept health insurance. But if your healthcare plan includes an out-of-network option, partial reimbursement may be available. See our FAQ section for more information.

Note on Health Insurance

1A Wellness is a self-pay out-of-network practice. As such, we do not accept health insurance. But if your healthcare plan includes an out-of-network option, partial reimbursement may be available. See our FAQ section for more information.