Thrive Counseling Center
Therapy for Individuals, Couples & Family

Supporting Neurodiversity: Kids and Teens in Federal Way, WA

Does your child or teen:

Have a diagnosis, or suspected diagnosis, of Autism, Asperger’s, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD), and/or other Learning Disability?

Struggle to succeed in school?

Have challenges making and keeping healthy friendships?

Get totally overwhelmed when things don’t go exactly according to plan?

Do you worry that your child/teen doesn’t have what it takes to be successful in transitioning to college or living independently?

Supporting Your Child

Growing up isn’t always easy. 

Growing up with a neurodiverse brain (a brain that takes in information, processes, and responds to the world a little differently) can be even harder. 

We live in a world filled with norms and expectations that are based on the neurotypical brain, and neurotypical brain development. The child/teen with the neurodiverse brain can sometimes feel completely overwhelmed in wondering

“Where do I fit in?”
“Why do things like making friends seem to be easier for others than for me?” 
“Will I be able to do things like go to college, have a job, a relationship, or a family?”

The challenges that kids and teens with neurodiverse brains face are very real. These kids/teens are more likely to:

  • Struggle in school, both socially and academically
  • Suffer from depression and anxiety
  • Lose their confidence and motivation 
  • Experience bullying and/or relationships where they are being taken advantage of
  • Fail to launch successfully into college, and/or living independently

We consistently find that these kids/teens really benefit from having an ongoing working relationship with a therapist who is trained and experienced in working with individuals with neurodiverse brains.  

In our counseling with neurodiverse kids and teens, we can target challenge areas and support the development of what other children seem to pick up a little more naturally.   

In addition to our one-on-one counseling and coaching work with neurodiverse kids/teens, we provide parenting support, as well as school support to help shape and target effective Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Accommodation plans.

Below is a sample of areas we commonly focus on with our kids and teens (and their support systems):

Learning How To Regulate Emotions 

While this is something that neurotypical kids may “pick up” along the way, those living with neurodiverse brains benefit from being clearly taught how to regulate their emotions so as to not get so overwhelmed.  

An amazing strength that often comes with neurodiversity is the ability to feel the world around you intensely. Although this can be harnessed as a strength, it also comes with the challenge of often feeling overwhelmed by worries, anxieties, sensory information, and/or flooding of emotions (anger and rage). Learning how to slow down the process of going from 1-10 on the anxiety or anger scale is critical to success no matter what age you are!

Growing Healthy Friendships and Relationships

The world, unfortunately, bases social expectations on what neurotypicals expect. Those living with neurodiversity tend to struggle to pick up on social cues, often misread contexts, and sometimes interpret the world as more black and white than it really is.

In our work with neurodiverse kids and teens, we support the development and use of social thinking muscles. This is more than just learning “social rules,” which only get you so far. Developing strong social thinking muscles means knowing how to “apply” the rules. This is all about learning what to do in social situations and interactions, and how to think about and understand the impact of other’s thoughts and feelings about us. This is tough stuff, even for neurotypical kids and teens. Neurodiverse individuals, unfortunately, struggle even more.

We help kids/teens learn how to make AND keep friends. Although we frequently lump these two together, they are EXTREMELY different. Neurodiverse kids and teens benefit from having these two broken down step by step in order to successfully join in the complex world of friendships at any age. This is something that neurotypicals, as well as those with neurodiverse brains, can benefit from.

Supporting Neurodiversity: Kids and Teens

Developing Healthy Executive Functions 

Executive functions are the umbrella term for the ability to do things like plan, organize, complete tasks, be flexible, and solve problems. Executive functions are critical for success in school, and also at home (think about the challenges you may face in getting your child/teen to do their homework or clean their room!).

We believe that executive functioning is so incredibly important. It is one of the biggest predictors of ongoing success.

The development of effective executive functioning is the difference between a child/teen who can launch successfully into the world on their own and the child/teen who struggles to ever leave the nest.

Living with neurodiversity means living with an ongoing daily struggle with executive functions. In our work with neurodiverse kids and teens, we target our executive functioning interventions to build sustainable systems and strategies that will help lessen the struggle both in the present, as well as for the future.

Contact Us to Learn More

Questions about our neurodiversity services and if they are right for your child or teen? Give us a call, or send us an email.

If you are ready to get your child/teen the support they need to succeed, you can schedule an appointment now with one of our therapists, or contact us by phone or email.

For information about our Neurodiversity Services for Adults click here.

We specialize in:

Counseling for Individuals

If you are struggling and need support and guidance, we can help you:
  • Navigate a major life decision
  • Figure out how to make the changes you want in your life or relationships but struggle to achieve
  • Move out of depression and/or anxiety and into your life
  • End the struggle with negative relationship patterns (being a people pleaser, finding yourself in toxic relationships, struggling with setting appropriate boundaries)
  • Find more effective ways to manage anger
  • Find success living with Adult Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, or a Learning Disability

Counseling for Couples

If you feel like you aren’t getting what you want in your relationship, we can help you:
  • Improve communication to help you and your significant other get on the same page.
  • Rebuild trust and intimacy after an affair or break in trust.
  • Prevent Anxiety, Depression, an Autism Spectrum/Asperger's diagnosis, or ADHD from coming between the two of you.
  • Make the decision to stay or go: when you both want support in evaluating which direction to take in your marriage or relationship.
  • Have Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s

Counseling for Children and Teens

Growing up is hard work. We help children and teens who:
  • Feel anxious, or worried all the time.
  • Feel depressed, lonely, or isolated
  • Have a tough time controlling their emotions and the behaviors that result (emotional outbursts, anger, aggression).
  • Struggle socially, or tend to end up in friendships where they are being taken advantage of.
  • Struggle academically and feel overwhelmed and stuck in knowing how to get back on track.
  • Feel overwhelmed with life changes or transitions (divorce, blended family dynamics, a move, or loss of a family member or close friend).
  • Have ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
We also offer support to parents who feel overwhelmed or stuck in figuring out the best steps to take to help their child or teen. When challenges are showing up in school we can also work with your child or teens school on your behalf.
Find the member of our team that is right for you.
Working with an experienced professional can mean feeling:
  • Supported
  • Hopeful
  • Understood
  • More confident
  • Capable of handling challenges in relationships
  • Appreciative of having an advocate and expert on their team
  • That you don’t have to go it alone anymore

There is hope. Are you ready to take the next step?
At our Federal Way counseling center, we can often schedule you the same week you call. With our online counseling platform we can frequently start working with you as soon as the next day.

In order to accommodate the work and school schedules of our clients we have late evening appointments most days of the week.

To take the next step give us a call, send us an email, or schedule your first appointment now through our online scheduling system.

We look forward to working with you.