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.

Groups of kids in distance throwing graduation caps | 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.