As well as being a classically trained therapist, I am also AuADHD. This page is specifically about Autism and ADHD, and it explains what to expect and how counselling can be effective for either or both Autistics and ADHDers. It is recognised that complex trauma can be experienced as a result of living in a world which is not designed to celebrate and adapt to neurological differences and unrecognised AuADHD often takes the form of school breakdown in our young people.
neurospicycounselling.co.uk under development
Amazing Instagram account representing Neurodiversity. Please click on the picture.
Autism is a difference in how the brain functions. With a preference of in-depth conversations and finding general chit-chat a concept we'd rather not engage in, we are also generally honest and can find it hard to understand people who do not explain themselves or are direct with their intentions. Social interactions can be draining, and Autistic individuals tend to need more downtime to relax and refocus. Social pressures can lead to anxiety and communication paralysis of not knowing what people want or how to communicate without judgement or misunderstanding. Growing up can be the most painful, wanting to act and be ourselves, but in a world which wants us to conform and be someone else. This can cause a separation from who we truly are and can lead to pretending (masking) to be someone else to try and fit in.
Through counselling with an Autistic counsellor who has lived experience, we will explore all the ways you have learned to become someone else. How judgements and expectations have changed who you are, and we will work towards self-awareness and acceptance of your differences and aim to celebrate them for the individual that you are.
A comprehensive Autism resource which includes a range of tests: including assessing camouflaging (masking), and repetitive behaviours, can be found here: Embrace Autism | The ultimate autism resource (embrace-autism.com).
The AQ50 form (attached) is used to assess traits of Autism for those aged 16+.
The Aspie quiz and/or the AQ50 form can then be taken to the GP to request a referral for an official diagnosis. In England, there are some 'right to choose options' for adults, which is explained further down.
ADHD or ADD (ADHD Inattentive) can be very complex and lead to different struggles (comorbid symptoms), meaning that ADHD can be missed or misdiagnosed. As well as the well-known traits such as concentration difficulties and forgetfulness, it can also be at the core of louder comorbid difficulties, such as;
OCD behaviours, intense feelings and difficulty controlling them, disorganised eating, self-injury, sleep difficulties, angry and aggressive behaviour (usually due to felt rejection), social isolation, intense feelings of rejection, relationship breakdowns, substance misuse, low self-esteem and assertiveness difficulties.
Recent research has developed an understanding of females with ADHD, leading to late diagnoses and recognition of a lifetime of difficulties.
I welcome self-diagnosis, as it is well argued that to treat any comorbid symptoms, it is important to recognise any potential ADHD traits. This can help support self-acceptance and self-care while also exploring the amazing aspects of ADHD that may have been altered due to felt trauma. Especially if late diagnosed.
There are many self-assessment tests for ADHD. This Word document has gathered some of the main assessment tools, including for young people, parents and adults, which can be completed and taken to the GP for a referral for an official diagnosis. Rating scales explained. *Connors scoring can only be done by psychiatrists and experts in the field of diagnosing ADHD. However, examples can be found here
For women, one of the best resources I recommend is: Take The ADHD Test for Women - Little Miss Lionheart, which can then be taken to the GP to request a referral for a diagnosis.
For both males and females, the main test used by the NHS is the Connors 3 long (which can be found on the Word document).
I am able to help you with the assessment process and establish traits and your next steps to self-acceptance, whether this is an exploration of potential traits and what strategies you feel would suit you or seeking a formal diagnosis.
In England, there are provisions which enable a 'right to choose option',* meaning that the GP can refer you to a private organisation to get an official diagnosis, reducing waiting times quite significantly. More information from the NHS can be found here.
Autism providers here