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Helping autistic women thrive

Helping autistic women thrive PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to outline a clinical framework developed for autistic women. INVEST (Identify Needs, Validate, Educate, Strengthen and Thrive) is a strengths-based neurodiversity therapeutic approach. Autistic individuals are treated with respect and are believed to have the capacity to make meaningful changes in their lives.Design/methodology/approachThe author’s clinical experiences working as an individual, couple and family therapist specializing in girls and women with autism inform this paper. The innovative therapeutic approach will be described including reasons for seeking therapy, the theoretical underpinnings and case examples that bring each component of INVEST to life.FindingsWomen with autism are very responsive to a therapeutic process that validates their experiences. Helping individuals and their support systems learn more about autism and their unique profile can enhance understanding and self-acceptance. Strategies to increase emotional awareness and reduce victimization are emphasized. Understanding sensory triggers and executive functioning challenges enable individuals to make useful adaptations. Building skills and setting parameters on time and energy help to stave off autistic burnout.Practical implicationsThe impact of the INVEST model goes beyond the therapist’s office and can be applied to multiple settings. All professionals have the opportunity to treat autistic women with respect, validation and an assumption of competence.Originality/valueClinical program are scarce for individuals with autism, especially women. The INVEST model is the beginning of a discussion of what can help autistic women thrive. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Autism Emerald Publishing

Helping autistic women thrive

Advances in Autism , Volume 5 (3): 14 – Jul 3, 2019

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References (16)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2056-3868
DOI
10.1108/AIA-10-2018-0042
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to outline a clinical framework developed for autistic women. INVEST (Identify Needs, Validate, Educate, Strengthen and Thrive) is a strengths-based neurodiversity therapeutic approach. Autistic individuals are treated with respect and are believed to have the capacity to make meaningful changes in their lives.Design/methodology/approachThe author’s clinical experiences working as an individual, couple and family therapist specializing in girls and women with autism inform this paper. The innovative therapeutic approach will be described including reasons for seeking therapy, the theoretical underpinnings and case examples that bring each component of INVEST to life.FindingsWomen with autism are very responsive to a therapeutic process that validates their experiences. Helping individuals and their support systems learn more about autism and their unique profile can enhance understanding and self-acceptance. Strategies to increase emotional awareness and reduce victimization are emphasized. Understanding sensory triggers and executive functioning challenges enable individuals to make useful adaptations. Building skills and setting parameters on time and energy help to stave off autistic burnout.Practical implicationsThe impact of the INVEST model goes beyond the therapist’s office and can be applied to multiple settings. All professionals have the opportunity to treat autistic women with respect, validation and an assumption of competence.Originality/valueClinical program are scarce for individuals with autism, especially women. The INVEST model is the beginning of a discussion of what can help autistic women thrive.

Journal

Advances in AutismEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 3, 2019

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