I had always felt different from the kids I grew up with. While they loved going to playgrounds and often begged their parents for toys and whatnot, I was happy with a drawing pad and a set of colors. While they could not get enough of slides and almost had to be dragged back home after a field trip, I never felt the need to leave the house or socialize. My folks encouraged me to go out sometimes, but my typical reply was, “No thanks.”

In reality, my behavior caused me to get in trouble with other people at school a few times. I never got into a physical fight, but I had been confronted for not cooperating with my classmates, especially during group work. I tried telling them once that I worked better independently, but they took it the wrong way and branded me snobbish. That pushed me to bury my nose in books more instead of improving my social skills.

When I entered college, things became a bit better. This time, I got one friend, Jill. She was my roommate at the dorm. It took me an entire semester to consider her as my friend because, according to Jill, I always seemed too preoccupied to talk to anyone. I did not realize that’s how it looked like to other people, though. The truth was that I just did not know how to approach her. Nevertheless, we remained friends even after college.

frequently-asked-questions-about-getting-help-from-mental-health-counselor

Source: pixabay.com

Then, I Had To Face Facts

I applied to different companies right after getting my diploma. I always got called for one or two interviews and thought that I would get the job. However, 15 interviews later, I was still unemployed. The common reason I heard was that I failed to show that I could become a team player.

After hearing that for so long, I decided to see a psychologist to determine what’s up with my behavior. It took some tests and consultations before I understood that I had Asperger’s syndrome. It was mild; that’s why the symptoms were not too noticeable. Still, the fact that I was on the autism spectrum remained.

My first reaction was to panic, of course. I worried that it would prevent me from having normal adulthood and getting a stable job. Luckily, the psychologist said that talking to a mental health counselor might help me process the diagnosis.

How does mental health counseling help? 

 Mental health counseling helps individuals understand their emotions – mostly negative – and determine how to overcome them.

How do counselors help with anxiety? 

 Talking to a counselor helps people with anxiety understand where their anxious feelings originate, how they react, how they shouldn’t – when the symptoms attack, and what they can do to cope with the disorder.

Can mental health counselors diagnose? 

 Technically, no, a mental health counselor cannot diagnose psychological disorders – their education and training do not give them the authority to do that. However, if the counselor happens to double as a psychiatrist or psychologist, they can provide a mental health diagnosis.

frequently-asked-questions-about-getting-help-from-mental-health-counselor

Source: pixabay.com

What skills do mental health counselors need? 

 Mental health counselors should be:

  • Compassionate
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Empathic
  • Excellent communicator

What skills do you need to work in mental health? 

 If you work in mental health, you should be able to do the following:

  • Build a healthy rapport with clients
  • Show compassion and empathy
  • Listen to people actively
  • Organize the flow of every session
  • Keep a record of everything that occurs during sessions
  • Know how to use technology
  • Maintain professional boundaries
  • Have an endless desire to help others

Is anxiety a mental illness? 

 Yes, anxiety is a mental illness.

What helps severe anxiety? 

 Anxiety is mostly treated using cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, if one-on-one treatment does not suffice, you must try the following:

  • Step away from your isolation and connect with your loved ones.
  • Give up some of your responsibilities and delegate others to your colleagues to manage your stress level.
  • Learn how to meditate and try various breathing exercises to feel calm.
  • Do rhythmic and cardiovascular exercises to take your mind off stressful activities.
  • Sleep for up to eight hours every night.
  • Stop overthinking.

What should I not tell a psychiatrist? 

 Psychiatrists can typically offer help the most when the patient does not hide anything from them. However, it is up to you about what information you wish to avoid telling your psychiatrist.

What is the difference between school counseling and mental health counseling? 

 School counseling is always provided to students, parents, or teachers with ongoing behavioral or cognitive issues. Meanwhile, mental health counseling is offered to everyone else.

What does a mental health counselor do daily? 

  • Determining psychological distress in patients
  • Offering group counseling to families
  • Listening to people about their emotions, experiences, and feelings
  • Setting goals and creating treatment plans with clients
  • Identifying possible hindrances to the treatment’s success
  • Assessing external trigger factors and causes of an individual’s mental health issues
  • Giving referrals to other mental health professionals
frequently-asked-questions-about-getting-help-from-mental-health-counselor

Source: pixabay.com

How do you diagnose mental health? 

A mental health diagnosis can occur after the psychologist or psychiatrist does the following:

  • Identify and assess the physical, behavioral, and emotional symptoms that an individual may experience
  • Figure out how long they have been dealing with such experiences
  • Determine how much the symptoms have influenced their way of living

What are the five counseling skills? 

  • Active listening
  • Building rapport
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Reflecting and paraphrasing

What are the qualities of a good counselor? 

 An excellent counselor exhibits the following qualities:

  • Confident
  • Educated
  • Ethical
  • Flexible
  • Non-judgmental
  • Organized
  • Professional
  • Respectful
  • Responsible

How can I improve my counseling skills? 

  • Improve your ability to analyze, reflect, paraphrase, and summarize every information that the client divulges.
  • Show a commitment to professional development.
  • Strive to become a more effective counselor by managing your time, schedule, and paperwork.
  • Find a way to understand every client, especially the timid or nervous ones.
  • Be flexible when it comes to the type of counseling that your clients may need.

Why do you work in mental health?

The life-changing effect of positive mental health makes people work in this field. The more lives they can change, the more they feel encouraged to offer mental health services.

Final Thoughts

The psychologist was right – I found clarity after talking to a mental health counselor. Neither of them could cure my autism, but I eventually learned to embrace it. Instead of asking why I had this condition, I looked for a way around it so that I could finally get a job.

 

Waiting for over a decade to have a baby is brutal, but it becomes almost painless when you compare it to realizing that the offspring that you prayed for has an irreversible mental health condition.

That’s what I realized when a child psychologist revealed that Jayden, my darling son, was in the autism spectrum.

Our Story

I was already 40 years old when I found out that I was pregnant with Jayden. My husband and I had been ready to have a baby in the last ten years, but we somehow didn’t get what we wanted until now. Although our close relatives raised their concerns about my health and the baby’s health, we went through the pregnancy like a breeze, and I carried Jayden to full term.

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Source: pixabay.com

My husband and I genuinely assumed that things would continue to be smooth sailing, considering I didn’t deal with any complications before or during childbirth. The first few months of motherhood were blissful, too, since Jayden didn’t cry unless he was hungry or needed a diaper change. Even his bath times went well because he seemed to like being in the water so much.

However, we started noticing that Jayden’s behavior was different from other babies when we attended a mommy-and-me class when he was 12 months old. There was a portion where the facilitator asked us to leave the kids in the middle of the room and let them interact with each other. It was said that this little activity would show their level of independence when the parents were out of sight.

Some of the most independent kids began to crawl or toddle and even waved goodbye to their moms. The others who had not been away from the mothers until then were already crying as soon as the door closed. But then, they eventually adjust after seeing what the rest of the babies were doing.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

When I looked for Jayden, my amusement faded as I saw him playing with his toy car, oblivious of what’s happening around him. He didn’t seem to notice that I was not in the room or that none of the adults were. In the entire 30 minutes that the parents were out, Jayden didn’t even show interest in the other children.

Road To Diagnosis

The facilitator saw what my child was doing. After the class, she said, “Ms. Smith, I had been watching Jayden ever since you entered my class, and I know that you noticed his behavior during the activity today.”

I uttered, “Yes, and I worry that it might not be normal.”

I talked to my husband about my observation, and I called the facilitator that night if she knew any child psychologist. Luckily, her sister had a clinic nearby, and she helped us secure an appointment within the week.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: flickr.com

Since neither my husband nor I had any encounter with psychologists, we merely assumed that they could diagnose someone’s mental health condition during the first appointment. However, the mental health professional said that despite showing some signs of autism, Jayden was still too young to diagnose his condition. She scheduled us for a series of appointments throughout the year to see how his behavior would change.

And the psychologist was correct – Jayden’s behavior changed indeed. He could not make intelligible sounds yet, so we could not always understand what he wanted. In such cases, my son would have a meltdown and throw his toys around or cry as loudly as possible. Sometimes, when he’s playing with a toy, he could do it for an entire day. If we tried to feed him or take the toy away from him, Jayden would simply keep it close to his chest and not interact with us.

After some time, we finally understood that Jayden was on the autism spectrum.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

Disciplining A Child With Autism Properly

It has been five years since Jayden’s diagnosis, and he is growing up to be a strong and healthy boy. He has been receiving therapy for the same amount of time, teaching him how to function like other children. Still, with autism or not, kids tend to act up and require parents to enforce disciplinary tactics to keep them from becoming spoiled brats.

Here are some disciplining tips that I have gotten from autism parents.

Use Simple Words

Children with autism cannot understand complicated words, such as “Do not touch the hot water if you don’t want to burn yourself.” With Jayden, I tend to say, “Hot water is not for touching,” and he understands.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

Set Up A Simple Routine

A simple routine includes waking up, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, playing, napping, and preparing for bed. It wouldn’t be advisable to add more things to this list, especially when the child is still too young. Otherwise, your routine may fall apart.

Avoid Triggering Your Child

When you want your kids to understand something, you cannot yell or make loud noises. That is a common trigger factor for individuals with autism. You need to be calm yet firm so that they can hear you well.

Final Thoughts

Jayden is only eight years old now. We are still a long way away from adulthood, but my husband and I hope that he becomes a highly functioning individual by then.

 

Source: pexels.com

Having children is hard. It is not a job that you can just quit if you could no longer handle the stress or pressure. Sometimes, even taking a break is no longer an option. Your kids are with you wherever you go. They follow you to the restroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, and it is understandable to feel frustrated or tired. Well, have you ever thought of how life would be if your child needed extra attention? Some parents have the blessing of having a child with autism or ADHD and maybe even both.

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At first, I thought, how will we survive in this tiny home during a lockdown? I cannot go out for work, and with that, what about my income? Another thing is that I have a son with special needs. He also has to go to a school for kids who are the same as him. And my son, well, let’s just say he needs constant prompting. I shook off that fact, but now, I can say for sure that I have survived it. My son and I have survived at home and under lockdown without having to go out in public.

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Love does move in mysterious ways, and when it hits you, it does hit you hard. However, in choosing your romantic partner for life, you cannot fully know who they truly are not until you get to live under one roof. However, what if your partner is someone who has Asperger Syndrome?  

 

“The term unconditional love does not mean love without limits or bounds. It means, “I offer you my love freely without condition.” What this means is that when we offer our love, we offer it without expectation of repayment.” – Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT

 

Source: goodfreephotos.com

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Any marriage will not always be smooth sailing. Marriage will always involve hard work, love, respect, and perseverance to withstand the test of time. Challenges faced by married couples may be harder when one is with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC, wrote in her blog, “If you are in a relationship with someone with AS and you are experiencing distress as a result, there are things you can do to ease the relationship. There are ways you can grow together in support of one another. AS does not go away, but you can learn behaviors and methods of interaction that increase the odds that you will reach mutual understanding on various aspects of your life together.”

 

Source: pxhere.com

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Various literature has always focused on what average people look for in a relationship. There are books, TV shows, and magazines on how to look for the perfect mate.  

On the other hand, there is little known information on what people with autism look for in a relationship. People with autism spectrum disorders are still capable of romantic love, though it can get more challenging for them because of their condition. 

“But it’s important to remember that Aspies do love. They just love in a different way. Just as all marriages face challenges, there are things that can be done to help this relationship.” – Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D.

 

Source: pixabay.com

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Every couple dreams of having a little angel of their own. They have imagined how they would be like parenting a baby. Some are too excited they even prepared a nursery in the house right before they are pregnant. It is because having to create a new life out of love is the most fantastic feeling in the world, to see a little human walking and running around the house who has the parents’ eyes and lips. It is indeed priceless! 

 

Source: pixabay.com

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