Building Confidence, Making Friends, and Handling Academic Challenges
Middle school and high school hit neurodivergent people hard.
Self-criticism, anxiety, depression, isolation, and avoidance behaviors increase.
The social world at school is becoming more complex, judgmental, and even harsh. Teens may spend a lot of time alone or online because they don't have an in-person peer group that feels safe.
The academic demands of school are increasing. Difficulties with focus, time management, organization, and planning often cause grades to plummet.
Teens who used to take pride in their creativity, intelligence, or other gifts begin to give up on themselves.
Parents may be increasingly worried about their teen's isolation and anxiety. At the same time, parents may feel frustrated that their teenager doesn't seem to be taking their responsibilities seriously or living up to their potential. This frustration might be even higher if their teen disappears into endless hours of gaming or online activity.
Together with an expert coach, your teen creates a plan to move forward in multiple areas of life. A joyful & independent life includes not only handling daily responsibilities, but also building relationships and having a sense of meaning or purpose. Some of the topics we cover include:
Planning for After High School. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a fun question at five, but becomes an increasingly anxiety-provoking topic as adulthood nears. Questions we focus on include: Should I work during the summers? If so, how do I find and keep a job? What about after high school - should I go directly into the workforce, go to trade school, or go to college? Many individuals pair individual coaching with participation in our Confidence and Social Development Group, which helps build the communication skills necessary for college or employment.
Executive Function. Executive Function (EF) challenges are common for neurodivergent people. These often show up as trouble getting started, difficulty staying focused and completing work, as well as challenges with planning and time management. We focus on strategies to maximize EF skills.
Embracing Neurodivergence and Learning to Self-Advocate. Understanding neurodivergence and how to self-advocate is critical for long-term success. Masking (hiding neurodivergent traits to fit in) is exhausting and damaging. Instead, we focus on being the best version of ourselves.
Friends and Family. We focus on understanding what it takes to build and maintain friendships, learning how to navigate anxiety in social situations, and improving communication with family members.
Purpose. A sense of purpose comes from being connected with things greater than one's self. For some people, this comes through creative or intellectual pursuits such as art, writing, or a focus on a specific interest. For others, a sense of meaning comes from making the world a better place. We work together to build meaningful activities into daily life.
Sensory Sensitivities. Neurodivergent people react to sensory stimuli differently than neurotypical people. Loud noises may feel unbearable. Sensitivity to texture or taste may result in eating a limited range of foods. Difficulty with temperature regulation can make a hot room or the entire season of summer miserable. We talk about why sensory sensitivities exist and how to navigate them.
The Nuts and Bolts of Independent Living. Other goals we often work on include the practical details of life. These can include hygiene (showers & brushing teeth are common challenges), handling household responsibilities, managing money, transit options, making doctor's appointments, and the other routine things we all need to do in life.
Location: Online anywhere, or in-person in Reno, Nevada.
Coaching Rate: $150 per session.
For Teens, In Person (Note: No Online Option)
Our small groups provide a safe place to connect with peers, practice relationship skills, and learn strategies for handling the challenges of adolescence.
The curriculum for this group focuses on social development and confidence, including:
Anxiety Management. Understanding what's happening in our brains and bodies when we're anxious, and practical strategies for feeling better.
Building & Maintaining Connections. Anxiety in new settings leads to signals that inadvertently say "stay away:" arms crossed, head down, staring at our phone, giving short answers. We discuss and practice using open body language and words that build connections. Other topics include taking time to get to know someone, showing interest in others, being an empathetic and attentive listener, knowing what to share about ourselves, and being aware of relationship "red flags" that tell us someone might not be a good friend.
Building Internal Strength. Topics include learning how to push ourselves slowly and steadily outside of our comfort zone so we don't get stuck, setting reasonable goals, persisting despite frustration, and focusing on growth versus perfection.
Social Communication and Interactions in a Volunteer Position or Entry-Level Job. There's a tendency among ND teens to think that job success is about being able to do the job. However, there's so much more to it than that. Knowing what to wear to an interview, when it's okay to use a cellphone at work, how to communicate respectfully with one's boss, and how to get along with coworkers are all topics we discuss.
Self-advocacy. A lot of teens struggle quietly, not sure how to ask for help. We practice speaking up in a respectful manner that allows us to access the support we need to succeed.
Schedule: Every other Saturday, 11:30am-12:30pm
Location: Reno, NV
Group Cost: $75 per session/$50 sliding scale