10 tips for coaching low-support autistics
Today, we're diving into the sparkling world of coaching individuals with low-support autism. Now, before we get into this, let me be frank, these tips are not from hours of extensive research. Having said that, maybe it is. I am a low-support autistic (LSA), so maybe I could argue these tips are from, ahem, 50ish years of research.
One more point to note before we get into the tips; you may not be familiar with the term low-support autistic. As these things do, terminology changes over the years. Low-support autism used to be called 'high-functioning autism', and going back even further, used to be called Asperger's.
Right, enough of that. Let's get into it. Remember life, my fabulous friends, is a symphony of colours, and the autism spectrum adds its own shimmering hues. Low-support autism, often called Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), comes with its quirks and superpowers. This is where the adventure begins!
1. Speak fluent "sensory"
Imagine our sensory world as a fascinating playground. Low-support autism may amplify the senses, making everyday experiences a symphony of sensations, and not always pleasant ones. Embrace this by inviting your co-adventurer to share their sensory preferences. Use their sensory strengths to create a coaching environment that's as comfy as a marshmallow cloud.
2. Befriend routine wizards
Routine is often their trusty wand, and consistency is their magical potion. Create a coaching routine that's as comforting as a cup of hot cocoa on a winter's day. Let them know what to expect, and watch as they bloom in the predictability.
3. Love for details
It's like Sherlock Holmes meets Albert Einstein! Dive into the world of details, and celebrate their meticulous approach. Ask them about their interests and hobbies; you might end up becoming a detective of rare, fascinating facts!
4. Champion of special interests
Imagine your special interest as a dragon's treasure trove. Your co-adventurer might have a fascination that rivals the most epic tales. Dive deep into their world, ask curious questions, and show genuine interest. They'll appreciate the camaraderie, and you'll discover a world of wonder.
5. The enchanted language of literal
Be the Merlin of clear communication. Metaphors and idioms might be like decoding an ancient scroll for them. Speak in straightforward language, and they'll appreciate your clarity like a rare gem.
6. Superpower autonomy
Independence is their superpower, so sprinkle a dash of choice in your coaching sessions. Offer them opportunities to steer the ship, make decisions, and chart their course. Watching them navigate their own journey is like watching a star twinkle in the night sky.
7. Dance with empathy
The dance of empathy is an enchanting one. Tune in to their emotions, but remember that they might express feelings differently. Use your heart as a compass to guide them through stormy emotions.
8. Celebrate progress and sparkles
Progress isn't just crossing a finish line; it's about the journey and the sparkling moments along the way. Celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. They may naturally be focused only on the finish line, but helping them celebrate the small progresses is a good habit to introduce!
9. Laughter elixirs
Laughter is a potion that mends the soul. Weave humour into your coaching sessions; it's like sprinkling fairy dust on a cloudy day. A chuckle or a shared joke can create a bond as strong as a knight's armour. Just because they may not be overly expressive doesn't mean they don’t have a wicked sense of humour sharper than a newly sharpened knife that's sharply dressed.
10. Curiosity carousel
Be the guide on their curiosity carousel. Encourage them to explore new avenues, while also respecting their comfort zone. It's like hopping on a magical horse and galloping through the meadows of knowledge.
Remember, you're not just coaching; you're creating a symphony of transformation. Now, let's spread all our wings and soar together through the rainbow spectrum, one coaching session at a time!
Are you coaching neurodiverse clients now but struggling? Give me a shout and we can do some coaching supervision and get you flying.