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What is an Autism Coach, and Why You Might Need One

December 18, 2023

Your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, so what do you do? It’s a new world that you and your child must navigate together. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to work with your autistic child. “So how can you make life easier for your child? Maybe an autism coach is the answer.”

Many neurotypical people turn to a life coach when they need help. In the world of autism spectrum disorder, that option is available as well. Autism coaches, sometimes called autism experts, can help parents and autistic people themselves navigate life.

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What Is an Autism Coach?

An autism coach often takes on multiple roles to help the family. Many serve as knowledgeable advisors and provide emotional support.

Simply put, they serve as guides for helping autistic people navigate a world that seems to be catered specifically for the neurotypical. The autism spectrum is diverse and complex, so it’s up to an autism coach to be diverse and complex as well.

According to the research, autism coaches will often provide support while clarifying the specific strategies needed for autistic individuals to cope with everyday life.

Some families may only need one autism coach as their loved one only needs help in one specific area of life. Others may need different autism coaches for different aspects of their lives.

As many autism coaches specialize in certain areas, it makes sense that many families may need to work with more than one coach.

Who Can Benefit From an Autism Coach?

The truth is, everyone in the immediate family can benefit from an autism coach.

According to research published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, autistic children with autism life coaches were more likely to engage in social behaviors than those without an autism life coach. This can be very important during school functions to help the child with autism be more involved with their peers.

Many parents have been known to struggle along with their children, especially when it comes to school-related issues. The sheer number of decisions a parent has to make concerning their child’s school experience can be daunting.

Any parent who sees their child struggling will want to help in any way they can, even if there is nothing they can do. The autism coach can help the parents recognize their child’s needs and encourage the child. This can lead to increased social engagement that may help the child later in life.

A little girl and an autism coach
https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/autism-coach/

Parents and kids still have to recognize there won’t be a coach for every situation. This journey is overwhelming for parents, but imagine how overwhelming it is for the child.

It’s important to find a coach who is the right fit, so this could take time. Autism Parenting Magazine provides ways a teenager on the autism spectrum can benefit from having an autism life coach.

How Can I Find An Autism Coach?

If you’ve decided to seek an autism coach to help your child, the next question is how to find one. This can be just as daunting as any of the other major decisions a parent must make to help their autistic children.

Numerous advocacy organizations are available to help search for an autism coach. Some are local, while others are national or international.

There is plenty of information to help guide parents. Many school districts in the United States have been known to work with autism coaches to help make the experience better for students with autism spectrum disorder.

There are some important questions to ask when selecting a supportive and understanding coach to help your loved one. These questions include:

  • How does coaching differ from therapy?
  • What is your approach to autism coaching?
  • Is your autism coaching work confidential?
  • Are you certified in autism coaching?

While other questions will need to be answered specifically to the autistic individuals needing the autism coach, these questions are a good starting point for anyone looking for a coach for their loved one.


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The Right Coach For You

Autism is a journey that an entire family goes on together. When someone special in your life is diagnosed with autism, they aren’t the only ones who will need a deep understanding of the way this knowledge will change their lives.

Working with an autism coach can help the autistic person and their family learn and grow together. An autism coach can guide neurodivergent and neurotypical people who want to engage with them.

However, it’s still important to know what autism coach is right for you. Some parents may be allowed to attend coaching sessions to help guide the correct selection. In the end, a proper autism coach can lead to better personal interactions as the parent and the child grow.

FAQs

Q: What does an autism coach do?

A: Autism coaches, often known as “autism experts,” assist parents, caregivers, and autistic individuals in navigating challenges by offering both expertise and emotional support. They serve as knowledgeable advisors, providing guidance over time.

Q: How do you become an ASD coach?

A: To become a Certified Autism Specialist (CAS), you must earn a master’s degree, finish 14 continuing education hours, pass the Autism Competency Exam, and pay the annual registration fee.

Q: What does an autism mentor do?

A: An autism mentor, trained to assist autistic adults, offers guidance on overcoming challenges, developing strategies for progress, and securing and sustaining employment opportunities. Their support focuses on addressing current obstacles and preparing individuals for successful employment.

Q: How do you teach someone with autism?

A: Use students’ special interests in lesson plans and incorporate multisensory learning to teach children with autism effectively. Implement strategies like providing clear choices, establishing a strong classroom routine, and offering accommodations for students with limited motor skills.

Q: What professionals can help with autism?

A: Professionals who can assist with autism include behavioral optometrists, clinical teams, counselors, psychotherapists, general practitioners (GPs), occupational therapists, outreach workers, psychiatrists, and social workers with care management expertise.

References:

Supporting Staff Using Coaching Model: Articles: Indiana Resource Center for Autism: Indiana University Bloomington
https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/articles/supporting-staff-using-coaching-model.html

Multiple peer use of pivotal response training to increase social behaviors of classmates with autism: results from trained and untrained peers. – PMC (nih.gov)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1284029/

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