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Balance for the Neurodiverse

Do you ever find yourself trying to balance work, exercise, household cleanliness, a budget, and other daily tasks that can sometimes feel overwhelming to complete? For many neurotypical individuals, it can be difficult to keep track of every aspect of our lives without letting something fall through the cracks for a time before we pick it back up. In this process, we remind ourselves that we are doing the best we can, right? What about that same type of balance for the neurodiverse?


Progress is not linear

From time to time, we also have to remember that adults and children with neurological differences struggle with this same balance, in addition to navigating the nuances of a disability. In teaching independent living skills, we may sometimes feel as though we have taught a skill thoroughly enough that the person should be able to grasp it, and may even grasp it for awhile before they stop doing it. This can be so frustrating! At CA, we’ve been working with neurodiverse Virginians for 20+ years. We have seen them master it, we know they have the ability to complete it on a daily basis. And yet, here we are, going over it again to figure out what the obstacle might be. How can it be that something we allow ourselves to falter in is so hard to forgive in others? Progress is not linear. Few of us are able to manage every area of our lives at top efficiency on a regular basis. We have to pick and choose our priorities every day. Sometimes we pick the wrong priorities, but they are what feel right at the time.

When I find myself becoming attached to the outcome of a client, I forget about the humanity of that person. I lose sight of the challenges that they may face in order to complete and maintain consistency around that outcome. Life happens, and our clients, just like other people, have different needs on their external and internal circumstances. The ability to navigate these changing needs in a way that continues to move them forward is the true measurement of success, even if it means they occasionally drop some tasks in the process. As we look again at balance for the neurodiverse, we have to keep this in mind.

For adults on the autism spectrum, CA Human Services offers programs that assist with the everyday balance of independent living skills and a supportive environment to navigate challenges together. We have a variety of programs tailored to the individual. CA’s programs go beyond basic socialization and job readiness to really give motivated adults with autism the tools and skillsets needed to achieve their goals around being independent. Our Adult Programs range from 1 on 1 coaching that addresses different stages of autonomy to on-demand training which reinforces or introduces life skills for transitioning to independence.


Author: Sarah McCaig, CA Human Services Assistant Manager, Adult Programs


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