(Autism Spectrum Disorder). Successful strategies for couples or counsellors
by Eva A Mendez
with a foreword by Steven M Shore.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
I recommend this for anyone in a relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome. The author clearly explains her terminology, uses case studies throughout to illustrate what she is trying to say and has potentially useful charts and schedules for people to follow that may help in relationships that are perhaps not working as well as either partner would hope for.
She interestingly uses the term “NS” meaning Non-Spectrum rather than NT meaning Neurotypical. As she points out the NS spouse or partner can have neurological differences other than Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also changes Autism Spectrum Disorder to Autism Spectrum Difference as she views individuals on the Autism Spectrum as being neurologically different rather than having a disorder.
The chapters include pursuing a diagnosis or not, accepting the diagnosis, learning about and understanding ASD, managing anxiety, depression, anger, OCD and ADHD, self-exploration, awareness and advocacy, expanding Theory of Mind and emotional intelligence, coping with sensory overload and avoiding meltdowns, meeting each other’s sexual needs, bridging parallel play, creating a relationship schedule™ , improving communication, co-parenting strategies, prioritising self-care for the NS partner, organising, planning and outsourcing, suspending judgements and managing expectations, staying motivated, neuordiverse couples counselling, every neurodiverse marriage is unique.
This is an up to date book drawing on current research and thinking but more importantly the book is being informed by a number of people she has worked with which seems to be considerable.
She also states that whilst the majority of couples that come to see her consist of an NS woman married to a man with ASD the principles in the book are relevant to couples who are in same sex relationships and those who do not fall into binary genders.
Just a word of “warning” Eva Mendez is American and the book is written for an American audience so please bear this in mind.
I shall be donating this book to Autism Inclusive at our monthly post-diagnostic support group. These books are free to be borrowed, however, donations would be gratefully received.
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
& Director of Axia ASD Ltd.