This week on the blog, I want to share a post from a new colleague of mine, Vinita Menon. Vinita and I recently connected over our shared work with autistic adults and our affiliation with Psypact, where we are both able to do telehealth with many individuals across the country! While I typically complete evaluations and then refer people to other providers for ongoing services, Vinita really enjoys doing therapy with adults and older adolescents who are first processing new diagnoses. I asked her to share a little about her work with clients so you can see how therapy can be really beneficial for people in this situation!

Life’s transitions are hard for everyone.

But for you, they feel excruciating. People describe you as smart but also “quirky” or “unique” or “going through a phase.” You’re always forgetting things. You may annoy friends and family by being late all the time. You have trouble focusing even when you are doing things you like to do. It’s really hard to get started with many daily tasks even when you know it’s the right thing to do and the pressure is on. Growing up, the adults in your life may have told you to “just try harder” to fit in and make friends, but you had a feeling there was more to it than just lack of effort or an attitude.

On the other hand, you could also be described as someone who is straightforward, with good intentions and a big heart! People count on you for being detail-oriented and gifted at things with patterns like math and music. You have so many strengths to share with the world; if only they didn’t get buried under all of the effort it takes to “fit in”.

There are many reasons why you can feel uncomfortable in social situations, be forgetful, have trouble controlling your impulses, or struggle to get started on tasks. Life changes, stress, and poor organization, planning or coping skills can all add to these challenges. The categories below include some common thoughts, feelings or experiences that people with Autism or ADHD can have. They are also the starting point for the goals we set in therapy.

Guest post by Vinita Menon
Vinita guest blog
Do you…
  • Get lost in your own thoughts and “check out”?
  • Seem naïve or have trouble with dishonesty, manipulation or disloyalty?
  • Feel confused when there is more than one meaning to a word?
  • Notice patterns frequently and remember things in visual pictures?
  • Remember exact details about someone’s life or a past experience?
Managing daily life
Do you…
  • Need to have things be “just so”?
  • Struggle with being organized or multitasking?
  • Have a high sensitivity to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells including, being self-conscious about them and masking them?
Vinita guest post
With others
Do you…
  • Excel at camouflaging/masking your social confusion, hiding in a group, and making sure you don’t get noticed?
  • Imitate people on television or in movies, especially when you were younger?
  • Make friends with older or younger people more easily than same-age peers?
  • Escape into other rooms at parties?
  • Have a difficult time making friends?
  • Have a tendency to overshare or hold a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside?
  • Feel as if you are missing the conversation “gene” or thought-filter or like conversations are exhausting?
Do you…
  • Feel trapped between wanting to be alone and wanting to fit in?
  • Switch preferences/behaviors based on the environment and other people?
  • Feel significantly younger on the inside than your actual age?
  • Feel extreme relief when you don’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house but at the same time you feel guilty for “hibernating” and not doing “what everyone else is doing”?
  • Sometimes feel like you are on stage being watched and/or feel like you always have to act out the “right” steps?
  • Need a large amount of down time or alone time?

How can therapy help?

If you have a formal diagnosis of ASD or ADHD or think you may, there’s a lot to figure out. We can work together to change the behaviors and choices you make that are getting in the way of feeling happy and successful in your life. At Thrive Collective, we follow a “biopsychosocial” model of care. In therapy sessions, we can explore these areas in a non-judgmental, safe space. We can look at old habits and patterns and see what’s working for you and what’s not. If there’s an area you’d like to change, we can offer behavior strategies, ways to change your mood, practice social skills and keep track of your habits. Through it all you’ll have a partner who accepts you as you are, supports you and is ready to celebrate your successes!

Vinita Menon is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist who specializes in Autism, ADHD, and anxiety across the lifespan. She’s approved to provide telehealth in 20 states (and counting!), which allows her to stay connected with her young adult/college age clients. You can connect with Vinita at