Hello, I'm Melissa!
I am a coach dedicated to supporting individuals and families on their journey with autism. As an autistic individual and a mother of neurodivergent children, I bring a unique blend of personal experience and professional expertise to my work.
My coaching is rooted in empathy, respect, and a firm belief in the strengths and capabilities of every individual. Whether you're a parent seeking to better understand and support your autistic child, a late-diagnosed autistic individual seeking guidance and self-acceptance, or an autistic youth navigating the challenges of adolescence, I am here to support you.
Want to get started? Book a consultation.
Consultations are 30 mins, held virtually (Google Meet) or by phone. We talk about your hopes for coaching, any questions you may have, and decide if I am the right fit for your needs. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
What is Autism Coaching?
At its core, autism coaching supports and empowers individuals on the autism spectrum. It recognizes and celebrates neurodiversity—the idea that autism is a natural variation of the human experience—and aims to create a safe and non-judgmental space where individuals can explore their experiences, develop self-awareness, and gain valuable insights into their own neurodivergent nature.
Autism coaching is a collaborative partnership between coach and client, built on trust, empathy, and understanding. Through a strengths-based approach, it promotes self-empowerment, resilience, and a positive self-image, allowing individuals to navigate a neurotypical world while honoring their authentic neurodivergent selves.
Autism coaching is not a substitute for therapy or medical advice. If individuals require therapeutic interventions or mental health support, it is recommended to consult with qualified professionals in those fields.
Key Aspects of Autism Coaching
Understanding and Empathy
Autism coaches possess a deep understanding of the autistic experience. They are familiar with the diverse range of traits and characteristics exhibited by individuals on the spectrum. Through their knowledge and personal experiences, they offer a compassionate and non-judgmental approach, creating a safe environment where clients feel understood and accepted.
Autism coaching recognizes that each person on the spectrum is unique, with their own set of strengths, challenges, and goals. Coaches tailor their strategies and techniques to meet the specific needs of their clients. They focus on building a trusting relationship, listening attentively, and working collaboratively to develop personalized strategies that support the individual's growth and well-being.
Self-Advocacy and Empowerment
Autism coaching places a strong emphasis on self-advocacy and self-determination. Coaches help individuals develop the skills and confidence to express their needs, set boundaries, and advocate for themselves in various settings such as education, employment, and personal relationships. They foster a sense of empowerment, encouraging individuals to embrace their authentic selves and find their voice within a neurotypical-dominated world.
Life Skills and Executive Functioning
Autism coaching often addresses practical skills and executive functioning. Coaches help individuals develop strategies for managing time, organizing tasks, improving communication and social skills, and navigating daily challenges. They provide tools and techniques to enhance executive functioning and promote greater independence and success in various areas of life.
Autism coaching extends beyond the individual and often involves working with families, partners, and support networks. Coaches provide guidance and education to help loved ones better understand autism, develop effective communication strategies, and create supportive environments. They foster collaboration and mutual understanding, aiming to strengthen relationships and promote positive interactions.
"Do I need an official diagnosis?"
No, you do not need a diagnosis. I firmly believe in recognizing the inequities and challenges that exist in accessing autism diagnoses, particularly for individuals from marginalized identities, including women, transgender individuals, and people of color.
Understanding and acknowledging one's neurodivergence is a deeply personal journey. Whether you suspect you are on the autism spectrum, identify with autistic traits, or simply resonate with the experiences and challenges discussed within the autism community, the most important aspect is honoring and validating your experiences. Regardless of diagnostic labels, I am here to provide you with guidance and support on your path to self-discovery and empowerment.
Please note that I cannot offer official diagnoses. If you feel that an official diagnosis is necessary or would be beneficial for your situation, I can help you explore resources and connect with healthcare professionals who can assist you further.
Who I Coach
Parents of Autistic Youth
Are you a parent seeking guidance and support in understanding and embracing your child's autism diagnosis? I am here to offer you the knowledge, resources, and compassionate guidance you need on this journey. I understand firsthand the challenges and joys of raising neurodivergent children, and I am dedicated to helping you navigate the unique experiences that come with parenting an autistic child. Together, we can explore effective strategies, promote positive communication, and create an environment that celebrates your child's strengths and fosters their growth and well-being.
Discovering your autism later in life can bring about a mix of emotions, questions, and a need for self-understanding. If you are a late-diagnosed autistic individual, I provide coaching tailored specifically to your needs. Whether you are seeking guidance in embracing your neurodivergent identity, understanding your unique strengths and challenges, or navigating social interactions and relationships, I am here to support you on your journey. Together, we can explore your experiences, uncover your authentic self, and develop strategies to thrive in a world that may not fully understand your neurodivergence.
Are you an autistic youth navigating the challenges of adolescence and seeking support to embrace your authentic self? As an experienced coach, I am here to empower you with the tools, knowledge, and understanding necessary to navigate this critical phase of your life. I provide a safe and inclusive space where you can explore your identity, develop self-advocacy skills, and build confidence. Together, we can work on effective communication, self-care strategies, and cultivating positive relationships, helping you navigate the complexities of adolescence while embracing your unique strengths and talents.
As a coach, I strive to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions, and foster a more inclusive society that embraces neurodiversity. I am a strong believer in promoting acceptance and celebrating the diverse talents and perspectives that neurodivergent individuals bring to the world. My aim is to empower individuals to embrace their authentic selves, foster self-acceptance, and navigate a world that may not always understand the beauty of neurodivergence.
With my Master of Science degree in Couples and Family Therapy, I have a solid foundation in understanding the complexities of interpersonal relationships. My passion lies in empowering and guiding autistic individuals, as well as their families, which led me to specialize in providing compassionate and effective coaching services.
In my free time, I enjoy spending quality time with my family, going to the coast, building Lego, and playing video games. I continually educate myself on the latest research and approaches in the field of autism, ensuring that my coaching practice remains informed, compassionate, and effective.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. I cannot diagnose or treat mental health conditions, prescribe or manage medication, create or monitor treatment plans for addiction/substance abuse or eating disorders. I can provide recommendations for therapists, psychiatrists, and treatment facilities. I am not able to bill health insurance for coaching services.
Under Oregon law, I am required to make a report if a minor discloses any of the following: intention to harm self in a life-threatening manner, intention to harm another, known or suspected physical or sexual abuse or neglect.