Modern life can be challenging for anyone. When you're Autistic, the world isn't designed with your unique traits in mind and everyday demands can feel insurmountable. At Autism Personal Coach, we celebrate neurodiversity by empowering adults and teens to be the best version of their authentic selves.
By Autistics, for Autistics
Doug Blecher founded Autism Personal Coach in 2013 in response to the near-total lack of real-life support for Autistic adults.
In 2022, Doug officially confirmed his personal suspicions about his own neurotype. APC is now happy to confirm that we are fully Autistic-led (and have been all along.)
All of our autism life coaches are either Autistic or Autistic-selected. We choose them based on their commitment to trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming strategies. Our Coaches deeply understand burnout, sensory needs, and the importance of special interests. They empower our clients to take the lead, determine their own goals, and choose their own paths.
We know that lived experience makes Autistic people the real experts on autism. We're here to help make their goals a reality!
Who we serve
We strongly believe in the importance of Autistic identity, regardless of formal diagnosis. Our services are for anyone who resonates with the narrative of Autistic experience. If you at all suspect that you may be Autistic, you're welcome here!
We honor the personhood and inherent value of every Autistic person. This includes all support needs and communication styles.
How we coach
We know that typical objectives like "social skills" and "independence" are reductive. These goals are neurotypical-proscribed and negligent toward the actual needs of Autistic people. Here's why:
While social skills are important and useful, we know we know it's not a simple matter of conforming to neurotypical standards. Autistics often rely on rote memorization to meet social expectations, and that kind of complex mental labor can't happen without mental health support, sensory accommodation, and help making sense of it all. Once you're feeling and functioning better in your daily life, then we can worry about the social stuff.
While the idea of independence is a good start, we believe that true independence is frequently not achievable. Not because of individual shortcomings, but because people are meant to live in close-knit communities and help each other. We think it's okay when you can't do everything yourself--isn't that the point of social skills, anyway?
Instead of focusing on social skills and independence, we provide guidance in creating Support, Planning, Routines and Community.
We know that masking is the ultimate source of Autistic stress, not everyone has the privilege to unmask, and it's often not safe to do so. But increasing the time you spend without a mask on can have a big impact on how you feel, and we'll help you find more ways to unmask safely in your daily life. Your autism life coach will never ask you to change yourself to fit in. We oppose aversive techniques, desensitization, and any other tactic that encourages excessive masking.
The words we use
We recognize the importance of the words we use to talk within and about our community.
We use identity-first language while respecting the preferences of the people we serve.
We embrace the social model of disability and reject the use of functioning labels:
When a person is labeled as "low-functioning," others tend to discount their abilities, thoughts, and even their humanity. They are more likely to be excluded from the community.
Those labeled "high-functioning" are often pushed far beyond their limits and told they "don't look Autistic."
We know that all Autistics' capacities to function change from moment to moment and situation to situation. Besides, someone who seems to be functioning extremely well may be suffering internally. We think it's more important to simply ask you what you need and what you want to accomplish. When extensive masking is involved, this might mean helping you to discover what your own needs even are.
We are actively working to elevate voices in marginalized communities. If you identify as part of such a group, we'd love for you to write for us!
We host monthly support groups for Autists who identify as trans/non-binary and Black/Indigenous/People of Color. Both groups are free and open to non-clients.
As fellow Autistics, we know first-hand how limiting financial barriers can be. We strive to uphold our commitment to both accessible pricing and paying Coaches a living wage. Our available Coaching Plans offer support at several pricing options.
To help bridge the gap, we also offer a low-cost Groups Only Coaching Plan. This plan provides access to our monthly group calls and private Facebook group.