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Do you feel like your loved-one seems disconnected from the world around them? Do you feel like they get anxious and depressed because they feel different? Do you want them to learn to understand themselves and the people around them?

People who have autism operate differently than the rest of us. Since their brain works differently, sometimes they need extra time and awareness to be able to interact with others. There isn’t anything wrong with that. 

People with autism have trouble making connections. But it is possible for them to go to school, have a job, and have friends. 

They don’t always make the connections their loved-ones hope they’ll make. Their families can be left wondering how to communicate with them. It almost seems as if they speak a different language. Family members often wish that their loved-one with autism would be able to understand other people better, and that people would be able to understand them. Their lack of understanding can cause depression and anxiety. 

School and work can be a challenge for someone who is on the spectrum. It can be intimidating to talk to others, and it can be a struggle to manage strong emotions. Sometimes they give up on looking for a significant other because it’s too difficult. This can be disappointing for family members, especially when they had high hopes for their loved-one. 

All parents know that, when their child goes out into the world, there will be challenges. But, for individuals with autism, the challenge is even greater. It takes them a lot of effort to master the skills needed to be independent. The truth is, they don’t need to be like everyone else. It is best for them to embrace what makes them special and to be able to develop closeness with a few loved ones. They can be atypical and still live a happy life. 

It is difficult for people with autism spectrum disorder to overcome their social awkwardness and anxiety. Their lack of communication skills can hold them back from engaging in even simple conversations. Most people are unfamiliar with autism and how to be friends with someone with developmental delays. People with autism can become depressed because of how different they feel from everyone else. 

Are you confused, frustrated, and worried?

People with autism tend to alienate their acquaintances. In school, they have trouble working with others on projects. It is difficult for them to understand the expectations and communicate with their classmates in order to contribute. Their social awkwardness can prevent them from successfully working with other people. This tendency can make their parents’ heart sink. 

Family members of a person on the spectrum want their loved-one to conquer their challenges. They want them to function without special accommodations, and they want them to feel accepted by their peers. It can feel like it will always be hard for them to find someone to connect with. It can start to feel hopeless, and parents can start to feel like giving up. That’s where we come in. With professional help, things can improve.

Has your loved-one gone out of their way to learn about social situations, but still struggles to apply their knowledge to real situations? 

Regardless of how much someone with autism pays attention to others socially, there is a big difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it. It’s painful for family members of an autistic individual to realize that their loved-one is different than others their age. There is so much heartbreak that comes from watching them try to make personal connections but lacking the know-how to make it happen. 

Truthfully, there are a lot of autistic and neuro-atypical people out there who have jobs, go to school, have thriving friendships and romantic lives. There are many people with autism who have difficulty adjusted to daily life. They are not alone. The key to overcoming their challenges is for them to focus on their strengths and develop a plan to address any deficits. 

When Your Loved One Seeks Developmental Delay Counseling with Hope and Thrive Counseling

  • They will begin to understand the way others function around them and how to fit in

  • They will be able to better manage their emotions in a variety of situations and scenarios

  • They will increase their feeling of confidence in expressing themselves and making sure they find ways to meet their needs

  • They will improve their ability to connect with friends and family and minimize anxiety or depression

  • They will find relief knowing that no matter how their developmental delay impacts them, they will be able to better understand and accept themselves

The Developmental Delay Counseling Process


Counseling for individuals with developmental delays is meant to help your loved one understand social elements in simple ways and apply them to their daily life. Together, we will work to increase your loved one’s social understanding and improve their ability to connect and relate better with friends and family so their anxiety and depression decrease. We will discover ways for the person you care about to expand their communication skills so that they can take part in community events whenever and however they choose.

We’ll meet together weekly for 50-minute sessions. Typically, developmental delay counseling continues for several weeks, and we will discuss the amount of counseling your loved one may need based on the treatment plan and goals. In our work together, we will use the evidenced-based therapeutic approach known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Here’s what to expect:

WEEK ONE: Intake

During this initial session, we define the counseling relationship and discuss the details of informed consent. I gather information about your loved one, their family members, and their biological, psychological, and social history and how this is impacting their current situation. We also discuss the goals they have going forward.

WEEK TWO and Beyond: Developmental Delay Counseling

In following sessions, we will use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address the struggles they are experiencing due to their developmental delay. With this model, we will utilize psychoeducation to learn more about the delay and how it is impacting their anxiety and/or depression.

While we work together, your loved one will receive “homework” and expected to practice the skills we learn in therapy outside of session. We will strive to create a stronger relationship with their family, so they feel like they have a solid support system in place. You may also join sessions to participate in the process and be an instrumental part of the plan.

Each session is designed to help the person you care about discover the things about themselves that they have control over and can change and to accept the things they can’t.  We will also focus on the latest research on developmental delays and use this to increase their knowledge of their struggles and develop treatment plans.

TERMINATION: 1-2 Final Sessions

In our final sessions, we will review your loved one’s goals to ensure both of you are satisfied with their counseling experience and that our work together has met your expectations. We will also outline a plan going forward so that your loved one is able to retain what we have worked on together and implement all they have learned outside of the sessions. If your loved one need continued support or help beyond the scope of therapy, they will receive appropriate referrals.

Who Benefits Most from Developmental Delay Counseling?


Developmental Delay Counseling is best for those who are interested in doing the work to better their lives. Developmental Delay Counseling helps individual experiment with new skills in their daily lives and learn to adapt those skills so they consistently function at a higher level.

Your loved-one will benefit from Developmental Delay Counseling sessions if:

  • They are struggling to build and maintain long-lasting friendships

  • They are looking for ways to better understand and communicate their thoughts and emotions

  • They have to work hard to adapt to new scenarios and circumstances

  • They feel different than everyone else and isolated from friends and family

  • They need help learning to communicate their needs in social situations

There are certain situations where your loved one might not be ready for Developmental Delay Counseling with me. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe developmental delay requiring a high level of care

  • A lack of motivation to make changes outside of counseling

  • The expectation to be neuro-typical and have no more developmental delay symptoms or struggles

What Does Developmental Delay Counseling Cost?


Developmental Delay Counseling is a fee-for-service program and Hope and Thrive Counseling accepts all major forms of payment.

Each session costs $150, and we will discuss the recommended number of sessions during our initial contact based on your unique situation.

We accept insurance and offer in-network and out-of-network benefits. You can read more about the policies we accept and payment options here (Rates & Insurance).

Your Next Steps


It is possible for your loved one to feel more connected with those around them, have a more successful life, and be able to interact, communicate, and feel like they belong. The person you care about will be able to freely experience new situations without feeling so awkward or doubting themselves. They will find relief from the worry and sadness they feel as a result of their developmental delay.

It’s true your loved one is different than others, but their differences are what make them unique and extraordinary. They do not have to feel isolated and alone from everyone else.

Your loved one will increase their communication skills, relate better to others, and enjoy themselves in social situations. They’ll be able to feel comfortable and fulfill their obligations at school and work. Ultimately, they’ll find a way to shed their doubts, fears, and worries, and connect on deeper, more intimate levels with their loved ones.

To schedule a Development Delay Counseling session with Hope and Thrive Counseling, call 360-383-8682

If you are having an emergency, please call 9-1-1, go to the local ER, and/or call the crisis line at 800-584-3578.

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